Pax – on the subject of international adoption


Angelina and Brad have a new son. People Magazine says she is taking time for Pax to ‘gently bond’ with their family. For once I know exactly where a celebrity is coming from. We have been there and done that.

After years of fiddling around with infertility issues and tap dancing around the subject of adoption, my husband and I attended an international adoption ‘forum’ in which seven different adoption agencies took part. Domestic adoption didn’t appeal to my husband AT ALL. We had just spent the past year following the Baby Jessica story. Apparently we weren’t alone. Once the statement was made that parental rights are irrevocably severed once a child leaves it’s country of birth, there was an almost audible sigh from the hundred or so people present. That was fourteen years ago. We filled out the paperwork, did the leg work, signed the checks, talked with social workers, did more paperwork and seven months later, on June 29, 1994, we picked up our son from the international terminal at Detroit Metro Airport. He had flown 14 hours (including a significant layover in Tokyo) from Seoul, Korea. He was four months old, had a gorgeous head of stick straight hair and eyes that totally disappeared when he smiled…and he smiled alot. He was a good baby, a curious toddler, shy Kindergartener, creative elementary student and now an intelligent and kind middle schooler..most of the time.

Six years later we filled out more paperwork, did more leg work, signed more checks, talked with more social workers and traveled to Russia to complete the adoption of a five year old daughter. She was in an orphanage in Kyzyl, Tuva. This meant an overseas flight to Moscow, a five hour plane flight to Abakan and a six hour drive through the Sayan Mountains in a cab with a driver that did not speak English. We spent 17 days in Russia. We ‘gently bonded’ with her in a hotel in Kyzyl for five days. During that time she screamed in the shower, cried whenever Papa had to leave, ate one piece of fruit after another, learned the ABC song, how to count to 10 and to sing ‘Rock A Bye Baby.’ In Moscow she laughed in the bathtub, went on her first shopping spree, ate her first McDonald’s french fry and charmed the visa guy at the embassy.

The ‘gentle bonding’ continued at home. She followed her brother around and made him absolutely miserable for a while by copying his every move. Her second week home we took her on a Halloween candy binging trick or treating campout for the weekend with our camping club. Two weeks later we took her to the wedding and reception when my husband’s oldest daughter got married. Two weeks later we were on the road to South Carolina to spend Thanksgiving with extended family. Poor kid. Her intial thoughts of America were probably that life was just one party after another!

She picked up verbal language fairly quickly. There was a period of about a week when she was very frustrated that she could understand our English and didn’t understand why we couldn’t interpret her Russian quickly enough. She finally stopped using Russian all together. That made me sad. She bonded very quickly with her preschool/day care buddies inspite of the language differences. Daycare was probably more familiar than home life to her. That made me sad.

But today she is a bright, funny, happy fifth grader. She is a Girl Scout. SHe likes life in the ‘fast lane’ – rollerblades, skateboards, sledding, her bike, horses – anything that gives her speed. She reads, struggles with Math, loves to write stories and has every boy in her class wrapped around her little finger. She is their ‘bud’…someone to play football with, to kick a soccer ball with, to share a joke with. I would have to say that she has ‘gently bonded’ very well.

So, here’s to Pax….and Angelina and Brad and Maddox and Zahara and Shiloh. May your family be as happy and as ‘gently bonded’ as mine.

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One Comment on “Pax – on the subject of international adoption”

  1. Andy Says:

    Now you really made me cry… That’s a lovely story!!!!


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