20 Years Ago
Twenty years ago this month – which happens to be Adoption Month – my husband and I were finally on the same page at the same time in the same frame of mind and submitted an application to begin an international adoption.
Several weeks before we had attended an international adoption forum at a sort of local hotel where six different adoption agencies were represented. It was a Monday night and the hubby was semi willing to attend as long as I promised to leave in time for him to be home to get his weekly televised dose of WWF. Of course I’d promised.
With fingers crossed behind my back.
It was crazy. There was a table on a small stage lined with agency representatives. The little room was almost full. Full of families contemplating adoption…..families that had completed adoptions…..families in the process of adopting….and kids.
Kids of all sizes and ages, running around the room, dodging parental grips, snatching hugs, sharing toys, giggling, sipping juice boxes and just having fun.
About half way through the question and answer session, I nudged the hubby to ask if he was ready to go and he shushed me. He was listening to what people were saying. He was hooked.
Line and sinker.
Sadly, albeit appropriately since the Baby Jessica and Baby Richard sagas had just played out in the local media, the biggest concern for the pre-adoptive families was the permanency of an international adoption. And how to fund the expensive process.
We talked on the way home. It had been a bit of a journey for us to reach this point. We’d experimented briefly with fertility drugs. We’d toyed with the idea of just being satisfied with the exposure we had with his daughters. We explored adoption through foster care, open adoption and family adoption. Nothing felt right….until that night.
So we filled out the first of three applications that were to come.
We were requesting a little girl from India. A toddler….or an older child that needed us. We felt led because we had watched a tv program that depicted the dire prospects for baby girls in India just a few weeks before.
And we began to think about…and prepare…to add a little girl to our lives. Our hearts began to open and to flower and to ready themselves for that child.
But it would be three months before our child was even born.
And another three months until we were handed this:
Our case file had been matched to a baby boy in South Korea.
It would be another six weeks until we were to hold him. He would be four months old.
And it was seven months after submitting that first application to adopt.
Seven months of waiting and planning and preparation……and loving.
I have done a lot of reading over that past 20 years. I understand that children who are adopted can sometimes feel a sense of abandonment. That they may feel a sense of loss at being released for adoption by a birth parent. I often wondered if mine ever wished for a different family. Wished they had been matched with a family that could have given them more….or a different kind of life.
We have never talked about it…..and so I still wonder.
We have talked about their adoption situations however. Shared what we know and the little bits of information that we have. Told him how lucky he was that his mother knew very early that she wasn’t ready to raise a child on her own. How grateful we were that she made the decision that brought him into our lives.
But there is another part of that story that I have neglected to share with them.
I have neglected to tell him (and her) how much they were loved even before we knew them or held them or hugged them. How our hearts were growing and getting ready from the day we filled out those early applications.
So while their birth parents were struggling and planning to leave them, on the other side of the world we were planning….and loving….and waiting to receive them.
Its a sad world in which adoption is needed. But it would be a sadder one if it wasn’t available.