Too often when parents talk about their adoption experiences, they focus on the pitfalls, set backs, and insensitive or unkind remarks. This may be especially true of single parents because going through the process alone makes these challenges even more difficult to deal with. I know because I’ve experienced my share of them, too. On the other hand, I’ve experienced many wonderful things related to the adoptions of my children, and I’ve received support in many forms from many sources. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank those people, my adoption support network, from the bottom of my heart.
My daughter’s pediatrician was very supportive of my initial inquiries about inter-country adoption. An anxious, potential adoptive mother, I was worried about the implications of developmental delays, hepatitis B, and many other complications. This doctor simplified matters considerably when he looked at me and said, “let’s give this baby a chance.” Suddenly, all of my fears about possible problems became secondary to the insight that this was a baby we were talking about. From the house call he made on Christmas Day to treat pneumonia in the baby he recommended I give a chance to, this doctor has continued to support my family through subsequent adoptions, going beyond the call of duty to deal with asthma, ADHD, temper tantrums, bed wetting, and a host of other things. Thank you, Dr. McGovern.
The doctor in Honduras who immediately affirmed my status as my ten-day old daughter’s mother will never know how much he helped me feel entitled to parent her. My daughter had a small broken blood vessel in her eye and through the translator I was asking the doctor about it. The doctor said something that made the translator smile and asked me if I knew what he had said. When I replied no (being language impaired), he said the doctor had proclaimed me a good mother for this baby. Thank you, Dr.- whatever your name is.
My adoption social worker in Cincinnati remains calm and thoughtful no matter what idea I propose to her. She listens patiently and gives good advice. She promoted my attachment to the second child I adopted. When I called her to discuss the possibility of adopting a baby boy, she immediately began referring to this yet unborn baby boy as “your son in Guatemala.” Thank you, Joan Thomas.
Members of my support group took me in sight unseen, sharing their stories-and their lives. How do you express what 13 years of monthly pot-luck dinners, tears, laughter, games and support have meant? Just having a place to go with the kids on a Saturday night where you don’t have to worry about them not having fun and you don’t have to hire a baby sitter has been a blessing. Thanks, guys, for everything.
I am convinced that without the teachers my son has had, he would not be reading today. Thanks to their diligence and dedication, my second grader read the word ‘convinced’ to his little sister in the car the other day. Only parents whose children have had learning issues can fully appreciate how happy that made me. My daughter’s teachers understood immediately why the hurricane in Honduras might be an issue for her. To allow her to process her feelings at home rather than at school, they decided not to assign the Time article about it as a class assignment. They also provided her a unique opportunity to master her feelings by allowing her to go with them to the bank to make a donation to victims. Thank you, teachers.
My sister traveled to Guatemala with me twice to help me adopt my last two children. On the last trip, she wore a very short skirt that caused a bit of a stir as we got off the plane, but we won’t talk about that now. Thank you, Denise, for taking time out of your life to provide moral and physical support during stressful times. And my thanks to your understanding family.
My parents taught me much of what I know about parenting and about what it means to be a family. They love all of their grandchildren for who they are, not where they came from, and they are an important part of each of my kids’ lives. Thanks, Mom and Dad.
My oldest daughter, Sarah, graciously accepted three new siblings after she had been an only child for 9 years. She’s helped me a great deal with her brothers and sisters and have given them a wonderful role model. Thank you, Sarah.
My children have traveled thousands of miles to become part of my family. Thanks, you guys. I love you.
A stranger in the park perhaps summed it up best. Who would think that a stranger might understand the implications of all of this. While watching the kids play on the jungle gym, she noticed there were differences in our family and asked questions about the children’s adoptions. After I briefly told their stories, she said, “How wonderful.” Here it comes, I thought. How wonderful you are for adopting these children. All adoptive parents know how inappropriate that feels. But she didn’t say that at all. “How wonderful,” she said again, adding, “that you all found each other.” Thank you, stranger, for expressing it so well.