There’s nothing like a harmless joke to set your day off in the wrong direction. Scrolling through Facebook, a friend of a friend was joking about kids not knowing who their father is. I assumed the joke was in reference to the fact that she used a sperm donor to conceive her children.
By the time their long-awaited adopted child is placed in their arms, parents usually--and understandably--just want to put all the heartache behind them and move on into the joyful realms of parenthood. But their very real feelings of loss need to have a place in the story of their new family, or they can cast ever-lengthening shadows on the relationship between parents and child.
Before you travel
- Know the country you would like to adopt a child from and read up on the potential medical issues your child may have.
- Before travelling, get your own vaccinations up-to-date by making a visit to your local travel clinic (if you don't know your local travel clinic, your local health unit should have a list).
- Make an appointment with your doctor to alert them to the fact that you will be bringing a child home and some of the medical issues the child may have.
- Buy plenty of medical supplies to take with you (see sidebar on right).
In 1996 we adopted our first daughter, Oksana, from Novosibirsk, Russia; she was two years old. When we returned to Canada, we had our documents translated and found a limited amount of birth family information. What we read piqued our interest and we contacted the authorities in Novosibirsk asking for more information. They declined our request.
Our eldest daughter was baptized in Abbotsford, BC, when she was 19 years old. Speaking to the parents of the infants who were also being dedicated to God that day, the Pastor told them that raising a child is a joy-filled and awesome adventure.
Whether it's moving to a new foster home, an adoptive home, back with birth family, or agingin out at 19, it's something all youth in care will experience at one point or another. Sometimes those transitions are smooth and expected; other times they're scary and happen without warning. What was a positive experience for one youth could have been super stressful for another.
In this five-part series, we present the diary of Mary Ella, an intercoutry adoptive mom. She shares the journey she and her husband, Wayne, took to Korea to meet their long-awaited daughter, Leelee.
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- Expect your child to find relationships with birth family difficult and confusing at times. Confusion is a part of life and they will need to handle confusing situations of many kinds.
- Expect relationships to change and evolve.
Claire’s 10-year-old son, Adam, was adopted from a Russian orphanage when he was 19 months old. Her second son, Ethan, joined their family from foster care at age 7. In this 12-part series, Claire shares the “fast and furious learning” she and her family experienced when they adopted an older child.
There are few things more life- or soul-destroying than clinging to the feeling that you are a victim of your life experiences, and that the world owes you something for the pain it caused you. And there are even fewer things more life- or soul-destroying than not allowing yourself the space to really feel your loss, fear, and longing.