Open domestic adoptions, where the birth family and adoptive family get together regularly for visits with the child, are the norm in British Columbia. In between visits they stay in touch through emails, phone calls, and text messages. If this is what an open adoption looks like, how can openness be possible in an international adoption where time zones and geography create barriers and birth parents may be unknown?
Three years ago, Dave and Juanita Alexander found themselves halfway around the world with 18 suitcases, 12 carry-ons, a year’s worth of supplies and four children. Dave and Juanita, have collectively lived and worked in five countries (including Canada), and have four beautiful children through adoption. In 2012, they uprooted their lives to move to Uganda for a year. Since then, they have settled back into their daily lives in Langley and continue to enjoy new adventures together.
Lose your expectations
When Ethan came into our family, he was very angry. My family and friends wondered what he had to be angry about. All they could see was that he was part of a loving family. They thought he should be grateful. It was interesting to me that these usually empathetic folks couldn’t immediately see the loss suffered by this child. Before I could understand what was going on, I had to abandon my expectations of them--and of Ethan.
Noah sits tall in his booster seat, and I catch a glimpse of his messy curls in the rearview mirror. My eyes are on the road ahead, so he can talk to me and tell me things, but not see my facial expression. It’s a safe place to test out hard questions.
Last week’s booster-seat confessional was an open discussion between my seven year old son and me. He began matter-of-factly. “So, you’re not my real mom....”
A passion for culture
June 2015 will mark the eighth annual Roots Celebration within Okanagan First Nation Territory, the land of the Syilx people. The event serves Indigenous children and youth in care by helping to instill in them a sense of pride, honour and respect for their identity and heritage. Organizers and participants represent many Nations and bring together the best of what they have to share over a weekend rich in Indigenous cultural experiences focused on children and youth.
Adoption is only the beginning
In the spring of 2013, my husband and I completed our first adoption--a process that we found gruelling, confusing, and bewildering. We didn’t know much about the ins and outs of adoption through foster care when we asked if we could adopt our precious foster daughter, who had been with us since birth. We didn’t even know what “CCO” (continuing custody order) meant. All we knew was that we loved her and wanted her to be part of our family forever. When the adoption went through, we were over the moon, but it was only the beginning.
Allison Pooley is the Program Director at the Asante Centre. She assists individuals, family members, and service providers in understanding the diagnostic process as well as the implications for providing integrated post-assessment supports and services. Allison has been involved in FASD prevention and intervention efforts for numerous years both in northern B.C. and the Lower Mainland, including work in early childhood education, the public school system, the criminal justice system, and adult support settings.
Knowing adoption, knowing love
Sometimes I feel like there’s nothing going on--with adoption, that is. Life is full with school, friends, soccer, baseball, work, field trips, family gatherings, and the endless parade of birthday parties. For us to just stop talking about adoption would be easy, but that would be a shame.
- Go on a date with your partner/friend.
- Can your kids go for a sleepover?
Adoption: a lifelong dream
Janice’s interest in adoption started when she was just a little girl. She remembers one of her favourite childhood games was to play “adoption agency” with her dolls. She’d line them all up on her bedroom floor and then choose one or two to “adopt.”