Joseph is now 11 years old. He was born in Sierra Leone, West Africa. In his first few years, he tragically lost his birth family and ended up in a refugee camp and then an orphanage. After a three-year search and a two-year adoption process, he came to Canada to join his new family in Coquitlam. It has been an incredible journey for this young boy.
In this five-part series from 2006, we present the diary of Mary Ella, an intercountry adoptive mom. She shares the journey she and her husband, Wayne, took to Korea to meet their long-awaited daughter, Leelee.
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.
Not so pacifist play
If parenting teaches us anything, it’s that our noble intentions have little bearing on reality. Before Victor arrived in our lives like a whirling dervish almost six years ago, I was adamant that we would be a No Toy Guns Household. I also secretly believed he would grow up in a post-racial “fusion” society. These pipe dreams ranked up there with fantasies like, “My son won’t watch TV, eat sugar, or play video games.” When he was around three-years-old, Victor first experienced the pop of his friend’s Nerf gun releasing its foamy orange bullet.
My first encounter with the idea of children in care who needed families was during a church service as a little girl.
The speaker shared unsettling statistics about kids who age out of care and end up incarcerated, homeless, or worse; kids who are separated from their siblings; and young adults who have no place to spend the holidays or summer vacation. I suppose it all resonated with me because I came from a family of five siblings, and I couldn’t imagine my life without them. At that church service I made up my mind that I wanted to adopt older kids one day.
For many internationally adopted children, a part of adjusting to their new home will include learning to hear the sounds of English. They will then need to learn how to move their lips, tongue, and jaw to produce these sounds, and then put words together.
Encourage language learning by creating fun activities like Peek-a-Boo, singing songs, or other age-appropriate games.
The importance of cultural connections
In a previous article, I wrote about the Exceptions Committee in the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD). The article was prompted by a list of questions that the Adoptive Families Association of BC had gathered from their membership. There were additional questions related to Aboriginal adoption in BC that I will endeavor to answer in this follow-up article.
Your adoption-related questions answered
My father constantly makes negative remarks about black people in front of my African-American son. It really upsets me, but I hate confrontations. What should I do?
Within our first year of being married, my husband and I knew that building our family may come by way of adoption.
I suffered from debilitating but undiagnosed pain, and doctors raised the possibility of a hysterectomy. It took another 14 years of pain and failed attempts to conceive before I found a doctor who finally diagnosed me with endometriosis.
Are you thinking of adopting a sibling group? Before you decide, ask the following: