Susan Waugh adopted two baby girls, now aged nine and 11, from China. Focus magazine recently asked her what tips she’d pass onto prospective intercountry parents.
Before you bring your child home, give your family physician a list of tests that your child will need on your return. Even if your child seems healthy, have all the tests done. Ask your public health nurse (at your local health unit listed in the phone book) to help you put immunization records from your child’s country and from Canada, into one record—it will be much easier to make sense of if you do.
Talk with your close family about your adoption plans. Don’t assume that they will be supportive and just slough off any negative comments. You need to work through such problems—it’s not fair to your child if later on you have to explain why a relative is not kind or interested in them. Don’t take the route of, “if they can’t support us, then we will have no contact.” Family is important to you; that’s why you adopted. Work at resolving any problems.
On the numbers
I’m really glad we adopted two children. They are very close and support each other over issues around being in a multiracial family. I really think it’s important to love someone who looks like you.
Teachers are often woefully misinformed or ignorant about adoption. I always visit with a new teacher to talk about adoption and potential pitfalls like “my family” assignments. I also give them a copy of “Positive Adoption Langauge”. They usually really appreciate it.