My daughter Libby was born as I held her birth mother Carla’s hand, breathing with her through the agony of labour. When her daughter drew her first breath, Carla looked at me and said, “Congratulations on your new baby.” Then she asked me to cut the umbilical cord.
The question of a lifetime
The complexity of my adoption story makes it a challenge to tell, but telling it is, I think, essential. It’s a way to preserve memories of the living and dead, to lend their lives some meaning, and to give thanks for the good fortune of having been raised by loving parents. Here are the bare bones, which will give some context for the poem that follows.
I grew up in care from the time I was two years old until I turned 18. I don't really remember a lot of my first foster home or much of my childhood. I was abused by my mom and ended up with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I was also diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS).
I do remember moving into my grandparents' house at the age of four. I lived there until I was 12. It was then that my disabilities began to show. I wasn't sure how to express myself or my feelings in a respectful and mature way, and it was getting hard for my grandparents to take care of me.
Like any newly married young couple, we (Nazima and Riyad) loved to dream about the next stages our life together. We enjoyed the strong
Who are the Métis?
The Canadian Constitution includes three peoples in its definition of Aboriginal: First Nations, Inuit, and Métis. The Métis emerged as a distinct
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.
I remember the noise the most. Car engines idled noxious gasses into the air; heavy footsteps snapped across well-worn concrete. The delicious yet unfamiliar smells of Asian street food filled my nostrils. I stood close to my parents, at the edge of a street corner. Together, we gazed across the road to a building. Above its doorway was a sign filled with undecipherable Chinese lettering. Despite the language barrier, we all knew it what it said. Hospital.
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.
- 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.