Recently I received another “one of those calls out of the blue” that all social workers occasionally receive. This call was from an adoptive family that I had worked with in the past and hadn’t heard from for almost seven years, as they had moved from our region.
Life with my bio/adopt/foster family was always interesting and always changing.
My first connection to adoption was a toothy, hairless Cabbage Patch kid with a scrawling Xavier Roberts tattoo on his posterior. My second connection arrived as two-year-old toddlers – twin brothers that would be my family’s first step into the world of adoption. I stopped counting those connections soon after. More children arrived. Our family expanded exponentially. Friends jumped on board, adopting little and big ones. Even an aunt and uncle joined in. Adoption was everywhere.
The adoption process is a strange one—for everyone involved. I have no experience with what it is like to be adopted myself, or to be an adoptive parent. My understanding of adoption comes solely from my experiences as a child into whose home another child was adopted.
When do the rights of the child trump the rights of anonymous donors?
All that Olivia Pratten knows about her biological father is that he was Caucasian, a medical student, had a sturdy build, brown hair and type A blood. He was the sperm donor for Pratten’s mother, Shirley, who sought artificial insemination when she learned that her husband was infertile from bladder surgery complications.
Incorporating cultural traditions in your new family
Adopting a child is a time to celebrate. But beyond the initial celebration of the arrival of your new child, how can you incorporate new traditions and celebrations into your life? If your child has another country or culture in their background, it is important to share the learning experience of exploring their culture with them, through their own eyes. These experiences provide adopted children with a stronger sense of social and cultural identity.
Last spring my daughter, Bethany, was 15 years old and loving “all things Asian.” It seemed a good time to visit her birth family in China. Armed with a powerful appetite for dim sum, and a shopping list of Anime titles (Japanese animation) she hoped to find in Hong Kong, Bethany joined me on her first visit back in 10 years.
As I drive up to Mariechan’s house to do an interview for this story, a charming boy, doing graceful “S” turns with his scooter in the cul-de-sac, waves to me. He politely introduces himself as I walk up to the driveway. “Hello. I’m Aleksey. Are you here to visit my mom? I will tell her that you’re here. This is our house! Follow me! Oh, this is my sister, Valya.” There is a faint echo of Kazakhstan in his voice and nothing but smiles on his younger sister’s beautiful face.
Having more sisters and brothers means more love and sometimes having to hide all your nailpolish.
Kendra is 15 years old and a big sister to six siblings. Mary Caros interviewed Kendra about her experience with being the oldest sister in a family that chooses to adopt more children.
Tell me a bit about your siblings.
Three families share how they celebrate adoption day
I can remember each year growing up, my mother retelling my birth story: what time she drove to the hospital, how long it took, how she felt when she first held me, etc. On Jason’s first birthday, I wasn’t ready for the onset of confusing emotions. I didn’t know how his birthmom got to the hospital or how long it took for him to be born. I remember thinking, “One year ago, I didn’t even know he existed.”
One day, Mom gave my sister an African-American Cabbage Patch Kid. I was given India Barbie. We didn’t know it at the time, but my sister and I were being prepared for our future.
My parents had decided that six kids by birth wasn’t enough so, when I was six years old, we welcomed through adoption my twin brothers Greg and Nicholas. I remember how proud I was to have them as my little brothers. It didn’t seem overly difficult or challenging for them to claim their places in our family. Our Irish and German family tree simply sprouted two new branches.