As our social worker was leaving our home after our final homestudy visit, she noticed our latest purchase hanging on the wall—a colourful plaque featuring a whimsical picture of two faces playing instruments and set on a page of musical notes. The plaque is called Musical Masquerade and we bought it to commemorate our adoption process.
Once we decided that we’d create our family through adoption, we were overwhelmed with the many avenues we could pursue. It was after seeing a Christmas picture of the ACAN group, that we finally decided to adopt internationally, with the Open Door Agency in Georgia. The journey that led us to become a multiracial family had begun.
Once the process was underway, we read books to familiarize ourselves with the issues of white parents raising children of African heritage.
“I’m not your real Mom. You are adopted.” Those may not have been the exact words, but at age two-and-a-half that’s what I remember hearing. From that moment on, my life changed. Although my mother’s intentions were good, she could not have known how this would impact me.
At the same time as making this comment, she also told me that I would accompany my parents the next morning to bring home a new sister. I was told that we would take a ferry and drive through tunnels to get her- a curious place to get a baby sister, I thought!
What’s the connection between coffee and adoption? Not too obvious, you might think. So did I, until I visited the coffee warehouse of Ethical Bean, a company owned by AFABC members Lloyd Bernhardt and Kim Schachte. Their decision to adopt a child from Guatemala almost five years ago not only resulted in them becoming parents but also transformed them into coffee experts and the owners of the thriving, Burnaby-based company.
The parents of biological children know their child’s prenatal history and most of what we might call their medical inheritance. Adoptive parents, even those who adopt “healthy newborns,” usually have far less information. They must take a leap of faith that all will be well and, that if the child has unexpected disabilities or challenges, that they will adapt and cope.
by Katherine Crowe
We adopted our daughter when she was nine-months-old. When she was two, I took part in a university-sponsored survey on parental attitudes. The only question I recall is the one that asked what my fears were for my child. I responded by saying I had none. Becoming a parent had put me in a bubble of bliss. Wiping a dirty bottom, soothing a teething baby, preparing formula and bottles, and being tied down by naps, were all joys to me.
Adoptive father Grant Withers is an interesting man. He appears entirely unhampered by generally accepted concepts of the "male" or "father" role.
Adoptive father Andrew Melton, 42, did everything the adoption text books suggest prior to adopting his child. He and his partner, Claire, attended an adoptive parents support group for over two years. He participated enthusiastically in the MCFD education program and in the home study process, and he took parental leave when two-year-old Greg joined the family this summer. Despite all this, he wasn’t prepared for what was to come.
David Murphy of Abbotsford, is brimming with family pride. There’s him, his wife Nikki, two-year-old Cody, the dog and two cats. Children were always going to be part of the Murphy family—there was no doubt about it. David recalls that on their honeymoon Nikki talked about starting a family. "I wanted to wait a year or so. But five years later we had still been unable to conceive a child."
When Deborah Bailey and her husband Edward, first met their then three-and-a-half-year old daughter, Ola, in a Russian orphanage, her first words to them were, “You’re late.”
They immediately realized that this little preschooler was a force to be reckoned with. Deborah says that at the same time as Ola was being so forthright, she had a single tear in her eye. This was an early indication of Ola’s desperate need for belonging and her intense fear of it.