Last September my husband a I embarked on a journey that would open my heart and mind in ways I didn’t expect. When we started our adoption journey we set our sights on Central or Eastern Europe. We both had a natural affinity for that part of the world. I was looking into Russian adoptions, and called a few agencies that had good reviews and helpful websites.
During my research I found that Russia was not a member of The Hague Treaty ( a set of laws that is supposed to protect families and children, and make sure international adoptions are carried out ethically). We didn’t feel comfortable going with a non-Hage country so we set our sights on Bulgaria. That country is part of the Hage, and freely accepts people with disabilities as applicants. During this time of information gathering I never gave China a thought. I knew they didn’t generally accept applicants with disabilities, and frankly I knew close to nothing about the culture. In fact, I remember telling my close girl friends that we were not interested in perusing a Chinese adoption.
I am a proactive person. Once I decide I am going to do something I take action to make it happen. I started browsing hundreds of pictures of waiting children. I registered to have access to between four and six different lists of waiting children. We were looking for children with visual impairments ( wouldn’t want any drivers in the family, wink wink). I saw several that on paper would be a good match for our family, but none jumped out at me. Until… this thumbnail size picture of this little boy with a water gun. He had thick glasses and a mischievous smile. My heart was instantly drawn to him. All of my biological kids are very outgoing and energetic. A shy reserved child probably wouldn’t mix well with the other three. Lol We reviewed his medical history and decided to ask China for special pre approval to adopt him.
We decided in August 2012 to adopt, and found our son in September 2012. ( We hope to bring him home in August 2013) We’ve been working ever since to bring him home. During the last year I have been researching how to parent an older interracially adopted child, and something unexpeded happened. Of course providing opportunities for your child to participate in and learn about their birth culture is important. I figured that he could take an art or language class here or there. I saw it more as something to check off a to do list than a life style.
I began to read about China, and the social pressures and laws that lead to high rates of abandonment, and my heart for these people changed. I began to see them not as horrible monsters who leave their babies on the side of a road to real people faced with heart wrenching choices. Who relinquish their children out of love, and hope for a better life. I began to appreciate the culture that gave us our fourth child, and now actually look forward to participating in Chinese holidays, and cultural events. After all we are now inexplicably tied to the Chinese culture through our son. It will forever be a part of our family history and culture. We may not be so in the traditional since of the word, but we are an Asian American family.