It's so sad to hear the recent events surrounding the Russian boy adopted by an American and then sent back to Russia. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100409/ap_on_re_eu/eu_russia_adopted_boy.
Of course the media is swarming on this story and now it appears that Russia wants to end all adoptions with US citizens. In the past 5 years there have been almost 15,000 children adopted from Russia by American families. 15,000 children who are now in loving homes, instead of in institutions. Does the media cover that side of the story? No. Do they dig to find the true story of adoptions, domestic or international? No. Do they report on the true families that wait for a child to come home? No.
The Joint Council on International Children Services is asking that the truth be told.
One family at a time, one child at a time.
Here is my Truth.
Believe it or not my adoption story began back in 1992. I was only 17, years away from having children. But at 17 I was diagnosed with Cancer. I waged that battle and came away healthier and stronger than I was before. Cancer did not take my life, but it did take away my chances of having my own child. Little did I know that infertility was going to be the best thing to ever happen to me.
Years later at 30, My husband, Vinay and I were ready to start a family. We both knew this was going to be a challenge, but we were up for it. So we filled out the mounds of paperwork, were fingerprinted 3 times each, completed 6 home study visits, wrote out our autobiographies, and were interviewed by a psychologist. And then we waited. Waited for the government to tell us we were eligible to become parents. That day came on April 21 2006. Our immigration papers telling us that we could wait for a match.
We were lucky we were matched with our beautiful daughter on May 16. An 11 day old baby girl far away in the country of Guatemala. Then came more waiting. Waiting for the birth mother to undergo a DNA test to prove that the baby she was giving up for adoption was really her biological child. We were able to visit our baby Olivia for 5 glorious days in June of 2006. Then we had to give her back. Yes, hand her back into the arms of a foster mother I did not know, for an unknown amount of time.
We came home to wait some more. Wait for the country of Guatemala to review our mounds of paperwork, our fingerprints, our home study, our immigration papers. They also interviewed Olivia's birth mother. Not a day went by that I didn't cry. I slept with one of her blankets. I drove my husband crazy. I drove myself crazy. A few times I wanted to throw in the towel. This was to painful, could this child I barely know be worth all this agony?? On Sept 27 at 6:31 pm I got my answer. YES, Olivia was coming home.
On October 12 2006 at 6:45 Guatemala City time. Olivia was placed in my arms to never be let go again. For that one moment the world stopped for me. That missing piece of the puzzle, the piece that cancer stole from me, was finally in. Our family was complete, my heart was whole.
The next day at about 4:45 Guatemala City time, I called my Mom crying. I was scared, I was nervous, I hadn't slept. I was a new Mom, scared shitless, completely clueless, and having a panic attack. My mom talked me through it. I was a parent now and there was a 5 month old baby who needed me.
I wish I could say that those first few months as Liv's Mom were perfect. That I'd waited so long to be a mother, that each moment was glorious. They weren't because this is real life. Liv was a real baby. A baby who teethed, and woke up at all hours of the night hungry and crying. A baby who fussed and wanted me to hold her all the time. And I was a real parent. A parent who missed sleeping through the night, and spending her Sundays on the couch watching Lifetime movies. A parent who missed her freedom and her social life. A normal parent and child getting to know one another. Learning each others likes and dislikes. Even today almost 4 years later we are still learning about each other. Building day by day a relationship and bond that although is not perfect, but is perfect for us. Are there days when I think, "Wow life was sooooo much easier before Liv"? Of course. But there are so many more days when I can't believe how lucky I am to be her Mom. How lucky I am to have waited such a short amount of time for her. How lucky I am that our adoption went so smoothly. How lucky I am that she is mine!!!
And that's the truth!!