Today is Adoption Blogger Day – part of the Joint Council on International Children's Services Call to Action – We Are the Truth. Here is our story…
I AM THE PROUD PARENT OF AN ADOPTED CHILD FROM RUSSIA
In the spring of 2008, there were three events that changed my life, without affecting me at all. First, a Texas polygamist sect compound was raided, temporarily removing 416 children from their homes; shortly thereafter, a cyclone hit the country known as Burma/Myanmar, killing hundreds of thousands, leaving many more homeless and orphaned. And finally, during the same time period a horrible earthquake in China resulted in even more children left without parents and homes. Each time, I remarked to a close friend of mine, “I could adopt a child from there, I should help”. After hearing this comment 3 times, she finally asked, “You keep commenting on this, why don’t you look into it?”. And so started my quest to adopt.
I never thought at 37, I would have been single, with no children. Honestly, a couple years before these events, I had written my chances of having a family off. Suddenly, with the prospect of adoption, it all made sense.
The process started in late May, 2008. I instantly felt a connection with the owner of my adoption agency, Lighthouse Adoptions in Ann Arbor, MI. We discussed the available options and it looked like my path would likely lead me to Moscow City, Russia. Since I was open to either gender child, I knew that I would likely be bringing home a son, since there seemed to be a high demand for little girls.
Fate being what it is, I ended up in Vladivostok, Russia with the referral of a little girl. While waiting to go inside the Artem Baby Home, suddenly the nerves hit me. It was late October, 2008, and a few children were playing outside with the caretaker. As we were walking into the baby home, I saw a little girl with big brown curls tumbling out of a red hat, laughing and smiling, smelling a late blooming flower. I said to myself, “I wish I could have a daughter just like her”, trying not to think such things, so as not to be disappointed.
Inside, we waited for the Director to come and meet us. My translator leaned to me and said, “Look, here she comes now…”, referring to my referral. It was the little girl with the red hat. It took every ounce of energy to not burst out crying. I knew from that second that it was meant to be.
The staff at her baby home were wonderful. You could genuinely tell they cared about the children and did everything they could with the resources they received. They were open and honest about her background. I knew the challenges and risks – her mother had a drinking problem.
On March 20, 2009, the court decision was finalized and Tatiana Elizabeth was my daughter. She is, single handedly, the best thing that ever happened to me. In the past year, she has grown in so many ways. Not only is she 5 inches taller and 5 pounds heavier, but abilities have increased 5 fold! She is a great eater – in fact she’s less picky than her mama. She would stay outside 24/7 if allowed: the girl LOVES to draw with chalk, swing on swings and ride bikes. She also loves animals – her cats, anyone’s dog – you name it. You pick an animal and she will tell you what that animal says. (Did YOU know that a giraffe bleats? SHE DOES!) Singing is another favorite, and she runs through her day, via song, every night before going to bed.
I will never claim to be a perfect parent, with a perfect child – she’s 3 after all: temper tantrums, tears, silliness and laughter are always a heart-beat away. However, she’s perfect for me.