Last week I received a phone call that almost changed my life. We were asked if we could be ready to care for a Haitian orphan being whisked out of Haiti within the next 48-72 hours.
As some of you know, our Kinky Gazpacho family has been considering the idea of adopting a "baby sister" into our male dominated family for awhile. We had actually started the process of a domestic adoption but had to put our plans on hold when we were blindsided by an unexpected financial snafu.
So this phone call, while completely unexpected, was not completely out of the blue. We were on somebody's list because it was known we were looking to adopt.
So for the last eight days I was living with the belief that a two-year-old little girl might be joining our family in a very short amount of time. And guess what, I was thrilled. I did a quick inventory of what type of baby equipment we still have on hand. Toddler bed? Check. Car seat? Check. Highchair? Check. One single item of female clothing? Nada.
The interesting thing about this whole experience, is how little I cared about knowing anything more about this child except that she needed a safe, loving place to land. Before, when we were first contemplating adoption, my biggest concern was making sure I had every slip of information about the child's background. No records? No deal. That was my motto, which is why we ultimately chose domestic adoption.
As it turns out, the little girl who we thought might be our "baby sister" is not being released from Haiti. It's a long story and I am not really surprised. As the days slipped by after the initial phone call and more and more information about restrictions on what children were being allowed to leave Haiti emerged, our hope began to fade. And yet, we are also feeling blessed by this experience.
El esposo and I both realized that if we are going to adopt a child, then we can/should/will adopt a child in need of a loving home. Other than that, the requirements are really minimal. We don't have to adopt a multiracial child so that she'll look like her brothers. We don't have to have health records for the child's great grandparents to ensure that diabetes doesn't run in the family. Don't get me wrong, I'd still be grateful to have health records, but I guess I'm just realizing that I'm not as shallow as I thought I was. Adoption doesn't have to be about finding a child to replicate what you already have. In fact, if I tried to find a child "just like my sons" only without a penis, I'd set everyone up for failure...and probably heartbreak.
So, where do we go from here? I'm not entirely sure, but we're going to get our paperwork completed to make sure if the phone rings again, we'll be ready. And I'm feeling kind of optimistic all over again.
If you have any interest in adopting from Haiti, you can check out this website which was suggested to me. I think they have some current information about the status of adoptions right now. Obviously there is going to be a great need to take care of Haiti's orphaned children in the wake of the earthquake, but at the same time, a rush to get them out of the country isn't the immediate answer. It is going to take time to process the newly orphaned children and just rebuild a system of order. In the meantime, there's still much to do to help the children. For ideas, you can also check out one of my favorite blogs by the original Party of Five bloggers, Heather and Braydon, who adopted the cutest twin boys from Haiti five years ago.
And while we're on the subject of adoptions... Maybe you just want to read a really good novel about adoption. One with a little romance, birth parent reunions and a lot of humor. If so, then you should definitely check out Alison Larkin's heartfelt and humorous debut novel, The English American. I just finished it and really liked it. It was a great story --English woman comes to America to reunite with her loopy, redneck birth parents-- but it also gave me some really good insight into the real issues of an adopted child.
Have a great weekend.