Today is National Adoption Day. The pinnacle of National Adoption Month. As you may have (or may not have) noticed I have been on a little hiatus as I have been working on retooling the site. The ultimate goal will be to create a resource for other families like mine with children with Reactive Attachment Disorder.
But back to today. The purpose of this day and month like awareness days/months for every other issue out there (World Toilet Day is tomorrow!) is to bring attention and hopefully get folks to consider action. Many cities across the county clear court calendars to hold finalization ceremonies for adoptions which can normally have a long wait. In 2016, over 687,000 children spent time in foster care and the average time in the system is two years. The average age of a child entering the system is seven. Of those in foster care, more than 20,000 aged out, meaning that at age 18 they were released from the system with no permanent home or support. On any given day, more than 438,000 are in foster care.
Making the decision to adopt is not at all easy. For many it comes at the end of a painstaking journey of infertility. Which is what it was for us. Seven long years of heartbreak and loss and frustration. Friends and family who mean well but don’t know what to say. Baby showers and Mother’s Days going by again and again as horrible reminders of what was being denied to me.
Agreeing to move to adoption felt like being broken. Something God had built me for that everyone else my age was doing (and every 16-year-old on Jerry Springer) so easily and I had failed. It just didn’t seem like I could love and parent an adopted child the same as my own…boy was I about to get schooled.
So we moved ahead. Three choices:
- Private Infant
- Foster Care System
I couldn’t get my brain around a private adoption. The idea of getting a newborn was appealing but meeting the birth mother and at the time they were mostly open adoptions (a relationship with the birth mother was maintained, she had visitation, got photos, letters, etc.) was difficult for me. I could not get past feeling like I would just be a long-term babysitter.
After attending classes about adopting from the foster care system, August’s dad was not comfortable with that option. The classes paint the worst possible scenario to show just how damaged children in the foster care system can become from repeated placements, attempts at reunification, abuse and neglect that got them removed in the first place and more. He did not believe he was ready to deal with that kind of trauma…again, little did we know what we were about to face.
So international it was. Russia was picked because it was a country we’d probably never vacation to and because the child would most likely look somewhat like us so we wouldn’t automatically have to explain the adoption story every time we walked through the door. Of course we did, and August by the time he could speak in full sentences was introducing himself as, “Hi, I’m August, I’m from Russia.” So any attempt at secrecy was lost.
Previous posts have obviously revealed that parenting my adopted child has been anything but a walk in the park. It has been the hardest thing I could have ever imagined. Nothing the foster care classes dreamed up came even close to what I’ve dealt with. This adorable round-faced stranger who spoke no English was placed in our care to raise and love for the rest of his life. This neglected, abused, damaged, traumatized child who would reject all efforts to care for and love him and instead grow up hardened and controlling and impulsive leading to such a difficult life.
Would I change anything? Of course not. I am August’s mother. It is my greatest blessing. From the outside I am sure it is hard for others to see how the joys have so very far outweighed the trials. I am the proud
adoptive mom of a beautiful, sweet boy. His name is August Mikhailovich Prokhorov, now August William Giles. He did not grow under my heart, but in it.
If you are an adoptive parent or are adopted or know someone who is, celebrate this day and month. And please share your adoption stories…I love them!