Monday, October 25, 2010

Adoption 101

I have a friend who is getting ready to travel soon to pick up her daughter. She asked me the other day what was the biggest thing that happened when we traveled that we weren't expecting. You see, we went to the classes, read the books, and talked to other adoptive parents just like she is so we were expecting things like malnourishment and parasites. (Although I really don't think any amount of preparation can prepare you for giardia diapers. Trust me.) We were expecting attachment issues. We were expecting the trip to be both physically and emotionally tiring. It was. We expected it would also be amazing. It blew our minds.

But if you are adopting, I can now tell you this: it is impossible to travel to a country, watch people that genuinely love your child say goodbye to him, and not leave a piece of your heart there. Impossible. You will think of these people daily. You will love them. You will never forget how they cared for your son when you couldn't be with him. Your family has now been extended in ways you could never have imagined.

This is Hannah saying goodbye to Isaac.
She was one of many who smothered him with kisses and tears before we left.
And every time I see this picture, my heart breaks all over again.

Hannah is the social worker who pulled us aside on the second day and shared some of Isaac's history with us. She is the one who traveled with us to the country and patiently answered about a gazillion questions. She is the one who described his sweet spirit and how his eyes would light up when someone he knew came in the nursery to play with him. She is the one who begged us to tell her sweet Tadesse (Isaac) about her one day. And we do.

She was somebody in his life who filled the gap between birth family and forever family with hugs and kisses and love. Hannah has a hard job. She loves kids unconditionally knowing she has to say goodbye to each of them. I honestly don't know if I could do it; I'm too selfish. Just watching her do it was enough to break my heart.

You see, I expected to one day grieve with Isaac over the absence of his birth family, but I didn't expect to feel such a connection with the women who cared for him in the interim. Honestly, I didn't really give them much thought before meeting them, so I didn't expect saying goodbye would be as gut-wrenching as it was.

But I do miss them.
I do think of them often.
And even though I didn't expect these feelings, I wouldn't have it any other way.


  1. I have thanked God so many many times for those that watched over him in that nursery until he could come to his forever home. I know there are special angels here on earth and Hannah surely must be one. What a beautiful way you shared her importance to Isaac's journey to your arms!