By Jen Wittes
As we move forward in our efforts to better support families through the process of adoption, we find ourselves eagerly interested in anything anyone has to say about the experience. Not different from welcoming a biological child into the family via childbirth, the birth of a new family by adoption is a transition, laced with highs and lows and everything in between. I recently spoke with a former WBC client, a woman we helped after the birth of twins. The twins joined an older brother, a son the family had adopted from Guatemala. I asked the mother a few basic questions about the adoption, in hopes of giving other families considering this journey a few words of wisdom from someone who has “been there.”
1. Can you share the basic details of your adoption?
We began the process to adopt from Guatemala in October of 2006 with Lutheran Social Services. It was a long, involved process that we completed in June of 2007, when we received a referral from Guatemala and immediately accepted it.
2. Do you have an open adoption?
No. There is no open adoption from Guatemala.
3. What are the pros and cons of open adoption, as you see it?
We chose a different route because we have several friends who had bad experiences with open adoption. You have to be willing to expand your family to include anther extended family and give up some degree of control as a parent. It is a matter of personal comfort and choice. As long as the parents know what is involved, open adoption certainly could work out.
4. What do you think people would be surprised to learn about the adoption process?
How long it takes, how hard it is, and how expensive it can be. All well worth it for us, however!
5. Do you feel that it was easy to bond with your son right away or did it take time?
The bond took time to grow, although I knew he was meant to be ours right away. It was a process over the time we spent in Guatemala.
6. What, if anything, would you have done differently in both preparing for and managing your son’s homecoming?
I wish it would have gone faster, but I did come to believe our time waiting in Guatemala with him was extremely valuable.
7. Later, you became pregnant and gave birth to twins. Beyond the experience of having multiples, what was different about the newborn experience, compared to the first time around with your adopted son?
The hormones were there I was emotional in a different way. We were able to be in our home right away with them and not wait with the anxiety of not knowing for sure they would stay with us. Although, the time in Guatemala waiting was emotionally a little like the anticipation in pregnancy.
8. Did any specific emotions about your son’s adoption arise with the birth of your twins?
Gratefulness and joy for the processes with which they all came to us and be a part of our lives.
9. Any advice for families embarking on adoption?
Inform yourself, be patient, be careful about what you subject yourself to. Get advice you trust from neutral parties. Use a reputable agency ONLY!
*For more general info on adoption, visit MN Adopt