Adoption 101

The other day, the phone rang and, when I answered, a woman asked for me in heavily accented English. As it turned out, she is Dutch and living here in the Czech Republic more or less permanently. She got my number from our local social worker who suggested she call me to consult about adoption. The law says that foreigners with legal residency must be treated like citizens in most things, including adoption. That is the law, though not actually how it works a lot of the time. Still, technically, we can put in an adoption application here.

I agreed to tell her all I know and invited her to come and sit on our veranda and drink something cool in the evening. I looked forward to meeting someone else in a similar situation and yet part of me shrank from the idea of going through all that stuff again, even just mentally. The adoption process was sheer hell for me, as hard a time as I have had since I was consumed by social isolation in high school.

She walked up our rough, gravely driveway in neat business attire and made all the expected pleasant remarks about our house and about Shaye. As soon as we had sat down, she started in with the words, “I have always thought it would be nice to adopt, so that is why I’m doing this.” There was a tone to her voice that closed the subject. That might have been all there was too it, but maybe not. Perhaps she didn’t like dwelling on what came before anymore than I do.

For me, the thought of what brought us to adoption is one of the most painful. I, like my visitor, had long thought that adopting a child would be a worthy adventure. I thought about it back in high school, when I was naive enough to think having a child would be like always having a friend around. And even later, as I travelled in more than 30 countries, I often considered what it might be like to adopt a child from one of those places. I even met homeless and abandoned children and wished I had some way to take care of them, some home of my own to take them into.

But by the time I had that home of my own, I also had a husband and somehow adoption simply didn’t occur to me anymore. I just assumed we would have children, like everyone else.

But we didn’t.

That’s where it gets to be miserable. I have found that people who have never been touched directly by infertility cannot seem to grasp the horror of it. It is like the opposite of how sympathetic people feel about blindness. You can imagine the terror of being blind. But it is impossible to really understand the despair that a person who very much wants a child faces when they cannot produce one. It isn’t about wanting comfort or companionship. It isn’t about some emptiness or loneliness that a child might fill. That is the stereotype. Infertile people are supposed to be selfish and just want a kid to entertain them or fill some gap in their lives. Oh, I know you wouldn’t put it that harshly but a lot of people think it on some level. I have heard a few people voice various versions of this, and I can’t claim that there are absolutely no psychologically unhealthy people out there who do want a child for selfish reasons.

So, what is the suffering of infertility about? How can you want a child so much, and yet be neither selfish nor naively out to rescue the poor orphans of the world?

When I was in college, I thought maybe I would never have children. I liked kids and kids have always liked me. It just wasn’t a big deal to me. And then, when I was about 26 something shifted inside me. It was like the shift between being healthy and having the flu. You aren’t sure what is happening and then, in a moment, you know you have really come down with something. All of the sudden, I knew I had to have children. I was happy enough with my life. I had a good family, a loving husband, exciting work, a few good friends and lots of personal interests in reading, gardening, crafts and writing. The last thing I needed was a baby to “fill up my life” and yet I desperately needed children around, in my life, touching me, needing me. I was suddenly bursting with children’s songs and longing to read toddler books. I felt all this good energy for a baby swelling up inside of me and leaking out, like a breast full of milk. And like an unsuckled breast, it hurt unbearably to have all that pent up with no release. I would have jumped at the chance to be a volunteer holding babies at an orphanage (though that sadly wasn’t an option in my area), and I was happy to look after other people’s babies, but even that was only a temporary remedy that soothed only the surface of the pain and very few of my friends still had small children by then.

The thing I am trying to say is that it was a biological need. I can’t see it any other way now. One year it wasn’t there and the next it was, like puberty. Something in my body changed. At first, it was just a nagging feeling of need. Then, after three years, it was all consuming. I couldn’t concentrate on anything else. It was like living with chronic pain. And I lived with that for another four years, before Shaye came.

Infertility is a disease like any other. It impairs a major part of your life, like any significant disability and it is hard to bear from day to day. But what made it that much worse was that no one understood. Mama was sympathetic, caring and kind. She listened for hours to my grief over it. But I had no friends who were interested or understood. It was like I was an old aunt come to complain to them about my aches and pains. They said something soothing and tried to move on to some other topic reasonably quickly. And then there were the people who said, “Well, if you were really concerned for your child’s sake, you’d just adopt. There are plenty of children in need.”

This came mostly from people in America, where this last generally is not true. Oh, there are some children in need because adoptive families want mostly healthy, white infants. But the need is not nearly as simple as these righteous ones make it sound. If you adopt an older child, you miss out on a large part of what it is to parent and it is always a different kind of relationship with an older child. If you adopt a child with a disability, dealing with that will consume everything else in your life. It isn’t for everyone. As a person who was born with a significant disability, I should know. If you adopt a non-white child, you will be judged as exploiting minority children for your selfish, infertile-person needs. I’m not kidding in the slightest.

It is still very controversial for white people to adopt black or other non-white children in the US, and I’m not primarily talking about the gripes of white racists. The black professionals in the adoption field have some reasonable objections about the cultural identity and alienation of transracially adopted children. But I have seen plenty of websites by people – black, white, Asian and all sorts of others – putting down white adoptive parents and claiming they are inherently selfish exploiters, genetically incapable of addressing all the needs of a child of another race.

The bottom line is that “Just adopt!” is not the best advice for a person ravaged by infertility. You don’t have to be overly attached to your own genes to hesitate about adoption, you just have to be really seriously thinking over the issues.

I am pretty sure that the “Just adopt!” comments I got actually delayed my decision to file the application. As it is, we went through three full rounds of IVF before we took any real steps toward adoption. At this point, I can see that I personally would have been better off if we had started earlier. I would have suffered less and my child would have had more of the best of me and less of the frazzled out, wrung out part. However, my outcome is NOT that of all infertile people, so don’t take this as license to harass suffering people.  The “Just adopt!” comments felt like the stab of a knife while we were still trying to get pregnant. The bottom line is that those comments were not rooted in empathy and understanding for our struggle and they even implied a negative judgment about us.

The IVF treatments were as bad, or much worse, than you’ve heard. They require you to inflict physical pain on yourself on a daily basis (giving yourself injections in the gut). And they are a perfect form of psychological torture, particularly when you have doctors, as we do here, who are extremely uncommunicative and who won’t even tell you what the next step will be in advance, let alone whether or not your chances are reasonable. Our first doctor was named in English translation “Dr. Cutter” and her waiting room had one sole decoration, an enormous cactus that appeared to be dying. It was propped up by some sort of hospital equipment from the orthopedics ward.

We spent three years focused on treatments of one kind or another, many of them physically painful, all of them emotionally wrenching and some of them downright humiliating. Hope and enthusiasm gave way first to anxiety and then to despair. We were good patients at first with good attitudes and a fair amount of patience. But we had virtually no time or energy for other interests during those three years.

In any case, you can see why I’m not surprised at anyone who just doesn’t want to talk about it. I got the point that my Dutch visitor either really didn’t have these issues or didn’t want to discuss them, and so we skipped right to the point.

She already knew where to file the adoption application – at our local social work office. There are no private adoption agencies. It is highly illegal for anyone except the state bureaucracy to arrange an adoption in the Czech Republic. So, her first real question was “How long does it usually take?” That is the first, second and third thing prospective adoptive parents generally want to know.

“That depends,” I said cautiously. She was Dutch after all and that should generally mean she would be more open minded than most Czechs but still diplomacy pays. “Some wait five years. Some wait only a few weeks. There are lots of factors, like how old you want the child to be or what health problems you can accept. But, of course, the main factor is that there is one ethnic group here, that very few adoptive families will accept.”

“Oh, yes. I’ve heard about that,” she said, her words slightly explosive as if in relief.

She explained that she had already been to see the head of our local social work office. I will call her Mrs. S for safety’s sake, since neither my family nor my visitor is out of the woods yet. Mrs. S was the same person who did our initial interview, so I knew how it would have gone. “Did she give you the lecture about Romani children?” I asked, and my guest laughed in embarrassed agreement.

When Dušan and I went to pick up the forms for our application. Mrs. S had asked us generally about “how we imagined the child” we would adopt. After some confusion, we figured out that by this she meant she wanted to know our “criteria” – age, health issues, ethnicity. She was shocked to hear our criteria, although I considered them very conservative indeed. We said we wanted an infant, as young as possible, without major health problems, excepting perhaps a vision impairment because I am well equipped to handle that. And, oh yeah, we don’t care about ethnicity.

“You mean, you would accept a child of a different ethnicity, even a different color from you?” Mrs. S had clarified.


“You would even consider a mixed race child, where one of the parents is… er… Romani,” she sounded unused to using the terminology. We nodded before she even got to the end, “even a fully Romani child?”

“Yes, no problem.”

“You know that those children almost always have problems as they grow up?” Mrs. S persisted.

Dušan tensed up beside me and I took a deep breath. I had not really expected the social workers to resist this part of it. They must want to get rid of the “hard to place” Romani children, mustn’t they? I thought they might object because of my vision impairment or because I am a foreigner. But I figured they would be thrilled with our openness to Romani children.  I thought quickly for a moment and then answered, “Yes,  we have read that children in transracial adoptions often have problems. In fact, that’s why we decided to do it this way. I can’t drive and that would make it difficult for us to go to all sorts of medical appointments. That’s why we don’t want to get into a situation where a lot of medical problems are already known. But, on the other hand, I speak English. Our child will be bilingual. We have friends from all over the world, people of different colors, some of my relatives are Vietnamese. This is where we are strong. This is what we can offer that other families might have more trouble with.”

She seemed impatient, brushing my words away as soon as I stopped for breath. “Yes, yes, I know. But this is different. These children have more difficulties than other children of different ethnic backgrounds. For instance, in school.”

“Yes, we understand that as well,” I said, feeling a bit breathless. “I grew up as a visually impaired child in school, in a place where that was not well accepted. We know that not everyone will accept a Romani child and that can be a major problem at school, of course.”

“No,” she snapped at me, now finally provoked into speaking more directly. “That is not what I mean. Everyone accepts them. Everyone does everything to help them. That is not a problem. The problem is with THEM. They do not behave well. They do not study. The are deficient in moral values. I really don’t recommend this sort of adoption.”

Both Dušan and I were stunned. We knew there was prejudice in society, of course. We had seen and heard plenty of it, but we had thought that officials were being forced to be more politically correct. In any event, we could not show our shock or our disgust to Mrs. S. That social worker was our only avenue into the adoption system and her notes about us would accompany our file for years to come. We had to keep our tempers and placate her. Finally, after a tense moment, we both started talking at once. Dušan was trying to head me off, afraid that I would explode in anger at the woman or give her a lecture, as he had seen me do before with people who made blatantly racist comments. But I patted his shoulder reassuringly. “We have been told the same thing by many people. We know there could be many problems but we have thought about it a lot and this is what we have decided.” My tone was quiet but also firm, and it worked. The social worker let it be.

I related that story to the Dutch woman sitting on my veranda and we shared a chagrined chuckle. Her conversation with Mrs. S had been very similar. Then, she had more questions. I told her about the various pitfalls I knew of on the application forms, the many petty things Czech bureaucrats want to have officially confirmed. “After you file the application, they’ll tell you repeatedly and sternly not to call them. They’ll call you, they say. But the trick is that they never do call apparently. That’s what I’ve been told by other professionals. I waited three months before I called. And when I called they were glad to hear from me and immediately scheduled the next step in the process. From what I have heard it is some sort of test. They say you must not call them, but then they wait until you do. That is not to say they want you to be disobedient. In most things, you are expected to follow their rules to the letter. Perhaps it is a test of your desperation. From what I’ve heard, you should wait at least two months before you call, but then call.”

I didn’t tell my visitor how much that had hurt. After the misery of infertility treatments, I had felt emotionally raw. The bureaucrats – with their manipulative tests and arbitrary waiting periods – made me feel battered.

I did tell the Dutch woman that the psychological tests are no big deal, just a couple of computer programs that ask transparent moral questions where the correct answers are obvious. The homestudy is with Mrs. S and despite her issues about Romani children she is a piece of cake otherwise. She barely looked around my house and spent most of the time drinking tea and chatting in the kitchen.

The Dutch woman was concerned about the mandatory parenting classes. How would she understand them in Czech? As far as I know, you are allowed to bring an interpreter, and otherwise the classes are really the best part of the process. Certainly it feels a little demeaning that we have to go to classes to become parents, whereas most people don’t. But really the content of the classes is pretty sophisticated and interactive and interesting. Well, there was a lecture on legal issues, which was boring and impossible to hear. But other than that, the classes were a relief and we met a lot of friendly, courageous people in circumstances similar to our own. The only exception to that similarity was that we were the only couple open to Romani children.

Interestingly enough, here in the Czech Republic adoptive parents are not all upper middle class or wealthy. Our “classmates” were almost all working class – a lot of truck drivers and builders in our year. That is largely because money really plays no role in the system here. There are plenty of problems with the Czech system, but at least we don’t have to pay $10,000 to $25,000 for someone to arrange the adoption. And thus, no matter how much inequity there is in the system, Romani children are not cheaper, the way black kids are in America.

“OK, psychological tests, homestudy, parenting classes… What then?” the Dutch woman asked.

“Then, you wait for another three or four months. Supposedly they are “considering” your application all that time but, basically, there are rules that say they have three months to do thus and such, and they always take the maximum amount of time, regardless of the complexity of the case,” I explained the bureaucratic system as all Czechs know it. It doesn’t matter whether you are applying for adoption or for a building permit. The rules are essentially the same. The bureaucrats are given generous time limits by law, which are supposed to be the outside limits, but instead they end up being the minimum time period. There are always ways for the officials to extend the limits, if there is a more complex case.

“So, in the end it takes a year to a year and half for the application to be approved. Then, you are in the registry and you wait. If you are applying for a Romani child, you won’t wait long,” I said. “We are applying again too, but we’ll probably be the only competition you’ll have within our region.”

“Oh, dear!” my visitor cried in mild dismay. “I don’t want to end up with the child you should have!”

“Don’t worry,” I assured her. “There are plenty of Romani babies, even very young infants, in need of families. Neither of us will have to wait long, probably only a couple of months, and they always prioritize first time applicants. Of course, you can’t get a newborn because the bureaucrats have a few months to process the paperwork to make each child open for adoption. Two months old is probably the absolute youngest possible. But most of the children are made legally open for adoption at around nine to ten months. If the birthparents don’t come to the government offices personally to sign papers in a strict regimen, then the social workers have to take the child’s case to court to have the child declared abandoned. The court treats these cases as low priority, so it takes months and months.”

Then, she wanted to know about the orphanages, where the babies are kept during those months, and what happens when you are finally matched with a child. Again I was thrown back into memory.

We got the call on a Wednesday afternoon in March 2009. I was just about to teach my after-school English class for kindergarten and first grade kids. The kids were walking in my front door, yelling and running in the hall. My teenage niece Ember was here from Oregon and was helping me with my classes, so when I saw the social worker’s number on the caller ID, I waved at her to take the kids into my makeshift classroom.  I wouldn’t have normally picked up. But they don’t call, unless…

“The commission has just matched you with a baby girl,” the social worker said.

“How old is she?” I was trembling. The call had come once before, but it was about an older child and we had agreed to hold out. Older children can be adopted abroad or go into foster care. Romani babies have very few chances to get out of the orphanages while they are still very small. And besides, there was my inexplicable longing for an infant.

“Less than three months.” She added that we would have to come into the office to look at the child’s file first. “Take a few weeks to consider it and come when you’re ready.”

“A few weeks?” Was she nuts? You might have a baby and you’ll leave that child lying in a crib in an orphanage where no one has the time to hold her for a few weeks, while you think about it??? “We’ll come tomorrow.”

I had to call her back after my class to firm up the arrangements. I could barely concentrate on the lesson plan and Ember ended up teaching most of the class herself, while I sat by the window, shaking my head and jiggling my feet. When I finally could get back to the phone, Dušan walked in the door. He was so excited that he took the phone out of my hands and talked to the social worker himself. At first, she tried to say she didn‘t have any time to meet with us until the next week, but he persisted and she agreed that if we could come in right at eight O’clock in the morning, we could see her the next day.

I didn’t sleep at all that night. I tried. I knew I would need all my strength over the next few days, but I couldn’t get my thoughts to quit their wild reeling.

We were at the regional government office 15 minutes early and we sat on the bench outside the door, trying desperately to keep the bored, bland expressions on our faces that are manditory in public here. Finally, we were let into the office and shown a photograph of an oddly serious baby with her little hands clasped primly on her chest. She had blue eyes of all things. “She’s very light-skinned for a Romani child,” was one of the social worker’s first comments and she kept repeating it throughout the interview.

Other than that she listed the medical history, almost none. The baby had had a respiratory infection a month earlier. Otherwise no problems. Her birthmother didn’t drink or do drugs that they knew of. The local social worker, who personally knew the birthmother, would later tell us she didn’t smoke cigarettes either. She was 22 and had three older children. She took good care of them and all were healthy. She wasn’t married but she had a long-term partner. He had had a job at a big car factory, but he lost it in the onset of the economic troubles in 2008. They were desperate and didn’t think they could give a fourth child a good life. The birth mother had cried a lot over it but she had come to sign the adoption papers on the first day she was allowed to after the six week post-partum waiting period. The baby had been taken away from her immediately at birth, because she had said she wanted the child to be adopted. She wanted the adoption to go quickly and she had lobbied the officials to find her child a family as quickly as possible.

Supposedly, most adoptive parents want a true orphan, a newborn whose parents somehow died immediately after the birth. That was never my fantasy. If I had thought up a perfect story, this would probably have been it. Except for one thing. It was a great story for us. A child coming from such a good environment is an uncommon blessing in adoption. But I knew in my gut that, if this woman had been white, instead of Romani, she would not have had to give up her child. She would have had other options. Her extended family would not have been decimated by the forced assimilation policies and systemic discrimination that have torn so many Romani families apart over the past 50 years. She and her partner would have had many more chances to find a new job. She would have certainly had a better chance at an education.  From all accounts, the birthmother showed good intelligence in her ability to work with the officials to ensure a future for her child, but she had not been to school beyond the ninth grade.

“This is what she wants,” I told myself. But I still heard the voices of African American social workers condemning transracial adoption as “cultural genocide.” This was what they were talking about, wasn’t it? It wasn’t fair. And yet, what was done was done. The Czech authorities would never return a Romani child to a mother who relinquished her. That baby now needed us.

We were given the name of the orphanage and we drove straight there, even though we had been urged again to “think about it for a couple of weeks.” When we got there, we were given another lecture, containing mostly the same information we had heard at the regional government office. We had been there for an hour and a half and we still hadn’t seen our baby. We could hear the babies crying just next door but we weren’t allowed to see her.

When they finally did bring her in to the office where we were seated, she was sleeping. She was tiny, only the size of a large newborn. She was dressed in a winter snowsuit and placed in an old-fashioned baby carriage. The orphanage, like most Czech families, put infants on a covered balcony in the cold air to sleep. It is supposed to be healthy, if the child is dressed warmly enough.

It wasn’t a bad place, not really. The staff was hard-working. Everything was clean. There were toys. But there were also 18 babies under the age of crawling for just two nurses to care for. All they had time for was a hurried feeding and diapering of each infant before they had to start from the beginning again. The babies gulped their milk frantically, because they knew that any slacking would mean the bottle would be taken away for another three hours. They were often left to cry in their cribs for an hour or more because there was simply no one to handle their needs. And, of course, the nurses were different every day. The babies had no chance to develop a relationship with anyone.  I have read the reports on the most recent brain research that say that infants who spend more than a few months in a place like this, with no stable primary caregiver, show structural changes in their brains and develop deficiencies in social and emotional abilities later on.

We waited on pins and needles until she woke up. When she opened her eyes, they looked startlingly blue in the sunlight that had just peeked out from behind a cloud. She stared at us with quiet, watchful curiosity. We took turns holding her, laughing hysterically and talking giddily. Dušan went to call the regional government, to set the ball of paperwork officially rolling. They wouldn’t let us make the official decision before seeing the baby in person. I went to give her a bottle. A nurse had to correct me, to show me the right amount of nipple to stick into her mouth, but after that she praised me for my attentive and careful handling of the baby.

It was another five days before we were allowed to bring her home. I spent as much time with the baby as they would let me. All I was allowed to do at the orphanage was to sit and hold her on the freezing balcony. So, I sat there for two whole days, despite the fact that my legs went numb from the cold. The nurses expressed bewilderment about why I wouldn’t just leave the baby in their care for those few days. But, if your child was in a hospital or some other institution, you wouldn’t just leave her there, would you? You would be there every minute they would let you, particularly if you had read the ominous scientific reports on the effects of such places on babies.

There was still a lot of paperwork to do and we also had to drive all over the region to various bureaucratic offices – where the baby was born, in our local district and back to the regional government – to get various papers signed. As usual, each place wanted to send the papers on to the orphanage through the mail, which would take up to a week longer. We had to cajole and subtly bully each official in turn to let us play letter carrier. We knew from reports by parents that we had read on the internet, that you could get through the red tape in a few days if you really tried. And so, I passed this knowledge on to the Dutch woman in my turn.

We had finally taken Shaye home on Tuesday morning, almost a week after that initial call. I had slept a total of seven hours in all that time and I felt physically and psychologically exhausted. I was pretty sure that I wouldn’t have been more tired, if I had given birth, and I began life as a new mother already sleep-deprived and frazzled.

I have improved a lot in the year and a half since then. Though, like most mothers of toddlers, I am always a little tired and dazed.

After the Dutch woman left, I took Shaye up to take a bath. She splashed around in the tub and poured water from one plastic container to another. She likes to drink the bath water and I try to convince her that it is “yucky.” But she looks at me like I’m really a bit odd. Water is water after all. Then, she slithered around on her belly and giggled and splashed. But when I laid her back to wash her hair, she cried piteously. She always does that. She doesn’t scream in terror or cry in pain. She just gives a little moaning whimper that goes on and on, until the washing is done. She’s done that, since the day we brought her home. My mother, the child therapist, says this isn’t normal. Mama says if I supported her head right, she wouldn’t cry. I’ve tried a lot of different strategies but nothing works. Shaye isn’t afraid of water normally. I have to wonder if this isn’t some strange reaction left over from those 11 weeks she spent in the sterile orphanage environment. You always watch for the signs and never know for sure.

When she’d had enough, she crawled out of the water onto the towel that I spread on the changing platform next to the tub. We played peek-a-boo with another towel, while I dried her. Then, I squirted some massage oil onto my hand and then onto hers. She always wants to do it with me, so we both smered the oil on her hands and feet and cheeks. I put a diaper on her, only her second of the day. She pretty much potty trained herself at 17 months, but night and naps are still an issue. I noticed that night that her pajamas were getting a bit small. Time to pull out the stockpiles of good second-hand clothes I brought back from the US on our last visit.

We ran into Dušan in the hallway, on the way to bed, and she gave him a kiss, said “Papa! Papa! Night, night!” and waved bye bye at him.

Then, we went into our darkened bedroom and she cuddled into her special blankets with her special kitty from Grandma in America. I always hold her for a few minutes in her blankets and tell her some story out of my head. She likes to read books too but we do that downstairs before the bath, so that we don’t have to turn on a light in the bedroom and attract mosquitoes. That night I told her the story of her birth, what I know of it.

“Once upon a time, a tiny little baby was born. She was the sweetest, prettiest baby ever with blue-gray eyes and caramel-colored skin and lots of curly brown hair. That baby was little Shaylinka, little Shaye. First, she was growing inside her mother’s belly. That was her first mother. Her name is Pavlina. Then, the little baby came out of the dark, warm place and looked all around. There were lots of strange things and lots of people and noise in the world. There was also bright light and sunshine and snow outside the windows because Shaylinka was born in the middle of the winter. At first, Shaylinka was a little scared of all the new things but then she just looked around quietly like she always does. Then, after awhile, she started to get hungry and so she started crying for her Mama to come and feed her. But her Mama wasn’t there. There were only some ladies in white dresses and they gave the little baby some milk in a bottle. That was good, so she went to sleep. The little baby’s first mother, Pavlina, didn’t see her anymore, because she was very young and she didn’t have any money to buy the little baby warm clothes and good food. She loved the little baby and she was worried about what would happen to her, if she didn’t have all the things she needed. Pavlina thought about it really hard, and she decided that the little baby would find her real Mama and Papa somewhere. So, she asked the ladies in white dresses to help and she worked hard for the next couple of weeks, so that little baby Shaylinka could find her real Mama and Papa soon. Little baby Shaylinka was waiting for her Mama and Papa in a little bed with yellow bars. She waited and waited and sometimes she cried, but sometimes she played with some toys too. Then, one day, she woke up from her nap and her Mama and Papa were there, smiling at her.”

It was the first time, I had found the words to tell the story from that perspective, rather than from the perspective of us searching for our baby. I felt a wave of relief, when I told the story in a way that would make sense to a toddler. It is a start.

Shaye was almost asleep already and when I put her down in her crib, she just turned over and hugged her kitty and slept.


10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Miriam
    Aug 30, 2010 @ 19:21:04

    Beautiful. Personal and educational. Thank you for sharing your experiences, Arie. We are so blessed to have her in our family!


  2. Louie Cante
    Aug 31, 2010 @ 10:12:36

    This is a superb post and may be one that you should followed up to see what the results are

    A partner e-mailed this link the other day and I am desperately anticipating your next put up. Keep on on the brilliant work.


  3. Karolina
    Sep 01, 2010 @ 15:21:54

    Wonderfully written! It’s interesting that there are actually conflicting opinions regarding the need for Romani children to be adopted out of Eastern European orphanages. I am Polish and we’d like to adopt from there. We know there are plenty of Romani in the country, though not as many as in the Czech Republic. But when I asked the agencies with Poland programs, some didn’t even know what I meant by the term “Romani”. Sigh. When we proceed officially in about a year, I hope that making it abundantly clear that we are open to a child of Romani heritage will mean something to the powers that be. Thanks for sharing, and I love your birth story for Shaye. 🙂


    • ariefarnam
      Sep 01, 2010 @ 16:53:00

      Hi Karolina,
      It may be enough to simply emphasize that you are open to all “ethnicities”. That may be the key word they are used to, as opposed to “Roma.” I don’t know the situation in Poland specifically but I can’t imagine there aren’t Romani children in need of families there as well, given how extreme it is in every country I have seen detailed information on (CR, Slovakia, Romania, Hungary…). Good luck.


  4. instant messaging
    Sep 01, 2010 @ 20:57:44

    Great blog 9/10! Bookmarked 🙂


  5. BobBob
    Sep 02, 2010 @ 15:03:07

    Hey, This is very powerful stuff. Even though I know most of the story, it still gets me stirred up when I read it the way you’ve crafted it. It’s wonderful. Looking forward to the next post. Thanks, BopBop


  6. BopBop
    Sep 02, 2010 @ 15:05:20

    I thought I spelled it right. Maybe I was still stirred up, :=}


  7. click to download full movies
    Sep 03, 2010 @ 20:44:23

    Good work! Thanks for this sort of topical writing as I were able to discover here. I agree with most of what’s written right here and I’ll be coming back to this site again.


  8. guest
    Nov 06, 2013 @ 23:40:55

    This is so similar to our long story from the first wish to have a child over fertility treatments to the adoption, up to almost all of the details. The only difference is that our social worker was much more nice and our son was in the care of a loving family after being 8 days alone in hospital, until he was 2 months and he was able to be adopted. Thanks for writing it down, it was the first time that I feel somebody shares my feelings and my way of thinking in this matter.


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