Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Should Military Families Adopt?: Part 2

I love the replies I received from yesterdays post and hope you enjoy and are challenged by the next next chapter in this series. I just want to quickly clarify that the main question was not should military families be allowed to adopt, but should they, knowing the lifestyle and the impact it may have on a newly adopted child, choose adoption for their family.

Part 2

To be honest, when we decided to adopt I don't think we gave much thought to the impact our constantly moving, relentlessly changing life would have on our daughter.  In fact, when we began the process of bringing Prim home, we very specifically believed our military life would be an advantage to our little girl thousands of miles away.

You see, Prim was a waiting child from Holt's waiting child photo listing. I took one look at her and those BIG brown eyes and thought "there she is!".  I couldn't get over the similarities in physical features she shared with our son and fell in love with her serious little face.

And so did seven other families.....

I don't know know how to describe the process of being "interviewed" for the right to love and parent a child, but it's not for the faint of heart.  We had to convince a board, who had never met us in person and only knew us on paper, that this ten month old baby with possible special needs, that we were the best choice without a shadow of a doubt.

No pressure...

Before the interview H and I talked about what we had to offer that another family may not.  I kept thinking, how could I convince the woman who was interviewing us that we would love this beautiful little girl more than any other family? I couldn't.  And I wouldn't.  I wouldn't make the argument that our love would be better, that we were more "deserving" because those seven other families wanted to parent this little girl just as much as we did and it felt unfair.  I didn't want the process to feel like a competition. This was about a child.  And we knew there was so much love for her already just from the overwhelming response to one tiny picture on a website.  What we did have to offer which may have been different from other families was (ironically) stability.  We are a military family.  It means job security, medical insurance and no question of pre- existing conditions.  It means a roof over our head, a paycheck on the 15th and 30th of the month without question and the exceptional family member program for those with special needs.  It meant close-knit communities with bi-racial and trans racial families being the norm and accessibility to outreach programs and federally funded support networks.   It means military hospitals, clinics and pharmacies.  It meant a smooth financial and medical transition for a little girl with a lot of unknowns.

A few days later we got the call.  We were hers. She was ours.

And I had to believe it was because, in part, of us being a military family.

Thanks for reading and check back for Part 3!


Wendy said...

OK, APRIL..this comment has nothing to do with military family (sorry), but you made me cry. Because I remember when you began your adoption journey to bring Grace home!!! I remember you sharing those first pictures of her with that very serious little face and those huge Thai eyes. And I know she could not have a more perfect mama! Love ya!

Mireille said...

OK I know I used the word allowed as well, but I mean it more in a way that YES you CAN!! adopt as a military family and who knows what the criteria was there in Thailand to choose you as her family, because I am not so sure if they really know what it means to be a military family in Asia. That they know how stable your life style is.... but I am sure you told them!! And with your eloquent words I am sure you persuaded them that your family is the right fit for this precious little girl with the big brown eyes :-)

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