Book Review: El Deafo by Cece Bell
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Put Your Own Oxygen Mask First
Below are some questions, which one of our St. Mary’s moms answered for future adoptive parents. Thank you, Amanda!
How long did the process take from start to finish?
The process took us just over 2 years from start to finish. We applied to St. Mary’s in May 2013 and brought our boys home in June of 2015. While we had hoped to move through it a bit quicker (doesn’t everyone), that timeframe was pretty much what we were expecting.
What was it like to get the call when we told you there are children for your family? What goes through your mind when you say “yes”?
Just reading that question brings on a flurry of emotions. I remember that day like it was yesterday. I don’t know that I have the words to accurately describe those feelings, but I will give it a shot. I was elated, anxious, nervous, a little scared, relieved, and feeling awesomely blessed. You begin this process hoping and praying for that phone call, but when it actually happens, it’s surreal. I couldn’t wait to receive the email with their information and photos.
Saying yes was like hitting the 1st rapid when white water rafting. The adrenaline kicks in, the fear begins to subside, sheer joy takes over your body, and you can’t wait for the rest of the ride. You finally know who your children are after all of the years of praying for them and loving them without any idea of who they were – just having faith that they were out there. It’s an awesome feeling! At that point all you want to do is get to them as quickly as possible and let them know how loved they are.
What was it like meeting the people from the Polish Adoption Commission (on your first trip to Poland)?
Meeting the people from the commission was a lot less stressful than I thought it would be. I was very nervous going into the meeting. However, the people we met with were very kind and you could tell that they truly cared about the kids. They provided us with more information about our children and asked us a few questions about our plans for the boys.
What was it like meeting your kids for the first time?
Meeting our boys for the 1st time was more than I could have ever dreamed of. The caregiver had told our boys that visitors were coming to meet them, so they were expecting us. When we walked in they were waiting for us right in the entry way. It took everything in me not to scoop them up right away and hug them, but I wanted to let them come to us. They were a bit shy at first, but were happy to play with us after a little while. By the end of that day, there were hugs, cuddles and kissing boo boos. It’s a day that I will never forget.
How was traveling abroad? What did you do there?
We loved traveling to Poland – it’s a beautiful country. The facilitator was such a blessing to work with. She assisted us with all of our travel and housing arrangements once we were in Poland. The apartments were very nice and in great locations. Getting around was very easy (mostly walking) and there is no shortage of things to see and do.
One of our favorite thing to do was exploring the old towns – they are beautiful and there were always activities for the kids. Poland also has amazing parks, so we spent a lot of time visiting them. We visited a handful of monuments and museums, but only the ones we knew would interest the boys. We also took time to travel a little bit throughout the country once we were able to. We are so grateful that we had the opportunity to explore Poland with our boys.
What was the hardest thing?
Waiting to get back to our boys after the first trip was the hardest part. Once I had those boys in my arms, letting them go was heartbreaking.
Absolutely! I can’t even begin to imagine life without our sweet boys. We would do it all over again in a heartbeat.
We really enjoyed working with St. Mary’s. When we decided to adopt, we chose an agency before we chose a country. Working with an agency that we trusted was very important to us. St. Mary’s lived up to our expectations. They were very open and honest with us throughout the entire process. They were very responsive when we had questions and compassionate as they helped us work through the bumps. They also provided us with very helpful resources. If/when we adopt again, we will definitely be giving Nick and Lina at St. Mary’s a call. It would be a pleasure to work with them again.
What advice would you give families that are considering adoption or that are currently going through the adoption process?
Keep an open mind and an open heart. Adoption is a beautiful thing, but it is also very unpredictable. Chances are you already have an image in your mind of what your adoption will look like in the end. Be prepared to let go of that for something even greater. When we first started our process, we had very different ideas on how it would end versus how it did end. I thank God for that every day – He knew what was best for our family! We are so blessed!
Also, network with other families that have adopted or are in the process of adopting. St. Mary’s connects all of their families via social media. It was the best resource I had. Not only could they answer questions about paperwork, processes and what to expect, but they are there to encourage each other along the way. You will need that. There are just some things your friends and family may not understand, but another adopting mama/tata will. I have made lifelong friendships during this journey.
We have assisted our parents with adoptions from Poland (and Bulgaria) for over 15 years. We are truly thankful to have been given the opportunity to dedicate our professional lives to serve our parents. We've served our parents with Polish adoptions since 2001, and have helped place over 173 children from Poland, per God's grace! ...Learn more, see kids, or contact agency 10801 Johnston Road, Suite 201 North Carolina
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