It has been four weeks since we returned home from Haiti with our son, Lux.
This is our second international adoption; we brought home our daughter Ngaire from Vietnam in 2008. We are now adjusting to life as a family of four and witnessing some ups and downs as Lux adjusts too. This past month he's been around new people, he is hearing a new language, trying new foods and seeing a much different world around him.
I'm grateful that some things are at least a little bit familiar to my son already. He knows my face and my husband's from pictures hung in his crib and from previous visits we've made to see him. Because I've been able to visit, I've learned some French phrases his nannies used to calm him, and I can repeat those familiar and comforting words in his ear. I've spent time at the orphanage learning his schedule so I can adjust to that here at home. With the short distance and reasonable costs of flights, I was able to visit Lux three times.
I believe the transition is a little easier this time around even though Lux, now 14 months, is older than my daughter when she came home at just 10 months old. When our daughter came home I did not know her routines or what she wanted when she cried. Visiting Lux, I saw first-hand the excellent care he received. I got to know his caregivers and saw their determination to do the best they could with what they have.
At first we did not know where our next child would come from. We would have liked to adopt a second time from Vietnam so our children would have a common bond and heritage. Unfortunately, we knew first-hand that Vietnam was no longer a possibility for us. The country closed in the middle of our adoption with Ngaire. Thankfully, our case was allowed to proceed once we tracked down additional information about her birth parents.
It might have seemed like Déjà vu when Allie Hamel, our program coordinator through both adoptions, called us to say that Haiti had agreed to transition to the Hague Convention and would be suspending its program temporarily to new cases. But this time, I was never afraid of losing our referral of Lux. Every question that I had, Allie was able to answer. She was constantly in contact with the orphanage staff and IBESR officials in Haiti. I truly felt that the process was transparent. Now, the required changes are in place and adoptions are open to new families.
It is my sincere hope that anyone considering international adoption will look into adopting from Haiti. The timeline of our adoption has coincided with an extraordinary ongoing recovery effort following the earthquake. During each visit, I noticed fewer piles of rubble and more improvements. What stands out to me beyond the physical improvements are the attitudes and determination of the people of Haiti. The need for humanitarian relief for the people and especially the children of Haiti is great, but they continue to be strong-willed and positive-thinking. The staff at the orphanage continue accepting children when they can because they're compelled to help. I will be forever grateful to the people who took care of my son when I couldn't be there.
International adoption is a big decision, but it is an amazing experience. Each of my children will always have a culture and history to celebrate. With the door of Vietnam closed to us, I am glad that for our second adoption we were able to explore the path of adopting from Haiti.
Article contributed by Carolina Adoption Services.
Carolina Adoption Services is a non-profit, international children's charity committed to finding stable, loving, adoptive homes for children in need of permanent families and dedicated to improving the quality of life for orphans and vulnerable children worldwide.
In addition to comprehensive adoption services, CAS offers programs and services such as home studies, humanitarian aid and overseas relief projects, parent/family education, child welfare advocacy, scholarships, and consultation services.
Established in 1993, the agency places children into families in all 50 states as well as overseas to U.S. citizens. Over 2,900 children have been placed throughout the United States and overseas in our 24 years. Carolina Adoption Services is Hague Accredited and is a member of the National Council for Adoption.