We are often asked why we chose to adopt from Poland. In fact, the judge in our adoption even asked us this question. I always answer the same ? we didn't choose Poland, we chose Kuba (our son). We saw our son one night on the Rainbowkids Adoption Advocacy website. We fell in love, and knew he was meant to be ours. Getting to visit Poland in the process was just a bonus.
Although we didn't choose Poland, now that Kuba is home and the adoption process is over, I am thrilled that our son came from a country that is so adoption friendly. Things we initially worried about such as our not-so-youthful-ages, a past divorce, modest income all turned out to be fine with our particular judge. Kuba's orphanage gave us all the medical papers we needed, allowed us to ask questions and was absolutely wonderful in preparing us once we were there. We even were blessed with the religious-sisters from the orphanage checking on us, helping us and guiding us through the first few weeks that Kuba lived with us in country.
The process seemed intimidating to begin with. Especially once we arrived in country. Our wonderful Polish adoption facilitator met us at the airport and prepared us for the upcoming days. We were to visit the orphanage for two days, and then on the third day we would have our first court appearance.
Meeting the son you have dreamt about for a year is intimidating enough, realizing you also have to go to court to convince someone he is your son was even scarier. There was to be social worker meetings, two court dates and visits to Kuba's Drs. There was a considerable amount of paperwork to be done, and things like passports and birth certificates to get. To a jet-lagged mom, it all seemed overwhelming.
I can honestly say once we met our son and he held his tiny, sweet little hand out to me and tried to call me mom, I no longer cared how much there still was left to do in his adoption. This child was mine, and I would do whatever it would take to make it official. My husband and I fell instantly in love with this little man and his quirky little ways.
We spent 7 weeks in Poland before being able to take Kuba home to the USA, tobe ours forever. Those 7 weeks consisted of highs and lows. We had a 5-year-old little boy who was going through a huge, scary experience. Although the orphanage had prepared him well, there were still moments that left us scratching our heads trying to figure out what to do. Thankfully, the orphanage checked on us often. Our in country rep, who was fantastic, also frequently checked on us. Our social worker gave us tips, and made us a list of places to go visit to keep Kuba busy.
It took a few days for Kuba to settle in. It was obvious that he wanted a family, and wanted to be with us, but was still a scared little boy. It only took a few days before Kuba was asking for kisses, telling us "I love you" and pointing to himself and saying "happy". He had moments, but ultimately the adjustment period was remarkably easy. Perhaps it's because we were so well prepared by our agency, and the adoption process, but everything went much more smoothly than we had expected.
Before the adoption, I had looked at 7 weeks away from home in another country as a negative. I didn't want to leave my other children that long, and wished it was much shorter. Now, looking back, I am glad I had 7 weeks alone with our son. Although my husband only stayed in country for a little over 2 weeks, he also is glad he had that time in country. That extended period created a bubble of sorts during which we could get to know, bond and enjoy getting to know each other. That bubble allowed us to forget outside problems in life, and focus on each other. For 7 weeks we were able to experience the beauty of Poland, get to know the ways of the Polish people, eat some amazing food, and allow our son to get to know us before traveling to a new, completely different land. We left Poland with much respect for the country, the people and their traditions. Best of all, by the time we left Poland; Kuba was completely and totally ready for his new life in the US.
We have been home now for 6 months. Those months have shown us the beauty of adoption. Our son, who our original paperwork indicated had significant cognitive and physical delays, is thriving. He has gone from a child that needed special corrective shoes to walk inside without his legs sliding apart from weakness, to a child that climbs our fence one handed, dangles from trees and wrestles with the big kids. He has gone from a child that had almost no language skills, to a child that understands almost everything we say and will not hush his mouth. We now roll our eyes and laugh at each other over the fact that not so long ago this child was considered fairly nonverbal.
Kuba is a happy, sweet, loving boy. He loves his family and puts himself to sleep each night by quietly naming off family members as he falls to sleep. Each time we eat dinner and ask each person at the table what their favorite part of the days is, Kuba replies "family". Each and every time. We never prompted him to say this, he just does. Each time it brings tears to my eyes. Family. What a difference adoption makes!
Visit the Poland Adoption Area of RainbowKids to learn more about adopting a child from Poland.
A Family Story Contributed by Children's House International