Tuesday, November 17, 2009

November is Adoption Awareness Month!

5 years ago we traveled over 25 hours and countless time zones to Kazakhstan to adopt our son, then Bekbulat Valiev. After a few bleary days of paper pushing and money exchanging, we found ourselves jet lagged and sitting in a soviet era office on a couch next to a large stuffed monkey (as if it weren't all strange enough already), with a plump adorable teething child we'd just met who would soon be our son, sitting on our laps. I'm not sure I have the right words to convey how surreal and strangely beautiful this moment was.

Although he had grown in our hearts many months before we'd even met; Bekbulat Valiev became Benjamin Bekbulat Sale, aka "Bek", some 25 days later on June 4 of 2004. We went to court nervous and excited, and gave our speech to an expressionless judge, then he was ours, FOR GOOD. We vowed, with the help of our Russian born translator, to be the best parents we could be, to teach him of his culture and birth country, and to provide for him the very best we could.

I think that we have kept our vow, and in return we've been blessed with the most beautiful son we could have ever asked for!

Adoption is an amazing process. On the most simple level it provides a solution to a two-sided problem; a child in need of a home and parents in want of a child. It is a conscious choice, one that is difficult and costly and frustrating. It begins with pain and loss for the child. There are never any accidents, you would never hear adoptive parents say "woops, we adopted!". It is an ongoing journey that does not end with a court date or adoption decree. Every birthday brings thoughts of the birth mother on the other side of the world, and every Mother's Day keeps me in happy tears at the gift I've been given. Many people say "he is so lucky to have you"...and this is true; but we feel lucky to have been led to Kazakhstan and that he is ours. And even more lucky and grateful that we are able to embark on another adoption journey.

In celebration of Adoption Awareness Month I salute all adoptive parents, grandparents, relatives and friends! The parents-to-be that are waiting or saving, don't give up! I salute the birth mothers who loved enough to make this choice, the countries that give us these gifts, the governments that allow adoptions (albeit not without extreme difficulty but let's not ruin this moment!) to happen, and most importantly the children that become Our children.
The Legacy of an Adopted Child

Once there were two women
Who never knew each other.
One you do not remember
The other you call Mother.
Two different lives
Shaped to make you one.
One became your guiding star
The other became your sun.
The first one gave you life
And the second taught you to live it.
The first gave you a need for love
The second was there to give it.
One gave you a nationality
The other gave you a name.
One gave you a talent
The other gave you aim.
One gave you emotions
The other calmed your fears
One saw your first sweet smile
The other dried your tears.
One sought for you a home
That she could not provide.
The other prayed for a child
And her hope was not denied.
And now you ask me through your tears
The age old question through the years
Heredity or Environment
Which are you a product of?
Neither, my darling
Just two different kinds of love.
author unknown

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