Saturday, 25 January 2014

Long time waiting

We were never close enough to talk about the stress of not being able to conceive.

She never told anyone about the ache in her heart and arms, wanting to cuddle, love and look after a child of her own.

As a couple they never let the pressure show when her life, lifestyle, socio, economic, cultural background was continuously assessed.

We never discussed the agony of waiting to find out whether they had been approved, let alone the wait to find a child.

The financial pressures were and continue to remain unknown.

Not once, did they ever complain.

They never shared the story of the international flight to meet them for the first time.

They may have told immediate family and friends. But we, the extended family had no idea.  In our world, they were a childless couple, and then all of a sudden they were a family of four.

Years ago, my cousin and her husband adopted two children.  This blog is a tribute to this couple’s strength, endurance, commitment to each other and to creating a family.

We lucky ones wait nine months to meet our children. In Australia, five years is the typical wait time to for families who adopted a child from overseas in 2012–13. This has increased by 2 years since 2007–08.  The cost can be up to $40 000.*

Can you imagine? Waiting for years to have a child, then all of a sudden you have two?  What a responsibility, who do you cuddle first? How do you make both feel loved and secure at the same time?

Applicants have to meet the eligibility requirements set by the Australian State or Territory in which the application is being lodged, AND the eligibility criteria of the overseas country of the adoptive child.

Inter country adoption requires multiple assessments of the continued suitability of prospective parents*

How would you fare with the endless paperwork, the continued assessments, the wait?  Such a sterile, long process where you just have to keep it together and when you pass, imagine the relief, and then the new pressure of meeting and then caring for not one but two children?

Parents to newborns remember the instant they laid their eyes on their baby.  Depending on the age of the child, adoptive parents have the additional pressure of ensuring their first meeting with their new child or children is welcoming, soft, loving but not so overwhelming for the child that it becomes frightening. What pressure, imagine trying to control your emotions after such a long journey?

That’s not where the story ends. Then there is the flight home, overcoming the jet lag, the settling in, the establishment of a family dynamic, importantly a safe haven for these children, a home.

Looking at photos and the very rare occasional international Skype session, I see a family that look incredibly happy and united.  Of course like any family or couple there will be the typical ups and downs. But what is important is that these children have a safe, warm and comfortable home. They have doting parents and an extended family that can’t wait to cuddle and tickle them when they next see them.

I expect this blog will come as a surprise to my cousin (if she read it, that is). But I have always wanted her (and of course her husband) to know she has a little fan club on this side of the world.

Is there anyone you secretly admire that you want outed?

Adoption Statistics for Australia and the UK.

  • In 2012 / 2013 there were 129 adoptions in Australia. 38% of those were Inter county adoptions *
  • In the UK, 5,206 adoptions were entered into the Adopted Children Register (ACR) following court orders made in England (4,835) and Wales (371) during 2012. This is an increase of 9.8% on the 4,740 adoptions entered in 2011.** NB Figures on the ACR include adoptions by relatives and step–parents as well as adoptions from care.

* Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. 2013
**BAAF Adoption and Fostering

This blog forms part of Lisa Lintern's blog a day challenge. Visit Melodramatic Me.

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