Monday, November 26, 2007

Fear

Fear: concern or anxiety; solicitude


I was reading a post on one of the adoption boards about fears experienced during the adoption process. I was tempted to post a reply only to realize that the current fears are mostly different than the fears when starting our process. Since we are in the middle of the process, this post will only address those fears up to the current stage.

Our first concern was how a child/children would change our relationship. We are soul mates and extremely close, now for over 17 years. We weren’t sure if we would be able to share our time on such a level that an adoptee would require. Without having the ability to have any bio children of our own, these were untested waters. We did spend a lot of time with our nephews and niece, but this we knew is different than having a child of our own. What we did share was a love of children and a growing need to have our own; to raise and nurture, to love and be loved, to teach and be taught by. We decided that our relationship was such that it allowed us to bring children into our lives and we would stand together, all of us. And so our adoption journey began, pushing aside any fears of change that will happen.

The fear of a failed adoption is still quite real after we experienced a failed attempt at a stateside adoption. We don’t have a strong need to adopt an infant (many others want it therefore we left it to them) so we started the process for a special needs child/children in Nevada. To make a long story short, everyone who went through the classes with us did not adopt due to different problems with the process. The local process has changed, but we weren’t willing to put ourselves through that process again. Also, the thought of having a birth parent suing for custody of our children steered us to international adoption.

How were we going to pay for an international adoption? Was our place of residence appropriate for raising kids? Without yet deciding on a country, we started saving money in general. It wasn’t a conscious decision for adoption, but the purpose was guided by a future adoption. We needed a larger residence that could accommodate us all so our purchase was larger than what we currently needed but adequate for a larger family. So we started saving again specifically with an adoption in mind. A small inheritance from my father allowed us to boost our savings to a point where we could now seriously look at IA adoption.

With those fears alleviated, it was time to choose a country. Ukraine always tugged at our hearts so we started doing the research. Ukraine had its own problems; corruption, unstable process, language and culture to name a few. It seems that the unstable process was our first hurdle. When we were about to move forward, Ukraine closed the process down. We looked at other countries but decided to wait awhile to see what is going to happen. We preferred the idea of a blind adoption for fear of attaching to a picture and profile only to have that child not being available for us (for whatever reason). By choosing Ukraine, we alleviated that fear and changed it for an uncertainty. Their process is on and off again, but we are now entrenched in the process so there isn’t any need to fear as we’re now just going with the flow. Though many call it corruption, we call it a difference in culture which can be resolved with money and connections. Our own country has expediting fees, the difference is that we post the costs up front. This is where the “who you know” is important and we feel we found a facilitator that we can depend on without nickel and diming us to the poorhouse. Language and culture are always a fear so we are addressing this. I’m learning some Ukrainian and Virginia and I will work on Russian together. I’ve read what I can on Ukraine but there is nothing like being there; soon enough.

The largest fear was actually related to the health of the children in Ukraine. We are ready to handle children with moderate problems, both physical and psychological. For awhile, RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder) was our strongest fear. What can we do with a child that will not attach and has little regard for those around them. FAS/FAE (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome/Fetal Alcohol Exposure) is a strong concern as are so many other labels that many of these children have. I find that education has alleviated many of those fears as each has a way of being dealt with. It may take extra patience, love and a different parenting style but all can be dealt with in time. Are we going to get a perfect child (whatever that is)? In a word NO. But together, we will overcome whatever issues come up and bring these children up the best we can with whatever resources we can use. It’s not uncommon to have a Ukrainian diagnosis to be falsified by an American doctor. It’s also common to have conditions that are not diagnosed by the Ukrainian doctors so these fears are real and still exist. I’ve looked back at my childhood and realized that if I had grown up today, I would probably have many labels applied to me, and I came out OK (according to my wife).

Our latest fear is whether or not we made it for this year or not. We are caught up in some bureaucracy and waiting for word. If we missed this year, then we’ll have to redo some paperwork and submit for 2008. It’s an inconvenience and would have additional costs but not insurmountable. We’ve waited this long and will wait however long it takes to complete this process.

Together, and with prayers, we will prevail. Fear serves a purpose as long as we don’t let it control us. Each step presents its unique problems and fears, and each fear has its own solutions. Through fear, we’ve learned so much more than when we started this process and through education, fears have been alleviated or diminished. We hope that through education, your fears and apprehensions can also be alleviated.

8 comments:

adoptedthree said...

All of your fears are needed in ORDER to have a successful adoption!

Even knowing the odds we went forward and when we brought our first son home to the USA on our 10 year wedding anniversary-suddenly it all made sense.

In fact I believed in the system enough that I ventured back two more times!!!!

Tami said...

I've always thought it takes a special kind of person to work through all of the fears associated with international adoption. It's not for the faint of heart. But when we step back and take a really good look at it, all of these fears are so small in comparison to the blessings we receive when we adopt these kids. Hang in there. Your kids are waiting for you on the other side.

Nataliya said...

I can relate to everything you said, I had the same thoughts! Just take it easy, one step at a time, and everything will work out for the best!

Christine said...

The number one message in the bible is "Fear not!" It is so hard to not let our imaginations drive us to fear.

God Bless. :)

I'll stop if you will. :)

Tammie & Craig said...

Hey Virginia & Chris,
So glad you visited our blog. Amazing and wonderful that you will be bringing two home!! Wish we could do the same. I could really relate to this particular post...........good luck on your journey.
Tammie

Christine said...

Hi guys,
I got your comments on my blog. I live in California... Fresno County to be exact. I love your suggestions, but where would I start? Call me dumb, but I don't even know who our local Congressman is.

We haven't even gotten our fingerprinting appointment yet. Is it too early to contact someone?

Brian, Pamela & Angelina said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts about this topic - we all process fear differently, but to see your thoughts written brought back some vivid memories. Memories and experiences from 2004-2006 when we went through the start, stop, start, wait frustration. Godspeed to you both your doing something very special. Enjoy your blog, some neat links, etc.
Merry Xmas,
The White's

Jackie said...

Wow ! Our stories are so much alike and with all the same fears. So nice to "connect" with others going through the same process....and from Ukraine too !