What can you learn in adoption class? An adoptive father shares the benefits of a pre-adoption class for prospective parents.
I think to myself, "What can they possibly teach us about adoption that requires thirty-two hours of classes?" It's a very simple process. Someone has a baby. The agency takes the baby and gives it to the next family in the waiting line. Right? Wrong!
March 3rd is our first day of class, and Susan and I feel a little awkward - in fact, we're embarrassed. Are we the only ones opening ourselves up to the fact that we can't have children? As the room quickly fills up with other couples, I'm surprised to se how many are experiencing the same problem we are. We introduce ourselves by telling a little about our history. Amazing how many of the stories sound like ours. We begin feeling a little more relaxed.
Over the next two weekends we attend the classes faithfully. It's probably the best leaning experience we've ever had. Not only are the classes informative and educational, but also when we finish we have a much greater understanding of how the adoption process works and the emotional impact it has on all parties involved.
If there's any one particular day of adoption classes that impacts us the most, it's March 4th. On this day there's a panel discussion that includes an elderly lady who gave up her baby for adoption many yeas ago: a couple who recently adopted a baby girl; Susan, one of the social worker who is adopted herself; a lady who adopted two children; another couple who work as foster parents; and a young teenage girl, now sixteen, who gave her baby up for adoption. For the first time, we'll hear the emotional impact of adoption.
The couple who adopted the baby girl explains the bonding process and how it affected each one of hem differently. The mother describes how it took several months actually to bond with the baby; the father on the other hand, bonded very quickly. The one story that touched everyone's heart is from the young teenage girl. She tells that when she got pregnant her parents threatened to throw her out of the house if she didn't give up her baby. She gives up the child to a teacher who's looking to adopt. She shows recent pictures to the class, all the while crying over the experience.
After the panel finishes, we have the opportunity to ask questions or express our feelings. One of the ladies on the panel states that having a baby is a gift of heaven, referring to the fact that we're being excluded. When its my turn, I say to the teenage girl, "It's said that having a baby is a gift from heaven, but in our case, it is still a gift from heaven, but it's given to an angel like you to deliver to us." The emotional turmoil a birthmother must go through when giving up her baby is beyond words. I realize that without a mother giving up her child, for whatever reasons, we would never be able to adopt a child. What a powerful and emotional day it is.
Rocky DeLorenzo is the author of Infertilty to Family: One Man's Story, a poignant account of his family's struggle with infertility and journey to international adoption. This passage is excerpted from the book, with his permission.
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