International Adoption: One Woman's Story

Meeting Your Child

How and where you meet your child for the first time depends on the country you adopt from. Many countries, such as China and Vietnam, require that adoptive parents travel there to pick up their children and to finalize paperwork. Other countries, such as India and Korea, allow escorts to deliver children to the U.S., but parents also have the option to travel. I found that one of the most exciting parts of our adoption journey was traveling to Korea to meet our daughter. Parents who make the trip are at such an advantage: They can tell their children all about their birth country firsthand, and they get to meet the people who cared for them.

In our case, Eleanor's foster mom, Mrs. Kim, was a wonderful, loving woman who had cared for more than a dozen babies in her home from birth until they reached 4 to 5 months of age. When I went to her apartment to pick up my daughter, I asked her every question I could think of about Eleanor -- what her favorite toys were, what time she got up, how often she pooped, and what made her laugh and cry.

I didn't shed a tear until I brought Eleanor home to New York City, held her face up next to my own, and looked into the mirror. I stared at her chubby cheeks and the way her little Korean eyes turned up just like mine and thought to myself, My daughter looks so much like me. And inside -- the place and circumstances we come from are just the same! I cried because never before had I seen myself, and my history, mirrored back to me in another person's face.

Once our children arrive, life for adoptive families is not unlike that of parents who give birth. We wonder if our children will ever sleep through the night. We try to make distinctions between a cry for food and a cry for a clean diaper. Some of us have to schedule a few more visits with our social worker and file more paperwork, but once our children are home, we truly feel like the process known as adoption is over. Down the road we're sure to face questions and challenges related to our children being adopted, but for the most part we do what other parents do -- we forge ahead on our journey of becoming a family.

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.

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