Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Family Support

One thing I hear a lot of on my adoption groups and boards is conflicts with family members who disapprove of the adoption. The problems can range from stinging comments to the irreconcilable split of the family. My heart breaks for these families because adoption is not an easy path and adoptive parents need all the support they can get, especially from family.

I've been very lucky in this area. My mom has been 100% fully supportive from the time when our adoption was just a twinkling in my eye. In fact, I think she was on board long before I could convince Zman. We didn't tell Zman's mom until after we had finished all the paperwork and were officially waiting for our referral. Although we are not particularly close to her, she has been overjoyed about our new son and always asks about the adoption process whenever we talk.

Zman's step mom has a unique perspective on adoption as she gave up a child for adoption when she was younger. Just as we were starting our adoption journey, she was contacted by that child for the first time in 20 years and had to work through all the emotions that she had buried for all those years. It was heard for me to find the right words to support her and to talk about our own adoption for fear of hurting her. Luckily she is a very strong woman and is amazingly supportive of the path we have chosen to continue our family. In fact, here is a bit of the email she sent me this morning.

I am so excited to about coming to Alaska and being with the girls and especially because of the reason that brings us to Alaska, Matewos. I can't even imagine the different emotions you are going through.

You must be a roller coaster of emotions. Always remember you have so much love to give and you are such a wonderful mom, I don't think there will be much of a transition, I think it will be an instant connection and bonding.

I am having lunch with the CEO and my supervisor, and I wanted to share our happiness and excitement about -----. I have printed out his picture to share and went on line to learn that in FY 2002 number of adopted orphans to the US was 105 in FY 2006 it was 731. In general, Ethiopian orphans have been abandoned by their parents or have lost their parents to disease or other misfortune. I also was reading about MOWA (Ministry of Women's Affairs) who is the government office responsible for adoptions in Ethiopia.

I love you, you are my hero and I thank you for taking us on such a wondrous adventure.

*sniff, sniff*

The biggest hurtle we faced in terms of family support was Zman's dad. Adoption is a bit of a foreign concept in his family and that we would chose that route never entered his mind. We started talking to him about it early in the process, even before we sent in our application. We knew he would need plenty of time to get used to the idea. He was the only family member not immediately supportive. He asked all the hard questions and really couldn't understand why we would do this.

Luckily he has made a lot of progress and is now very supportive of our adoption. He doesn’t like that we have to travel to Ethiopia, all he can see is war and political instability, and disease. He's frightened for his son and I can understand and respect that even if I don't agree. I can tell he has come a long, long way because he and his wife are now coming up to Alaska to be here when we return with Smiley. He will be one of the ones meeting us at the airport and welcoming Smiley into the family.

We are very blessed to have so much love and support from our family and I think that Smiley is a very lucky boy to have so many new grandparents eagerly awaiting his arrival!


chou-chou said...

oh my goodness - that email is just AMAZING! you are indeed very blessed to have family support like that.

Chelley said...


I have just spent the last 2 hours reading your blog started on the last month and that was it I had to go back to 2006 to see how it all started! I am so amazed and I know at this time while you are busy with packing and planing I want to wish you all the very best and I will look forward to all new updates!!! I am adding you to my bloglines....

Again ALL THE VERY best for your upcoming travel!!! HUGE HUGZ!!!

my dog looks so much like yours apart from the fact that mine is fatter!! (LOL too many treats)