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Adoption Blog: Man Up!

Starting Over

If you have been following along on our family's journey, you'll remember that in 2009, my wife Leslie and I adopted a nine-month-old boy, Manu, from India. I recounted my doubts and fears leading up to our travel to meet him, as well as my overwhelming joy in becoming a dad. I learned a lot about myself during those early years as a first-time father: that I could handle the stress of sleepless nights, dirty diapers, runny noses, and scraped knees, all while maintaining some semblance of my former personal and professional life. It was a challenge at first, but as the years have gone by, Manu has become such a part of our lives that it feels effortless, like he's been here forever. I still worry sometimes that I lack the parenting skills needed to help him navigate life -- both with normal issues as well as those unique to an adopted child. But we've made it this far -- Manu starts kindergarten this fall -- and I think we're both better off for the experience.

It's been awhile since I last blogged for AFC. Life gets in the way like that sometimes.

Part of the reason for my recent absence has been that, for the last year or so, we've been living an ordinary, and somewhat boring, post-adoption family life. Until now I'm not sure how much I have had to write about that would seem interesting to anyone but us. All the drama that surrounds a typical adoption now seems like a fond but distant memory as we focus more on getting to preschool on time, learning to read and write, eating our veggies, and brushing our teeth -- the affairs of everyday life! We are starting to field more questions from Manu about his adoption, those of basic curiosity that are simple enough to answer, but I think we're still a little ways off from more serious discussions we'll have about his past. So there it is -- we wanted a normal family life, and, at least for the moment, we've got it.

But there's always more to the story.

About six months ago Leslie and I started seriously discussing a second adoption. We've been flirting with the idea since the day Manu came home. We have always wanted a bigger family but we've been waiting for the right time, a time when we know we will be ready to adopt again, when another child would be a good fit for our relatively new family. We'll, I'm not sure anyone is ever really ready to take on an adoption, but the truth is we're not getting any younger, and we're approaching the now-or-never deadline. Manu is excited about the possibility of a sibling, too, and that seems like as good a sign as any. He says he wants a little sister; I tell him to be careful what he wishes for! After checking our hearts and our resources we finally decided that now was indeed the right time.

It's going to take some sacrifice on our part to make it happen, but that's OK. The return on investment will be substantial in the long run -- you can't put a price on the value of a loving family. But rosy metaphors aside, adoption is a very expensive way to expand a family, and it's not always easy to find the resources to make it happen. For us it will take a combination of savings, a shorter summer vacation, passing on some of life's niceties, and hopefully some good luck along the way.

So, with that in mind, we jumped right back into the fray of home visits, background checks, and endless piles of paperwork. I thought that going through the process again would be a breeze, knowing what we now know about international adoption. That's true in part -- the paperwork was a snap to pull together this time -- but there was a blissful ignorance that helped us through Manu's adoption that's not helping us now. This time we know what it's going to be like to wait for months on end with little or no word about our future child. We know that all decisions that affect how long we wait are not ours to make; they're in the hands of international governments and bureaucrats. We know what it's going to be like to hold a picture, but not hold her. But we also know what it feels like that first time we look into our child's eyes with our own, and that makes it worth all the wait.

To bring you up to date, we've finished with our home study visits and are awaiting the finalized document so that we can file our I-800A application. We've selected a country -- more on that later -- and are in the process of completing our dossier. It's still early in the process, but it feels good to be adopting again.

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Hi Jeff,

I follow your posts and enjoy reading them. I wanted to let you know that I am so happy that you guys have decided to expand your family.  I wish you the best of luck in your adoption journey.  May your process be fast and your child be healthy, congratulations!

Miami, FL

By Deb on Wednesday, March 06, 2013 at 4:29 pm.

Wow! Congrats! And what a cliffhanger, not telling us the country…

By Sharon Van Epps on Wednesday, March 06, 2013 at 4:38 pm.

How exciting!  Can’t wait to read the updates!!

By Danielle Pennel on Wednesday, March 06, 2013 at 6:35 pm.

Jeff -that’s great!  We finally came home with our son from Pune, India this past November.  It’s been a whirlwind few months but I understand that feeling of looking ahead to the next one.  I hope it goes smoothly for you - wherever you’re adopting from.

By heathermac on Friday, March 15, 2013 at 12:24 am.

Congratulations!!  Look forward to hearing more smile—E

By Ellenore Angelidis on Saturday, March 16, 2013 at 3:38 pm.

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