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Adoption Blog: Man Up!

A Small World

Around this time three years ago I made an international telephone call. My wife Leslie and I were due to travel to India to adopt in less than a week. We were excited, anxious, and scared as hell of the unknown adventure that lay ahead, with respect to both the international travel and to our status as untested parents. I don't like surprises, so I was calling our hotels in New Delhi and Bangalore to confirm our reservations.
When I called the hotel in Bangalore, the city where our son, Manu, was living in a children's home, the phone rang for what seemed like 20 minutes before a sleepy, slightly annoyed male voice answered -- I had forgot about the time difference and it was 3 a.m. local time. I told him why I was calling and he mumbled back something I could not understand. I asked again and was put on hold. Then the call resumed.
"Hello?" said a female voice that sounded tired, but awake and quite American.
"Hi, I'd like to confirm our reservations for next week."
"Um, I think you need to speak to the front desk" she responded. I looked down at my phone, confused. 
"I'm sorry, is this not the front…wait, am I calling your room!?" I realized that the sleep-deprived manager had transferred me to her, assuming that I must have wanted to speak to the Americans who had just checked in.
"I'm so very sorry to disturb you" I said, apologetically. She said it was not a problem and that they were awake anyway, having arrived only an hour ago. We made some sort of joke about the situation and then said goodbye. After I hung up the phone I wished I had asked her if she was there for an adoption, but then pushed that silly thought out of my mind. I waited a few hours before calling the front desk again to confirm our reservation. 
Before we departed for India, our adoption agency gave us contact information for a family who had just traveled to Ashraya, our son's children's home. We exchanged a few e-mails and read their family blog detailing their trip -- knowing that someone had recently gone down the same path helped calm our nerves a bit.
After we returned to the U.S. we desperately wanted to connect with other families whose children had resided at Ashraya. We reached out to this family and a few more families that they knew. Through blog posts and Facebook updates, we became part of a small group whose children were close in age and who had all been adopted within the last year. We were thrilled that our son now had these connections.
About a year after we came home the group decided that a reunion would be a good idea. A few months later we met up in Cincinnati. It was surreal to see these beautiful children all together again, half a world from where they started. It was also a lot of fun exchanging adoption stories with the other parents.
Our group now has more than 20 families, from the U.S. and Sweden, and it continues to grow. The children now range in age from two to young adults in their twenties. It's a very special gift that we've been given, and I hope knowing that they are not alone in their life journeys provides some comfort to our kids. 
During a pre-reunion conversation I had with a group member, Brooke, we had an astonishing revelation. We were commenting on how close we came to meeting each other while in Bangalore -- she visited the children's home only days before our arrival -- when she said, "And if you happened to have called the hotel at 3 a.m. before your trip and were transferred to an exhausted-sounding American lady who had just been through quite an ordeal getting to India, well, that was me." 
Amazingly enough, not only did we make contact by chance while she was on the other side of the world, but her family lives only a few hours away; we got to see them again this past December. As the song goes, "It's a small world after all."
Have you made contact, virtual or in-person, with families who adopted from your child's orphanage or birth country? What has that contact meant to your family?

Related Posts on AdoptiveFamiliesCircle


Here are some comments from over on our Adoptive Families Facebook page:

Leslie Memula We were fortunate to be in a travel group - i.e. several other families convening at the same guest house while in Ethiopia. Facebook has been a great way to keep in contact. We love to look at the family photos to see how everyone is doing.

Gail Skipton My daughter from Guatemala wan’t in an orphanage but over 200 of my Facebook friends are “Guat Mamas” and I love them!!!! We also attend a gathering of families with children from Guatemala every year in Missouri.

By Danielle Pennel on Monday, February 06, 2012 at 6:50 pm.

Fantastic story, Jeff. Glad you have those connections

By Sharon Van Epps on Monday, February 20, 2012 at 8:53 pm.

I’m an Asian-American adoptee from Taiwan. I was adopted by a Caucasian-American couple from Taipei. I have a blog where I write about my adoption story. Interestingly, other adult adoptees who were adopted out of the same orphanage that I was have contacted me via my blog. We’ve been able to connect and our experiences. It’s been very encouraging to find other adoptees out there who were born and adopted from Taipei!

By Marijane on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 12:24 am.

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