Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Time, journeys and destinations.

How quickly a month flies by. Our file is still in Australia due to circumstances beyond everyone's control but eventually will arrive in Thailand one fine day.

If a month can pass by this quickly, before we know it we'll be receiving a phone call to tell us that our baby has been referred to us. Only about 18 to 24 of these quick months to go. How very exciting.

I know that people, including myself at times, say that the "journey is just as important as the destination" but in this scenario it is something quite different. I so want the journey to be short and quick so we can arrive at our 'destination'.

If wishes were babies we'd have a tonne of them by now :)

I recently read a little part of an experience that another adoptive parent shared. She and her husband and son went to Thailand to bring home their soon-to-be daughter only to find that the special needs that they knew about weren't the only special needs she had. Apparently there were quite a few other, quite serious, needs that the little girl had that made the family uncertain as to whether they would be able to meet those particular needs.

They arrived in Thailand with excitement and much anticipation as you would expect. They were going to meet the child who they had waited on, thought about, planned for, dreamed of and talked about for a long time. This is a hard concept to explain to a non-adoptive parent - how an A-parent anticipates the arrival of their child in a similar way that a pregnant couple would anticipate their new arrival. There are the similar emotions, fears, dreams, excitement and planning.

In spite of yourself, while you wait your mind starts moving ahead to the day you will meet, how the child will react to you and your partner, how you will deal with the varying scenarios you may face in a foreign country where you don't speak the language, how you will communicate with your child and understand what they need in those first few harrowing hours and days, all of the great things your family are going to experience together, how much love you have to give to your new child, how their sibling is just as excited as mum and dad about their new sister/brother. This may be your first child or a second or third or more.

This particular family were to be greeted by a situation which no adoptive, or even bio parent, wishes to have happen to them. It makes me wonder how these sorts of scenarios can actually occur. The surprise special needs are often picked up by the A-parents who have just met the child and most parents are not medically trained. The needs seem to be identified by traits and behaviours easily spotted. On visiting the local Thai doctors, in this case, the needs were also easily identified by the medical profession there in the child's own home country so it doesn't seem that this is something that westerners have any special insight into.

Often accompanying the referral of the child is a medical document, whether in Thai or English, that parents can give to their own pediatrician in their home country for their interpretation. It seems that these special needs then were not reported on the medical docs at referral either.

It's baffling to me. I can't even begin to understand why it happens and how it affects any children left behind.