November is National Adoption Month and a traveler’s tale

Only today and tomorrow are left in National Adoption Month. If it weren’t for traveling, perhaps I wouldn’t have a reason to notice this detail. On my first trip to Vietnam with my husband back in the mid-90’s, we met two couples who were in the process of adopting a baby. One couple was French. I can’t remember where the other couple was from.

Every day they left the hotel where we were all staying to fill out paperwork–or take care of whatever details they had to finish in order to be able to take their babies out of Vietnam.

As a person who always wanted to adopt, there was a small seed planted the first time I saw the French mother lean over her baby and tuck a blanket around the sleeping form. My husband had the same seed start to grow as well.

Two years later, there we were heading to Vietnam again to see about finding our own child. This was a vague plan since we were living in Singapore at the time and weren’t quite sure what we were doing.

When we we first saw our daughter, it was the middle of December more than a dozen years ago. Seven months later, she became part of our family. Believe me, the story is a bit longer than that. Since that time we’ve been back to Vietnam many times and have had our world expand far more than we could have imagined.

Anyone who has spent time at an American or international school knows that ours is not an unusual story. Many people who live overseas adopt children. Perhaps this is because once families know several people who have adopted, adoption seems like a feasible endeavor. I don’t know if this is true, it’s just a thought.

The combinations of families I knew ranged from a single woman who adopted two children, to a family with several birth children who wanted to expand, to a couple with a high school-age son who was blessed with the addition of a young toddler-aged daughter. Each of these families were fantastic and the children have thrived. If it weren’t for my husband’s and my traveling ways, we wouldn’t have met any of them–and we wouldn’t have our own bundle of joy who is now 16. For any of you with teenagers, you know how that goes. Seriously, she’s a gem. Seriously. No, seriously.

For information about adoption, the National Adoption Center Web site might be a place to start.