Sunday, November 22, 2009

My Best Thanksgiving Ever

Ten years ago this month, I was hoping to bring my daughter home. Six months earlier, I had started the process to adopt my daughter. I wasn't sure where she was, or what she looked like, but I had already spent countless hours assembling my adoption dossier, and dreaming of a baby girl in an orphanage somewhere in Russia.

It took another year of waiting, of re-doing paperwork, and lots of frustration. But at the end of October, 2000 I accepted the referral of an 18-month old little girl in an orphanage in the village of Karakastek, Kazakhstan.

Nine years ago tonight, I was in the city of Almaty, about 90 minutes by car from her village, but I had already visited three times. Nine years ago tonight I was spending my final night as a childless woman.

It was Thanksgiving Day! On November 23, 2000, I appeared in a freezing cold courtroom in a tiny village on the other side of the world, trying to convince a judge that he should allow me to take this precious little girl with me home to the US, to be her mother.

I've made many mistakes in my life, but I often say that adopting my daughter is the one thing I know I did right.

The process was long and involved, but it certainly didn't get any easier after bringing Alison home. Parenting is the toughest job I've ever had, but it's also the most rewarding.

People often comment to me that Alison was very lucky, and I have always respond that we both were. She is definitely my daughter; that was apparent almost immediately!

This Tuesday, November 24, Alison and I will celebrate our 9th "Forever Day." Many in the adoption community refer to the day the new parents take their child from the orphanage as their "gotcha" day. We prefer the more sentimental description, as it is the day we became mother and daughter, forever.

November also happens to be National Adoption Month, so I tend to do at least one adoption related show every year at this time.

I hope you'll tune in to Air America radio this Tuesday night, November 24, 11pm-1am ET, for a very special show. (Click here to listen live)

When I first made the decision to adopt internationally, I joined a few list-serves. (FRUA, EEAC are home to the two biggest.) Through those lists, I found a group of families who were using the same agency as me, and we formed our own little list.

It's now more than 10 years since we began the process, and I count this group among my closest friends, even though some of us have never even met in person! We went through the heartbreak of long waits and broken promises, the fear of making bad decisions, the joy of accepting referrals and traveling to meet and bring home our children.

We've supported each other through issues with our kids, deaths, divorces, surprise births and so much more...

Tuesday night, a few of these very dear friends will join me on Air America to tell their stories. Perhaps you'll be moved to find out if your child is out there somewhere waiting for you.

Click here to read my journal
, and please join us Tuesday night!


Daria said...

I will never forget following your journal all those years ago, anxiously awaiting updates, sobbing and smiling as I read them, and jumping for joy when you finally brought her home. What an incredible blessing for you...and your admiring fans.