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This Is What Adoption Feels Like


"To help get the boys ready, we made a video of ourselves showing them our home and things like the table where we'd eat — with places set for them. Then we spent a week in Missouri getting to know them. They'd been with their foster mom for three years; even though she'd prepared them well, their first year with us wasn't easy. Greg had a breakdown in a restaurant, crying that we'd stolen him. It took Eric longer to show his grief, but he was processing a lot of pain, too. We loved the idea of our kids even before we were matched with them, but loving the reality of your children — that's a process, one that's both wonderful and hard.

"I found out I was pregnant again 18 months after the boys came home. When Caden was born, he was all of ours — the first member of our family that we all had from the very beginning.

"We've worked hard to establish relationships with the boys' birth parents. Their birth dad is in prison, and over the years, we've worked our way from letters to phone calls with him. It's hard to have kids deal with serious grown-up issues, but it also helps them to understand why they were removed from their environment and love the reality of who their birth family is, not the fantasy of who they'd like them to be.

"We want our kids to grow up with a strong sense of self and racial pride, so we switched to a church with an African-Canadian pastor and a multicultural congregation. And every year, we go to the Harambe Festival Camp, a weeklong camp for families with children of African heritage — the kids love it. Fortunately, we live in an area that's racially integrated, but sometimes there are inappropriate questions, like, 'Are they really brothers?' My answer is, 'All four of our boys are really brothers.'"

Redbook Adoption Asian Girl

Scott and Karen Petty, both 33, live in North Carolina. They adopted their 2-year-old daughter, Gwen, from Jiangxi Province in southern China in September 2005. Karen, a stay-at-home mom, is a freelance copywriter; Scott is a marketing manager for a swimming pool company.

"One day, Scott walked through the door and said, 'What do you think about adopting from China?' We'd been trying to get pregnant for years and endured a difficult year of infertility treatments, and we had finally started discussing adoption. Then Scott went on a business trip to China and spent the flight home sitting next to a family that was bringing home their adopted daughter. It just felt right to him, and as soon as he suggested it, it was one of those 'aha!' moments for me, too. Ten days later we signed with our agency.

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