Adoption is a family event—from the time a decision to adopt is made, through the sometimes long and arduous process, to the welcoming of the child into the family both formally and informally. The support and acceptance of family and friends is essential. In some ways, more support is needed than in a conventional pregnancy.
Adoption forces all who are involved to examine closely their views on raising children, family connections, and the support system of friends who will interact with the child. In an adoption process, you actually have to put these things in writing. Most blood relatives never do that. If adopting, you have to consider whether and how your family will accept the child and treat it as any other child in the family. Adoption makes grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and close family friends take a good look at themselves and how much they can open their hearts.
In many ways, I have felt that Catalina is an even more unique gift because of all that we went through to find her and bring her into the circle of love that her parents created for her.
Known for her expertise on family issues, Amy Goyer heads the AARP Foundation’s Grandparenting Program.