Tuesday, February 17th, 2009
The social worker greeted us with two kisses at the front door and showed us to her office. We sat down, folded our coats on our laps and watched as she shuffled through our paperwork before placing three pages on the desk in front of her. She studied the pages for a moment, then leaned back in her chair and smiled.
“Now, tell me, why do you want to adopt a child from another country?” she asked.
April and I looked at each other.
“Well,” I said, starting in, “we know there are lots of kids that don’t have families, and we are willing to be their family.”
“Kelly, stop right there,” the social worker said, and held up her hand.
She turned over one of the pages sitting in front of her and picked up a pen. She looked me in the eyes.
“We need to get a few things straight,” she said.
She drew a large triangle in the middle of the page. Inside the triangle at the bottom she wrote in capital letters, EXTENDED FAMILY.
“Most children who cannot be cared for by their parents live with a close relative,” she said.
She drew a line above EXTENDED FAMILY and above that line wrote down FOSTER CARE.
“In the rare case that a child is not able to live with a close relative, he is cared for by a foster family in his country.”
She drew another line and wrote down CARE FACILITY.
“If a foster family cannot be found for the child, usually because he is an older child or has a disability that requires more attention than a foster family can provide, he is put in a care facility.”
“As you can see,” the social worker said, tapping her pen at the top of the triangle, “each category is much smaller than the one that came before it.”
She drew another line and wrote down INDEPENDENT.
“A very small number of these children are simply old enough that they live on their own independently.”
The social worker bent over the page and carefully filled in the tip of the triangle, not much bigger than the size of a fingernail. There wasn’t enough room to write, so she drew an arrow and wrote the last category next to the triangle, INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION.
“According to the information you’ve given me already,” the social worker said, looking down at the papers sitting in front of her, “you want to adopt a young, healthy child from another country.”
“There are more families like you that want to adopt these children than there are children available for adoption.”
The social worker set down her pen, looked at me, and waited.
I didn’t say anything.
“Did you know that?” she asked.
I looked at April and shook my head.
For the rest of our adoption story, take a look at our Guide to International Adoption in Spain…
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