Chris & Eileen’s Story
We had a nice home, a large backyard and a dog named “Reilly.” But we knew something was missing. We had always dreamed of having children.
When we had problems conceiving, we did not give up hope. We turned to infertility experts. After nearly two years of unsuccessful infertility treatments, we decided that we did not want to wait any longer to have children and turned to adoption. It was such a huge relief to finally come to the decision to adopt.
We shared our excitement about our adoption plans with family and one of them referred us to St. Mary’s Services. After meeting with an adoption counselor at the agency, we felt really comfortable and liked the personalized attention.
We completed the formal application, orientation meeting and home study process with St. Mary’s. The counselors were great to work with. They expedited all the paperwork, and kept a warm, friendly demeanor. Most of what we had to worry about was how to arrange the nursery.
When it came to the ethnicity of the child it was not an issue. We just knew we wanted a baby and didn’t care what he or she looked like. While filling out the paperwork for St. Mary’s we talked at length about whether or not we felt we could parent a child of a different race. We knew there would be added challenges involved, but, ultimately, we decided we were comfortable with the idea. St. Mary’s requires all families to attend trainings on transracial adoptions in preparation for the special considerations and issues involved in these types of adoptions.
Within months we got a phone call saying that our daughter had arrived! We named her Sarah. From the moment we saw her we bonded. It’s difficult to describe. We just knew she was our daughter.
A few years later, we returned to St. Mary’s to expand our family. With our second adoption, we wanted an African-American child because we felt it was important for Sarah to have siblings who looked like her. Now we also are parents to twins Brendan and Kayla.
We waited about a year for the twins, which was more difficult. The first time we adopted everything was such a blur. The second time around we anticipated a lot and it took longer, but it was worth it in the end.
We value exposing our children to the African-American culture. Every month we attend a “Crossing the Color Line” support group, which prepares transracial families for challenges that they might experience. The children also attend the “Hands Around the World Camp,” which is a one-week camp held each July for families touched by adoption.
We see most major challenges coming in the future when our kids are in school. For families looking to adopt transracially, our advice is not to be afraid. Sometimes we worry about issues our kids will face because not only are they adopted, but they look different from their parents. It is important for adoptive parents to be prepared to expose their children to their respective culture and step outside of their comfort zone. Kids are kids regardless of what color they are.