My personal international adoption story
16 months after my first phone call I was holding my future child in my arms!
I first thought about adoption about 12 years ago, when I knew that I would not be able to conceive. However, at that time I was told I was 'too old' to adopt as I was approaching 35, and 'unsuitable' as I was single. Like many people I was put off at the first call. Several years later, when in a stable relationship I was convinced to try the IVF route, after three failures I decided that it was not to be and it was time to get on with my life. I had always wanted to make documentaries and I put my heart into in. When doing some research into Russia for a film, I was shocked to discover about the situation of the orphans there.
I looked more and more into it and realised that my interest was something other than academic. Here I was in a lovely home, just me, and there are all these hundreds of thousands of children without homes. Another call to the social services informed me that the age criteria had changed, as to the marriage status, but as my father was Dutch I could only be matched with a half Dutch child in this country. Now there are 65000 children in care in the UK but not one that is half Dutch!
Those Russian eyes were still haunting me, so after consultation with a few of my friends, I decided to take the leap. In December 2002 I again called the social services and this time I told them that I want to do an international adoption. After 3 weeks I had heard nothing, so I called them again and my home study started in Jan 2003. After approximately 8 visits my Home Study was complete and in June I went to panel. In July the panel decision was ratified and my papers sent to, at that time, the Department of Health. Three months later, I received a letter to say that they had received my application, and here is my country information - China! After correcting them, I received information about Russia but was told that my social services hadn't actually signed their form.... eventually 7 months later in January 2004, I received my Certificate of Eligibility and started to gather all my other papers for my Russian adoption. I flew out to St Petersburg that June and deposited my dossier. And then I waited for 'the call'.
In April 2005 I finally received a phone call to say that there was a child for me. To cut a long story short, I flew out again to Russia, met my beautiful son and became enchanted.
Now, the pressure was on, to bring him home. More papers were required for the court date and they were urgent, to get to the judge before she took her 2 month annual holiday. Needless to say, social services did not rise to the bait and delayed my documents. Finally, my court date was set for 1 November, the most wonderful day when I became a 'Mama' and we became a family. I had to wait 14 days until I could bring my boy out of the orphanage and another week, getting yet more documents, before we finally came home. Almost 3 years to the day.
The journey was tough, but I can honestly say it is the best thing that I have ever done.
Just looking at the joy on my son's happy face, and the happiness I feel in my heart, tells me that it was worth every single painful second!