by Rita Herd
Given the chance I would adopt another boy in a minute. Boys are happy in jeans and t-shirts. Boys don't mind washing cars. Boys like to drive mom to the store. My boys are blessings from heaven. I thank God and international adoption for my newest boy Tien who is perfectly boyishly wonderful."
The Wonder of Ikeby Julia Fleming
I have four children: three daughters and one son. People often ask me if having a son is different from having a daughter. My answer is always the same--not in the least! Now, I have heard people with one boy and one girl say that sons and daughters are different. But that is not my experience. I'm glad that I had my three girls first. It has allowed me to see Ike as an individual rather than a gender stereotype. Each of my girls is unlike the other two. I have one who cries at the thought of wearing a dress or anything 'pretty'and two who adore barbies, pink dresses, frills, glitter, sparkly shoes and long hair, One who curls up in a corner and reads at any opportunity, one who finds reading a struggle and one somewhere in the middle.. One who wants to have six children and one who wants none and one who is too young to express an opinion.. One who adores sports and is extremely athletic, one who has the same skills but doesn't like athletics and one who doesn't posess her sisters' abilities but tries harder than both.
Ike is no more different from his sisters than they are from each other. Yes, he tends to hurl food and toys but so did one of the girls. Yes, he hates to have his hair cut, but so do two of his sisters. Yes, he's loud, boisterous, messy and at times a little wild but so are all three girls! He is also the best dancer of the four children, the most cuddly and the quickest to laugh. In short, he is not defined by his gender but by himself. He is simply Ike.
The love I feel when I look at him is indescribable. He picked a flower for me and presented it to me with a kiss at 16 months. He smiles whenever he sees me. He wraps his arms around me, buries his head in the crook of my neck and holds on as tightly as he can. He looks up into my eyes with joy and I return the look.
Am I besotted with him? Absolutely! After all, he is my child.Return to top
The Wonder of a Little Boyby Wendy I. Barron
The first time I met my son,
The first time my son walked
Now this son of mine,
Oh, the wonder of this little boy!
Becoming Isaac's Momby Maxine Caswell
When Andy and I reached the point in our lives that we wanted a child, I spent many hours daydreaming of the little girl I was going to bear. In retrospect I am not certain what that was about, probably some selfish impulse to create a child in my own image or feeling I could relate better to a girl? Who knows, but that's what I thought about and if I bought a little something for the baby, such as a drinking cup, it would be pink!
Time went on and we decided to adopt, rather than waste our dwindling emotional resources on more infertility treatment. We decided on China as the most straightforward route to overseas adoption. The fantasy of a girl baby became ever greater: she had a name, a history and an incredible culture.
Suddenly our dreams came crashing down. Just as we felt we were moving forward, China imposed a moratorium on special needs adoptions. No one knew how this would be resolved and how long it might take.
So through a series of coincidences we finally decided to try and adopt from Vietnam. This was something only a handful of British people had done in recent years. After travelling to Vietnam to try and work out how we would do this, we came home thinking the only sensible way to proceed would be to use a U.S. agency.
In July of 1998, Andy tells me he has found this great internet user group: Adoptive Parents Vietnam. I hated the computer, didn't understand it. However, this was major motivation, so I started reading the list. I was hooked, whether the discussion was about bassinets and bulkhead seats, or the fascinating stories of the children who were at home in America, I absorbed every detail.
One evening, I saw a posting from a U.S. agency about an 11 month old infant boy, waiting for a family. I asked Andy what he thought and we agreed to respond - knowing that it was unlikely the agency would be interested in working with a British couple living in England.
The following day it seemed our dreams were about to be realised. We had a message from the agency: they were willing to try and work with us. Could it be real? Were we actually going to adopt this little boy called Thanh?
Within two months, we were on a plane to Ho Chi Minh City. We had received photos and even a very short video of Thanh - now to be known as Isaac. We were to spend the next two months in Vietnam: we visited Isaac every day at the children's home until we officially adopted him.
On the first day that little boy was placed in my arms, I loved him like nothing I could have imagined. He was helpless, fragile, passive and sad, so incredibly sad. I wanted to make that sadness go away. Within the first week of visiting him, he started to respond to our visits with excitement, demonstrated by a foot wiggle and a raspberry (his dad taught him the latter - probably a guy thing!). After a couple of hours he would fall fast asleep, exhausted by this strange new experience of intensive two-to-one care.
After six weeks, we had the Giving and Recieving ceremony. When we took Isaac back to the hotel he laughed and laughed. He did not seem to stop laughing for days. What a joy, what an incredible baby boy. Andy and I were intoxicated with the pleasure of loving this child.
Almost two years on, and Isaac continues to bring that incredible intensity of love into our lives on a daily basis. I can't indulge myself in buying the abundance of girl clothes that are so pretty but when the fantasy of having a child becomes a reality, it hits home that the gender of a child is irrelevant. To be a parent, to have the chance to experience something so magical, is what counts. And as adoptive parents, we never forget that our joy will be forever linked with the suffering of a mother who could not keep her child.
In the months since Isaac came home, I have learned that boys wait for adoption in Vietnam and other countries, while parents stay on waiting lists for girls. It distresses me greatly to know that this happens. Why people choose girls is a complex thing, my conscious reasons for my original'ideal child' may not be the only reasons I had. However, I do know that parents are not routinely given the facts surrounding 'gender selection' by their agencies, and that if they were things might be different.
As I write this, on the eve of our second adoption trip to Vietnam, I am thinking only of the wonderful child that is about to enter our lives. This time we are adopting independently, we will go to the children's home that gave us Isaac and we will hope to be blessed with our second son or first daughter.
How very lucky we are.
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