Adoption - The Greatest Gift
An Interview with author Betsy Buckley
Buckley adopted two children from Guatemala and is the author of The
Greatest Gift" The Greatest Gift is an engaging collection of
of adoption stories and personal anecdotes. It provides a friendly introduction
to different routes of creating an adoptive family.
Interview By Allison Martin
What was the inspiration for your book, The Greatest Gift?
Betsy Buckley: The first reason for writing my book was to remember all my feelings. It was also begun as the ultimate baby book. Since I did not travel to Guatemala to pick up our infant son with my husband, I also wanted to make sure that experience was documented. Then, once that was accomplished, I realized that I still had a deep desire to learn about and connect with other people who were considering adoption or those that had adopted. I still had some concerns about society and development, and I also wanted to scream with joy, "We adopted a son!"
What advice do you have for those thinking about adopting?
Betsy Buckley: That's one of the questions I asked the individuals whom I interviewed for my book. Now that our son is 7, I feel like I have a broader base to answer this than I would have had I been asked 6 years ago. My advice to those just starting out is to become as familiar as you possibly can with adoption, adoption agencies and attorneys by talking with friends who've adopted, linking to Internet sites such as this one and the hundreds of others now available. Attend adoption seminars and meetings. They are held all over the U.S. and hopefully, in other countries as well. Do your homework. Talk to social workers. Do not believe that love alone will "cure" a child that may have a developmental problem. Be prepared. Just as you wouldn't enter into a marriage blindly, you wouldn't enter into this major life change blindly either. If you're planning to adopt outside your own ethnicity, think about adopting at least 2 children of the same race. Many adoptive families don't do this and it works for them, but within our own family, we now have 2 Guatemalan-born children and they have formed their own much needed support group. It's so important that the emotional health of a child is addressed in the best possible terms. Don't let the rumors of adoption costs scare you. Some agencies have sliding fee scales, there are state and national financial and tax credits in the U.S. Keep looking. Be open to a child of another race, or a special needs child. Be flexible. After you've done your information gathering, follow your heart and intuition. Don't give up. Our lives are so rich now. It has been a wonderful journey for us.
What factors are important for prospective parents when choosing an agency or facilitator?
Betsy Buckley: Personal recommendations from families who have adopted successfully are always a good place to start. If you don't know any families but have web access, begin here on the Comeunity website. There are hundreds of adoption related adoption chat groups. A social worker who shares his expertise in my book recommends checking with your better business bureau if you have one in your state or country, to check on their financial history. Learn to trust your intuition. If something seems wrong, it probably is.
What have you learned from writing "The Greatest Gift"?
Betsy Buckley: I learned that adoptive families have reason to celebrate! I learned that adoption is viewed and spoken about much differently than it was thirty, twenty, even ten years ago. Although, sadly I also became aware that there are societal obstacles still to overcome. Some of them are within our educational systems. That's why I'm working on book number 2. I also am learning that children are teachers. We should listen to them. If they want to visit the country of their birth--take them there. If they want to get to know their birth mother and father, honor their feelings of self and heritage. I learned to grow as a person beyond the confines of being a Caucasian woman. During these last 7 years, I learned and really lived that we are all the same and yet we are different. We all want love and can offer love, yet love comes in all sizes, shapes, and colors.
Betsy Buckley can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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