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Tropico Perspective: Giving ourselves a present

December 01, 2010|By Michael Teahan

We spent New Year's Eve two years ago in Dubai en route to Ethiopia to meet our son for the first time. Thanksgiving this year was a grilled turkey sandwich in the Dubai airport making the same trek, this time to pick up our little girl. While not the most typical of celebrations, these particular holidays are now part of a much larger story.

Whenever our adoption comes up in conversation, which usually begins with "what did you do for the holidays?" I am always intrigued by where it leads. People will see us a little differently, often in a positive light, but how they see themselves changes a little too. This is because for many people, they begin to wonder if this is something that they could do.

The short answer is "yes," but nothing says you have to.

How anyone comes to the decision to put their family together is different, including not doing it at all. One of the things you learn from this process is you can't judge the decisions anyone makes. But I can tell you that the process isn't any more difficult than having a baby the old-fashioned way.


Which is why I have found the declaration that this is something extraordinary, something that they could never do, to be the most interesting. While bringing a child into your home is a pretty miraculous thing, it isn't as difficult as learning a language, or getting a home loan in this down market.

There were perhaps nine families with us on this trip, and we were remarkable in how average we are. Some had never had a passport before, while others were world travelers. Some were young and starting their families through adoption, and others were building an international soccer team.

With the possible exception of the new parent of an overly active 3-year-old boy, I think we are all doing pretty well. Having been there myself, I know that she will be just fine — in a couple of years.

There are few families that can simply write a check to get this process going, yet many have saved, begged, borrowed and stolen to get here. What you would see in the living room of the care center, though, is just a group a parents playing with their kids. Ordinary people can do extraordinary things in pursuit of the simple human act of building a family.

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