From the Desk of Liz: The Rollercoaster Ride of International Adoption from the United States

Liz Gifford

An analogy of creating a family through international adoption from the United States is being on a roller coaster ride. The anxiety of waiting for the ride to begin (the homestudy and approval process) the excitement and anticipation as you sit in your designated car (waiting for a match) and the thrill once the roller coaster starts and takes you at neck breaking speed around the curves and up and downs of the track (being informed of a match) and exhilaration of surviving the ride and arriving at the planned destination - the end of the ride (being placed with a baby).

This ride is not always predictable and the riders do not know when the ride will stop or if they will become suspended upside down. When a birthmother has a change of heart – prospective adoptive parents can feel they are in limbo with no way out. They have no control of the roller coaster ride – they are trapped in without a known outcome.

One of our waiting couples with the U.S. recently experienced a change of heart and is dealing with the loss of their desire to be parents not materializing. They are more than ready to be parents and they were so hopeful their dream would become a reality. In talking with this couple I was struck by their grace and humility in dealing with this turn in their adoption journey and compassion for the birthparents who decided to parent. Yes they are suspended upside down but know they need to remain this way - as their desire to be parents cannot be accomplished if they get out. Their seatbelts are securely fastened, their hands are firmly grasping the handle rail, determination, trepidation, and hope imprinted on their faces as they prepare themselves for the roller coaster to start moving again; this time with the hoped arrival of their dreamed destination of parenthood.

Liz Gifford   BSW RSW
Liz has been working for Adoption Options for almost 25 years,
and as International Program Director since 2008