Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Adoption Series

Nothing new here. It's the March series on adopting the boys, collected in one place in order to put it on the sidebar. Includes an excerpt from each one.

Part One

Riding on an ancient train, with all instructions written in faded Romanian, Hungarian, Russian, French, and Italian, overnight across areas of Romania I had not been before, sleeping poorly, up many times in the night to have a cigarette and look out into the dark. We would stop at occasional stations, islands of dim light with signs in a strange language, all looking like some black-and-white spy film from the 1950’s. Much of Romania still looked like the 1950’s then. For good reason. Tracy slept fitfully in the lower bunk. I don’t remember what I thought about, other than the odd, depersonalised observation of ourselves, as if looking down on the train from the sky: Here are two American people riding in the night through an almost-forbidden country, out to pick up two teenage Romanian boys who barely know us, to take them away from everything they know. Yes, it does have a certain romantic atmosphere to it when I describe it like that, but like Sam and Frodo, one finds that adventures look quite different to the people in them...

Part Two

Ben was almost 17 while we were discussing adopting in two from Romania. We had asked him to think about what his opinion was on that, as he would be greatly affected as well. Three months later he announces, out of the blue, "About adopting those kids? I think we should do that." Nothing more. Okay, then. Thanks, son...

Part Three

I first went to Romania - Transylvania, actually, that NW third of Romania which has often been separate from the other two parts - in February 1998. We landed at the old airport in Budapest, Hungary, and the more experienced members of my team marveled at how few soldiers with machine guns were patrolling the lobby. I thought there were quite a lot, myself. The whole place was populated by grim, defeated-looking Hungarians in battered and shapeless clothes. These, I was told, were the cheeriest people in Eastern Europe, except maybe the Poles, and I would find the Romanians much less friendly and generally more oppressed. This turned out to be true, but I was only able to perceive comparative Hungarian lightheartedness on my return...

Part Four

I looked at the group. Huh. These kids need parents. You know how to do that. Huh. I called Tracy, still a dollar a minute in those days, and talked for half an hour. This team traveled more widely for our village medical clinics, and I had lots of time to think while bouncing in battered Dacias or the old Vanagon. I was sick for two days and stayed away from others. The second week I kept looking at the kids and thinking Could you be my child? Are you supposed to come home with me? I tried each of them on, so to speak...

Part Five

So flying to Budapest, renting a car, and going to see the boys as their father for the first time was a great adventure. People at work asked if I was nervous about seeing the boys, which seemed a bizarre question to me. I was worried that they would be nervous, apprehensive, suspicious, uncertain, or any number of uncomfortable feelings along with the positive excitement. But I was fine. Couldn’t be better...

Part Six

The final adoption approval in Romania was scheduled for Friday, May 11. Three days after John-Adrian's 16th birthday. Somehow our agency in-country got that moved up, just to make sure. There was something about some relative(s) signing off, perhaps their aunt and uncle. Which in both cases, may imply bribery of someone, somewhere...

Adoption Photos

Return To Romania

In the summer of 2005 we all went to Romania. Chris and John-Adrian went back; Tracy and I went again; Ben, Jonathan, and Heidi went for the first time. This was just before I started this blog, so I haven't written about it much...


No comments: