Friday, November 6, 2009

Kali's Blog review

Kali's Blog,
November 2, 2009

Answering the Call
by Kali Van Baale

November is National Adoption Awareness Month and November 21 is National Adoption Day—a campaign to raise awareness about the thousands of children, youth and pets waiting in foster care, orphanages around the world, and shelters for permanent loving families. A campaign particularly near and dear to my heart. We are a family who answered the call two years ago when my husband and I adopted our daughter, Gauri, from India.

I’m often asked what made us decide to adopt, and moreover, adopt internationally. I never feel like I’ve got a straight, easy answer. Every family’s decision and journey to adoption is different. Ours was certainly filled with plenty of twists and turns. The summer of 2005, with two healthy biological boys, my husband and I decided to try for a third. Boy or girl, we didn’t care. We just knew we wanted one more to properly fill out the craziness of our household.

Alas, heartbreak and disappointment abounded with two miscarriages, my third overall. It was an agonizing decision, but I couldn’t go through it again. I was done trying. We’d be a family of four. Only…we didn’t feel like a family of four. It was a nagging sense, like an unfinished sentence about our lives. After a time, my husband and I started to talk about how, in the early days of our marriage, we’d both mentioned how much we’d like to adopt a child. I generally don’t like to discuss our three lost babies, but I did, in that moment, have a strange sense that maybe we’d suffered those losses in order to find the child we were meant to have, wherever he or she was.

We quickly settled on international adoption, attracted to the idea of bringing another culture into our family, and simply followed our gut when we chose India. A year later, we had a referral for a little girl in an orphanage in Pune, a city where my husband’s company just happened to have an office. And this little girl just so happened to have the name Gauri—as in Goddess Gauri—a nurturing form of the Goddess Kali. And if that weren’t enough, it just so happened that our Gauri was born July 16, 2005, five days before I lost the second baby, and she was relinquished by her birth mother in mid-September, five days before I lost the third baby. This wasn’t answering a call; it was practically a shovel whack over our heads. And here we are, two years later. As a writer, I sometimes can’t find the words to express what adopting Gauri has been like. Wonderful. Amazing. Frustrating. Fun. Hard. Scary.

But…oh, so worth it.

In the spirit of National Adoption Month, I recently read two really sweet books about adoption. The first, Red in the Flower Bed: An Illustrated Children’s Story About Interracial Adoption by Andrea Nepa, is a beautifully illustrated picture book about a seed that drops from a poppy flower onto ground too hard for it to grow. Soon the wind and change of seasons carries the seed to a garden where it is planted and soon blooms into a brilliant red poppy—the missing color to finally complete the garden family’s rainbow. (Short intermission as I dab my eyes.) The poetry of Red in the Flower Bed is simple but charming, and an easy way to introduce the concept of family diversity to a little one. An added bonus—a portion of each sale benefits Paul’s Kids Vietnam Children’s Charity.

So here’s three cheers for National Adoption Month—whether you’re in the process of doing it, have done it, are thinking about it, or just plain think it’s great!

"I got more children than I can rightly take care of, but I ain’t got more than I can love."
–Ossie Guffy

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