ADOPTION STORIES : My Greatest Pride

Submitted by : Julie Thibodeau

Me and my husband Shawn, we decided that adopt was our plan since a long time ... even at the beginning the 1st year that we were together it's something that we always discussed, we knew that at some point we were going to adopt in our life. We have been in the Campbellton area for 4 years… It has been 12 years since we adopted our children, they are currently 12 and 15 years old.

From a young age I knew I wanted to adopt, it was a personal choice that I wanted from a young age. I chose to adopt because I always told myself that there were children in the world who were looking for a family, and my crush from a young age has always been Africa, so that's why we have opted to adopt internationally from Ethiopia.

At first we weren't sure where to align with the processes… We contacted friends who had been through the international process and we did the Pride course. Although it was not mandatory at the time, we really wanted to be the most ready for international adoption. We are happy with it because it prepared us well to receive our children. Once the process has started it's going relatively well, it is sure that the wait is a bit long (we waited 2 years) it was really worth the effort it's a great experience and I recommend it to everyone because it there are so many children in the world looking for families.

We have no relationship with the biological family, with the international it was not an option. But we share with our children all that we received as information and we have always been very open with what we knew about their past and for us it is something that has always been important to be transparent with them and they can ask us any questions. For us it is very important where they come from, their root and culture we incorporate it in our everyday life. When we were in Ethiopia we ‘bought a lot of decoration and traditional things that decorate our house and gifts. They have 2 birthday, their biological birthday and their "gotcha day" the day that we became a family and our children forever. These days we always have a traditional meal, we prepare the table in the traditional way and we prepare a meal (which takes a few days to prepare but it's a big event) when we were in Ethiopia we bought about twenty gifts for every child they were given on their birthday. We also have in the greater Moncton area, a group of about 30 families who have adopted from different countries: Haiti, Ethiopia, Guinea and many others, we meet once a year. It's fun to see children who have been adopted internationally grow up, it makes connections. It makes them mutual friends who have been through the same things, it becomes lifelong friends and it's like their 2nd family it's very important to them.

The biggest challenge was at the start of our adoption, my little one was sick and my 4.5 year old daughter spoke another language… We had to communicate with a sign language game to understand each other, but she learned quite quickly her second language (French).

My greatest pride is to be an adoptive mother ... it was my dream from a young age, my greatest pride is my children, of what they have become and of their roots, where they come and that makes them children’s who appreciate a lot and also who love life.