Personal Stories: A Mother's Story
I have been a single parent of a wonderful son for 13 years. I always dreamed of adopting a daughter and began the process of adoption a year ago. Because I was requesting an “older child” of five or six, I was enrolled in a special program through my agency for children who may be considered “unadoptable. I conducted an exhaustive research into the issue of adopting “older” children including attachment disorders and the potential for learning issues.
I received a referral of a four year old beautiful little red head who looked right at ME from the photograph. I fell immediately in love. Then came “the news.” She was in the special program because she was diagnosed with chronic hepatitis B. I asked my agency caseworker what – exactly – was hepatitis B? She was unable to give much clarity to the situation, so I began another exhaustive research into this disease with which I was only very vaguely familiar.
An Internet search led me to many websites and stories that, quite frankly, scared me and dissuaded me from considering becoming this child’s Mommy. But, then, I found the Hepatitis B Foundation. I wrote a frantic e-mail with questions and concerns, which was answered in less than 24 hours with a phone call from the HBF staff. In soothing tones backed by facts and statistics, I was led through the ins-and-outs of hepatitis B.
Bottom line: I proceeded with the adoption based on the knowledge that the Hepatitis B Foundation armed me with and I THANK YOU! My daughter is strong, healthy, loving, and a true blessing to my son and me. She has been evaluated by the pediatrician and is scheduled for her first pediatric hepatologist (liver specialist) appointment. Based on the foundation’s advice, I had my son’s blood tested to make sure his hepatitis B vaccine worked, and I also received the vaccination series myself. In fact, my three sisters also received the vaccinations!
Am I scared? Yes. But I now know what exactly to be scared of and am confident that I can handle it. (That is, except for the stuff in the coming years inherent in raising a teenage girl!)
Potential adoptive parents hear it over and over, “Adoption is a leap of faith.” Children may enter our families with various challenges, learning issues, attachment concerns. So adoptive parents sometimes have to just close their eyes, open their hearts, and leap.
I took that leap and adopted a PERFECT little girl who just happens to have chronic hepatitis B. And I wouldn’t trade her for anything!!
To the Hepatitis B Foundation, please accept my sincerest gratitude for the resources you shared, the guidance you gave, and for helping me to accept the referral of my beautiful and loved daughter!
A Grateful Mom