It Takes a Village

“The child who is not embraced by the village will burn it down to feel its warmth.”

– African proverb

You know how they say that it takes a village to raise a child? It also takes a village to adopt a child! The older I have gotten, the more I have come to appreciate every person who was involved in the process to help my parents adopt me.

Once the decision was made to adopt me, there was so much to do. Paperwork had to be done, meetings had to be attended, and visits had to be made. People who supported my parents’ decision had to be found so that personal referrals could be written, amongst a long list of qualifications to check off the list. And that was aside from my Mom and Dad having to work full-time jobs, and care for their home and their other two kids. Keep in mind, I was still quite ill and fragile. Being close to 2 months premature, I had some major struggles in the beginning. This all added up to everyone having their hands full.

I would like to say those written referrals were filling up my parent’s mailbox every day, but from what I gather, that wasn’t exactly the case, all around. A lot of people knew my Mum had lost two other babies. I think they probably wanted to save my parents from further heartache. But where there was a will, there certainly was a way! And they worked hard to get all their ‘t”s crosses and their ‘i”s dotted. They checked off everything on their lists, and then they waited.

At some point the call came that they had been waiting for. They were approved. It was official! It was time to put a plan into place to bring me home. I was theirs. And they were mine.

I remember when I was in my thirties, my Mum came upon some handwritten notes about me. They had come from the transition care home I went to before my parents legally became, well, my parents! I remember my hands shook as I felt the paper between my fingers and tried to read the faded pencil markings. I don’t know why, but this amazed me more than anything until that point in time in this journey. It wasn’t the content, as that was really quite benign. It had my daily feedings listed, positions I liked to sleep in, and comments about my temperament. I apparently was a happy baby, for the most part. I realize now that the shock came in having tangible proof that I was cared for by so many people behind the scenes. Each person had a role. The magnitude of that wasn’t lost on me. Because without all those pieces, my puzzle would have never been put together. And I am forever grateful to all of those people.

This past week, more than anytime in my whole life, I have thought long and hard about all the choices that have been made along the way. All those forks in the road, whereupon, if another direction was chosen, my life would have become something entirely different.

– Jolene

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