Today Lisa chats to us about how her family has grown through adoption. Thanks for sharing your story, Lisa (and for the gorgeous pics of little Liya)!
Tell us a bit about your family.
We’re the Cassons and we adopted our first child and daughter, Liya, in 2013 and recently brought home a baby boy, Tobi, who we’re in the process of adopting. My husband and I have our own business which allows me to be very hands on with the kids.
Did you always know that you wanted to adopt?
It was in my heart from a very young age. At the first signs of battling to fall pregnant, adoption was always on my mind, but we had a few things to work through.
Did you use an agency or did you go through Child Welfare? What would you recommend?
We used the most amazing social worker ever (Susan Wasserman – quite a popular lady too). We met our daughter 2 days after we saw her and brought her home 2 weeks later. Our son we met the same day! Our whole process has been super smooth and easy.
What was the hardest part of the process?
Bonding with my daughter – she was a bit older (11 months) and I really battled to make a strong bond with her at first. She was also our first child, so we didn’t know what we were doing, and as a typical toddler she didn’t really want to be cuddled. The second time round was much easier (as it is with all second children I guess) but I personally bonded with a baby more easily.
What was your first night together as a family like?
It was incredible. Liya was obviously so amazed with the new faces and environment, and the quiet room I guess, she fell asleep with ease at 7pm. She didn’t stir until 7am the next morning (we checked numerous times that she was breathing), and she’s been the same ever since.
What is your funniest adoption-related family story?
I’m not sure if it’s funny or offensive, but in the early days of just having brought Liya home, we were out at a restaurant and a young black gentleman was telling my daughter he was ‘gonna take her back to the hood’ ?! We got a lot of comments in the beginning, but it has greatly subsided since.
Do you celebrate ‘adoption day’ with any traditions?
Not really. We keep a record of the special dates (first meeting, bringing home etc.) and I’m sure we’ll make a big deal about it when they’re older.
Advice for the screening process?
Don’t stress too much about it… I think it’s overrated. I find the agencies make you jump through hoops (sometimes understandably) however a lot of the things are not law (like age limitations). If you are not happy with your agency/social worker, find someone else who is passionate about finding kids a home over what your age or salary is.
How can friends and family best support those adopting?
My family and friends treated it the same as an new family member. They threw me a baby shower, visited and supported our family emotionally. It has been such a blessing.
Top tip for doing life as a rainbow nation family?
Take everything – comments, looks and even racist remarks – in your stride. They are not worth getting upset about, and they will be there for the rest of your lives. Rather enjoy your family and your moments without caring how other people see you (good and bad).