Brian, Ashley, and Lane Middleton
Christine with her family
“If there is anything I learned while growing as an adoptive parent is that it is not about me and my experiences.
All my children were adopted from Kolkata, India. Leo Rajan came in October 1987 at 4 months, Annie Shanti came in February 1991 at 13 months and Peter Ramesh came in April 1995 at 6 months. I had one disastrous pregnancy that ended with a second-trimester termination for health reasons, and we decided not to push our luck any further. We had long hoped to add to our family by adoption after birthing a couple of children, so it seemed only natural to turn right away to plan "B" and adopt all of our kids.
If there is anything I learned while growing as an adoptive parent is that it is not about me and my experiences. It is entirely about my kids, and their experience of life as international adoptees who have lost all connection with the birth families and will never know where they came from.
For me, adoption has been a "high" from the very beginning. When we were adopting, the process was fairly efficient, at least from Kolkata. Each of my adoptions took 13 months from start to finish. My children were young and healthy when they came home, and they bonded instantly. All of my kids needed early intervention and special education services for developmental delays and learning disabilities and we chose where to live based on the generosity of school districts with special services. They received exemplary service and both of the boys stayed in special education right through to high school graduation. My daughter "outgrew" her need for services after 9th grade.
At times, our family life WAS difficult, but it was also normal, or at least normal for us. We were never in denial about our kids' challenges and got them the help they needed from the very beginning. We got ourselves help too. We benefited hugely from counselling and support groups. We revelled in the way our children were able to overcome so many obstacles and make the most of their abilities. We were happy. They were happy. The oldest two are now 31 and 28, and they are happy adults.
When I think about the highs and lows in my adoption journey, it is the highs that are the most memorable. I've touched on many of them here. My life as a mother has been incredibly fulfilling. On the other hand, dealing with my younger son's (genetic) mental illness and facing the reality of his early death were the very hardest things I have ever had to face in life. I suppose these issues are partly adoption-related, because incest is a not uncommon reason for relinquishing a child for adoption, and incest often leads to life-threatening mutations. At the same time, many biological parents face mental and physical health issues in their children, as well as illness and even early death. To me, this is the stuff of humanity. Even knowing what I know now, I would gladly adopt each of my children again, a hundred times over.” (Massachusetts, USA).
Christine is now living in Massachusetts, USA with her family. Her hobbies are camping and travelling. She also has a keen interest in genetic genealogy.
Christine has shared her son, Peter's, story with us too. Read it here.