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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Guest column - Rolling's family (Birth family search) - Part II

What is the status of your relationship with the birth family now?

We continue to be in close communication with our children's birth mother (her husband died recently) and we will be traveling to visit the family again in two months time. We have booked accommodation that allows us to spend several days living together with our children's first mother and their little brothers and sisters.

Our relationship with our family in India is of utmost importance to all of us, and we will ensure it continues. Our children feel loved and supported by both their families, and it has been an incredibly enriching relationship for everyone.

Akil and kids

What challenges do you (as an adoptive mother) see now as "Challenges after a successful birth family search"?

One of the challenges is that it is very easy to focus on the "reunion" in the same was as it is easy to concentrate on the moment of bringing home your child when you are adopting. In both cases, however, it is just the start of a new journey in life. Our children's reunion with their first mother has been the start of a whole new way of looking at our family, as we all now feel very strongly that our children's Indian family is a part of our family.

This has also affected our other children, both biological and adopted. We have not been able to offer the opportunity for a reunion, or even any more information, for our sons who were adopted from Nagpur. We have had to remain conscious of the reactions and emotions of our other children to our youngest children's reunion. They have all been very positive, even though we are unable to provide them with the same opportunities. I believe that the warm relationship we have had with our family in India is due to the goodwill on the part of both of our families, and also to the invaluable assistance of my friend who continues to act as a linguistic and cultural mediator. Without her help this would not have been possible.

Akil plays big brother

What is your advice to any adoptive family that may be insecure about birth family search?

I would encourage other adoptive parents to be confident in their parenting and not to be worried at all about losing their child's affection to their birth parents. Love does not come in finite quantities. Bringing more children into our family has not diminished my love for all my children. In a similar way, my children's love for me and my husband has not been lessened at all by them also loving another mother. I believe the key factor is that neither Sunama nor me feel a need for our children to love us exclusively, and neither of us is jealous of the other. I expected that I would feel jealous when I saw my children in the arms of their birth mother but it simply didn't happen. We had the choice of having the children pulled between their birth and adoptive families, or having them loved and nurtured by both families supporting each other.

Julia and little Zeenath

Would you be interested to be a resource person to any reader that might like to communicate with you over an email?

Yes, I would be happy to chat with parents who would like to explore this further. I am visiting Chennai in the November so may be there could be an opportunity to get together to discuss our experiences with other adoptive families. (Please write to indiahopehouse@gmail.com to get Julia’s email address.)

The following are comments offered by Julia’s two children...

"Everything was good about our reunion. I was nervous at first to see my family in India but then I felt happy when we spent time with them. They are part of our family. I love my two families the same because they are both part of my life." Sabila, aged 13 years old.

"I feel happy to be in touch with them and I hope we are able to spend more time with them. They are really nice people and I enjoy spending time with them. I love the family I live with now the most because I've spent most of my life with this family but I still care about my family in India a lot." Akil, 15 years old.

Julia had authored a book titled “Love Our Way” and it can be viewed at this link

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