Advice re: adoption from Ethiopia/transracial adoption - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 02-02-2009, 07:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi everyone!

My husband and I just officially submitted our application to adopt a child from Ethiopia.

Does anyone have any advice on preparing for a successful transracial family or any advice on the Ethiopian adoption process in general?

We are so excited!!!

Proud wife to my man and mommy to my pumpkin . We are dedicated to loving life and getting out of debt in 2010. - ask about our journey
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#2 of 9 Old 02-02-2009, 08:55 PM
 
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I think there are resources (especially books) in the adoption resource sticky.

We adopted our daughter from Korea, and we're a newly transracial family. Some of the things that have helped:

1. Reading! There are many excellent books on transracial adoption. In addition to that, we read childrens books on adoption and her country, adult fiction and memoirs about the experience of Korean-Americans or Korean adoptees, and books about being Asian in the U.S.
2. Classes. Many communities have adoption courses. We only took the ones related to attachment and transracial adoption. They were hit and miss, but the "hit" ones were fantastic.
3. Blogs. I dove into a lot of Korea-based blogs, and even contacted a few bloggers to ask for pictures taken on our daughter's birthday. That led to some really great relationships, and I was able to meet some of the bloggers. Also, some blogs (you really have to dig) give great cultural insights that are a lot harder to find in other resources, and too touchy to talk about in coversations.
4. Local groups. Look for local Ethiopian-American groups and try to get involved. It can be awkward to reach out to somebody just because of their race or heritage, but if you explain why you're doing it (we're adopting a child from Ethiopia and we want to make connections for our family) people are often understanding and even encouraging. One prof I had even went so far to say just this: "My son is from Korea and we need you in our lives." That's a little too personal for me, but whatever works.
5. TRAVEL!!!! Dive in, explore, prepare, anticipate, embrace. It's one of the best things about adopting internationally...meeting and learning a new culture.

Gotta go...but I'm sure others will have great ideas.

RedOak ~ Momma to DS (8) , DS (4) , DD (3) , & DD 9/10 ~
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#3 of 9 Old 02-02-2009, 09:31 PM
 
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Homeschooling Momma to DD 8 years old, DS 7 years old, DS born 03/11 by adoptionheart-1.gif , waiting for DD born 07/10 and two furry labs. Wife to my wonderful husband of 12 years.
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#4 of 9 Old 02-02-2009, 09:32 PM
 
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I forgot to add join a yahoo group-mine has been really helpful.

Homeschooling Momma to DD 8 years old, DS 7 years old, DS born 03/11 by adoptionheart-1.gif , waiting for DD born 07/10 and two furry labs. Wife to my wonderful husband of 12 years.
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#5 of 9 Old 02-02-2009, 10:50 PM
 
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Lots of great suggestions above, but to me the biggest thing I'd say is to build connections with adults, children, and families who share your child's ethnicity or race.

I can't emphasize how important those connections are, at least for me, a white woman raising a young black man.
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#6 of 9 Old 02-03-2009, 12:20 AM
 
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If you haven't done your homestudy they will hopefully be helpful in this area as well. Ask for a social worker that has done homestudies for Ethiopia.

Good luck!
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#7 of 9 Old 02-03-2009, 11:39 PM
 
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Congratulations on submitting your application!

The posts above pretty much cover everything we have done.
Our sons are Korean and we were very fortunate to have very good friends who happen to be Korean. Their daughter is only a few months older that ds1 and they are the best of friends. We celebrate traditional holidays and traditional Korean birthdays with them. We also attend a Korean Catholic Church and belong to a Korean adoptee playgroup. These connections are incredibly important and hopefully you will be able to establish similar ones. We have also read a ton, attended some classes and joined the Korean church. Additionally in our area we are lucky to have access to a very large number of Korean cultural events and performances. Also, ds1 loves books and enjoys books on all different cultures, families, etc..

It should be enough to keep you very busy while you are waiting!

Good luck - I know the waiting is hard!
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#8 of 9 Old 02-04-2009, 09:38 PM
 
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Yahoo groups were really helpful. I also read a ton of books on adoption, older child adoption, and transracial adoption. We learned a few Amharic basics, which helped with communication when DS came home.

If you haven't already chosen a placement agency, I'd strongly recommend doing your homework and choosing an agency that has been in the country for long enough to know what they are doing.

New signature, same old me: Ann- mama of 2 boys and 2 girls, partnered to a fabulous man.
I'm an unintentional weasel feeder and I suck at proofreading.
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#9 of 9 Old 02-20-2009, 09:09 PM
 
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I belong to a yahoo group. One for everyone adopting Ethiopian children and the other is one for AA adopting Ethiopian children. My personal experience with Ethiopian people is that they don't really out of their way to talk to me unless they were born here in this country.( and I'm black) However the ladies that do my hair are from Ghana and they are very warm and friendlier. The other day I got my hair 'did" and they ordered food and ordered everyone to stop working and eat( this included me)

I asked one of my co-workers about this who was from Ghana why he thought the Ethiopian community here is standoffish and he says he thinks its b/c they think black Americans are lazy and won't go out of their way to talk to them.

And there is a large Ethiopian community in my city. So I'm not going to let that bother me if I decide to adopt from Ethiopia and seek out cultural events with the community. My opinion is that once they know how committed you are about learning about their culture and they see that you are raising a child from their country,they will embrace you.

I would def. seek out the local Ethiopian community in your city and become active that way. Good luck and congrats on your adoption!
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