|Search this site:||
It's 2004 ... Kahleah, from Guatemala, has already met her foster family there.
Now it's Tristan's turn to meet his Colombian birth family for the first time ...
Birth mom and adoptive mom write, and prepare to meet ...
Leceta Chisholm Guibault
This summer, our family will be returning to Guatemala and Colombia, where our children were born. It's a voyage we have dreamed about since they were placed in our arms as infants.
Our daughter, Kahleah, will be visiting her foster family in Guatemala for the second time. She has maintained contact with them over the years, and it has provided her with an important, loving link to her past.
We are more anxious about our visit to Colombia. Waiting for us is a large, warm, and loving family -- our Colombian family, my son Tristan's birth family. Together, we have waited ten years to unite our two families as one.
My husband, Jean, and I adopted Tristan at the age of four months from the orphanage La Casita de Nicolas in Medellin. When the adoption was finalized, I was handed a package containing Tristan's birth certificate, hospital records and family information, including his birthmother's address.
I also received a recorded interview with his birthmother, in which she tells her heartbreaking story of "why." Her love for my son, our son, was obvious. "I love my son," she says at the end. "I do not want him to suffer with me." I realized that, in giving her child a chance to escape the poverty of her homeland, she was accepting a life of grief and guilt, never to know if she had made the right choice. I knew then that I would contact her.
For the past eight years we've been in touch with Tristan's very large birth family. We have sent them videos and hundreds of family photos. Tristan has an album of photos of his birthmother, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. He also has a scrapbook full of letters that are rich in family history and culture. Tristan is fortunate, because he knows where he came from and whom he looks like. He knows why he was adopted and where he belongs.
It's likely that mixed with the joy and excitement of reunion will be some sadness, confusion, and regret. But I believe we are ready. Both of Tristan's families have acknowledged and accepted our differing roles in his life. There is room for all of us who love this child.
Leceta is mother to Kahleah (Guatemala, 1991) and Tristan (Colombia, 1994). Leceta and husband Jean and family live in Joliette, near Montreal. She is a board member of the Adoption Council of Canada and the Federation of Quebec Adoptive Parents, and moderator of the email list Canadians-Adopting (groups.yahoo.com/group/canadians-adopting).
Piedad Yamile Agudelo Correa
My name is Piedad Yamile Agudelo Correa. I live in Antioquia, Colombia. I am 32 years old and I am the mother of Katherin, 14; Andrés Felipe, 12; Andreza, 3; and Jimena, 1. I am the biological mother of Tristan, 10 years old.
I am very happy to be offered this opportunity to recount why I relinquished my child for adoption, and why other biological mothers might make this decision. I write this with great sincerity and according to what I have lived.
As the mother that I am, I never thought to give my son up for adoption. I had in mind to have him and to raise him the way I had done with the two children that I already had. I made this relinquishment decision in the last 15 days of my pregnancy because I didn't have the support of the father and most of all, that of my family. I felt alone and without work to provide for my children or to improve my situation. I thought he would be better off and I don't regret having made the decision because I now know that he is better off.
I want adoptive parents to understand that it affects biological mothers, such as I am, to have to make this decision and even more so when there is a lack of resources and when there are other children in the family asking why one did that when one already had them or was it because one didn't love them. These are things that make me feel badly because of a child's pain. It grieves me like all the others, but at that time it was impossible for me to have him with me. It affects the other children in the family in the sense that they were not raised with him but on the other hand, they would have liked to have been adopted because they would have a better life and they would not be experiencing such need themselves. My younger children are just babies. They do not understand yet.
I never had any options. The hardest part was when they told me that it was time to leave my baby son in the nursery of the orphanage, and then leaving him there.
I never knew for sure if he would be adopted because there were children there at the orphanage who had been there for 10 years and no one had adopted them. Neither did I know that he went to a family in North America because they never gave me any information from there about what happened with the child even though I went more than twice to ask for news and information about him.
The orphanage was supportive of the children because in spite of the fact that there were children there for more than 10 years, they would find resources and they were very concerned about them and took good care of them. The orphanage did not pressure me. Additionally, they made me aware of the rights and responsibilities that I had regarding my child; they provided me with a psychologist and the woman in charge spoke with me regarding how good adoption could be when she saw I was in such bad shape in every way. The only information I received regarding the child's future was that he could be adopted by families from other countries who had good financial stability. They never offered help to raise my son because he no longer was going to be in my care. He was staying in that place and it was now up to them as to who raised him. They could have told other orphanages outside of the country that they had a Colombian child for adoption.
When I returned from the adoption, my family did not provide or offer me support. When I saw they didn't care, I told them the baby had died.
I don't have words to express my feelings of how I felt finding myself so young and alone with two very young children and to have to leave another one to be adopted.
When I received the first letter and the pictures of Tristan, I felt badly because they were delivered to someone in my family who should not have received them -- and they treated me terribly and for awhile it became a problem for me. My family reacted badly because they didn't know that the child was alive, because in our family, there had never been a situation like this. In part it caused me distress because before I was not in agreement with the idea of adoption. But on the other hand, it was so joyous to know that he was well and in very good hands and it was obvious that he was not to be better off with me. Today all of my family is happy, supportive and at peace.
I welcomed the contact, as did my family later, because I am the happiest woman when I receive news from my son and his family and I miss it when I don't receive news. Through the letters, pictures, videos, emails regarding my son's adoption I learned that not everything is bad about adoption and that adoption can be a very good strategy/plan because not all of us mothers can have our children with us and these children can have greater stability. Not everything is bad the way the majority of people think.
The contact with my biological son is very good because he accepts me and I don't see or feel resentment towards me from him and regarding having to give him up, it doesn't affect me as strongly anymore. I have accepted it. The hardest part was when I left him at the orphanage. On the other hand it affects me to think that I will see him again some day and that I will have to let him go again and it worries me to think about him and what is going to happen after we have this first contact and how our relationship will continue to be in the future.
With the adoptive family of my son, I describe a marvellous relationship, without words, I would say the best relationship. I would love it if they were my own family because they are always in contact with me and they don't hide anything from me.
From my own experience I recommend open adoption. It has been something very positive for me. Especially good for biological mothers who are really in need and with reasons for relinquishment, because the contact can fulfill what mothers, like I am, seek. To know their child is alive.
I have benefited in so many ways from open adoption -- most of all to know that the parents who are raising my son are giving him a good education and a stable situation. I as a mother have benefited in that I have been more reassured and have received moral and social support. They have helped me when I most needed it. It has benefited my other children in that they can count on a relationship with their brother and his adoptive family. The benefit for the extended family is that in spite of the fact that they did not offer to help provide for him they know that another family exists and they accept the child, his family and the situation.
I have affected my son in the sense that he can now better assimilate the fact that he does have two families.
I want to share my feelings regarding my son's and his adoptive family's visit to Colombia because it is something I want, that is going to make me very happy and that I will be able to personally tell them what I feel. I am preparing myself for this visit: First, psychologically, that he is something of mine but that he doesn't belong to me. I would not ever hurt him or his adoptive parents. I want to share with them everything regarding my country, family and my life.
My dreams for my son's future are the best. I hope with all my heart that he becomes a great professional, that he may achieve his dreams, that both his adoptive family and biological family may feel proud of him and that his siblings will be able to count on his support without any obligation.
In conclusion: I don't want my son to resent me for any reason. I want him to understand that I never really wanted to leave him to be adopted. I did everything because of the pressure of a bad situation. And to adoptive parents and adoptees, that we mothers who do this are not all bad, without feelings. On the contrary, we seek a better future for our children. We do not do it just to be free or to get rid of our children.
A quote from a recent letter from Piedad to Leceta:__________________________________________________
Piedad Yamile Agudelo Correa is Tristan Guibault's birthmother. She lives in Antioquia, Colombia.
Tristan Andrés Guibault
In July I am going with my family to Colombia. I will see my brother and sisters and birthmother for the first time, and I will hug and kiss them. I am very happy to have been in contact with my birth family since I was little. They send me letters and photos. They look really nice and they are a good family to me. I would like them to come to my country but they are too poor. I think that my Colombian brother is like me -- brave and strong and good-looking. My birthmother looks a little like my normal mother, and I feel she is a very good and excellent person. When I am in Colombia and maybe hurt myself, it would be funny if I called "Mommy" and they both came. My boo-boo would not hurt any more because I would be laughing.
I adore both of my families exactly the same, just like my parents love my sister and me the same. Sometimes I worry about my Colombian family, like if there was a war or something. I want them to be safe like us. When I was seven, I told my mommy that I wished we could all live together in a big castle. It would be cool because me and my Colombian brother would ride our bikes and skateboards in the castle hallways.
For Tristan's thoughts on returning from Colombia, see The Day I Met My Birthfamily in Colombia__________________________________________________
Copyright 2006 Piedad Yamile Agudelo Correa and Leceta Chisholm Guibault, email@example.com
Published in entirety at Family Helper, www.familyhelper.net, on Nov. 4, 2006.
Heart of Adoption |
Articles to inform and inspire