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I'm a 30-something wife and mom. My boys are my pride and joy. Together, we are navigating being a forever family post international adoption.

Monday, January 19, 2015

The First 100 Hours

I almost can't believe that after over a year of preparation it only took 100 hours from the time we first saw Buddy's picture to the time we committed to adopt him.

This is a brief overview of the timeline:

  • Thursday, 9:00 AM: We have our appointment with the government adoption agency where we are shown Buddy's file, among others.
  • Thursday, 10:30 AM: We leave the appointment after deciding to meet Buddy.
  • Friday, 5:00 PM: We pick up the government document that officially allows us to visit Buddy in order to determine if we will pursue his adoption.
  • Sunday, 11:00 PM: We board an overnight bus to take us to Buddy's region.
  • Monday, 10:00 AM: We have appointment with Buddy's orphanage director to determine if she will allow us to meet with Buddy.
  • Monday, 10:30 AM: Buddy is called into the meeting from his school lessons.
  • Monday, 11:00 AM: We are permitted to take Buddy into the court yard to play and see how we get along.
  • Monday, 12:00 AM: We leave the orphanage.
  • Monday 1:00 PM: We decide to pursue adopting Buddy.

I was prepared to be confused and uncertain at our appointment at the adoption agency. Hubby and I had been told by our social worker, adoption agency and in-country facilitator that sometimes the decision of which child to visit was difficult and unclear.

For me, the opposite was true. Buddy's file was the first we were shown and Hubby and I were immediately drawn to it. We didn't want to make any rush decisions, though, so we looked at the other files that had been set aside for us that day. But we kept coming back to Buddy.

By chance (or by design, I don't really know) our facilitator had just returned from Buddy's orphanage where she had been helping another family adopt their daughter. She was well acquainted with the director and was able to call her and get a verbal OK for us to meet Buddy.

Although the director agreed to our coming, we still needed a government document to allow us to move forward. The document takes time to prepare, and since our appointment was on a Thursday, we had to wait until Monday to have our first meeting.

After an 8 hour overnight bus ride, we arrived in Buddy's home town. We took our suitcases to our rental apartment, ate breakfast, showered and dressed in the nicest clothes we had brought. We also tried to mentally prepare to meet Buddy's director and Buddy himself. To say we were nervous would be an understatement, but we were also super excited.

At the orphanage, we were shown into the director's office and our facilitator translated the director's questions for us. Why did we want to adopt, why internationally, why Buddy? What kind of people were we, what was our home life like, what kind of parents would we be? We tried to appear calm given her stern demeanor but probably failed miserably.

After she was satisfied, Buddy was brought into the room. He was still in his school uniform and was clearly as nervous as we were. After a bit of a visit, the director gave us permission to take Buddy into the courtyard where there was a large open play space.

We had brought a tennis ball and Buddy went off into a treed area and came back with a stick. Hubby tossed the ball and Buddy swung the stick like a baseball bat and cracked it over Hubby's head. Our first exposure to Buddy's stellar athleticism.

We played baseball for awhile then switched to tag. The mid-day sun was beating down and Hubby and I were getting sweaty running around in our dress clothes and shoes. Buddy's uniform pants and socks were covered in burrs from running into the scrub.

At noon, our facilitator told us Buddy needed to go inside for lunch. Before he left we tried to pull the burrs off his clothes, worried they would reflect badly on us as parents. Our facilitator told Buddy we would be back later in the afternoon and he ran off to the orphanage, turning back to wave at us and flashing a big smile as he went.

After Buddy left, we went back to our apartment. As she dropped us off, our facilitator told us the sooner we were able to make a decision the better it would be for everyone involved. We didn't feel pressured though, maybe because we had both independently come to the same conclusion.

After a conversation and some serious soul searching we decided that Buddy felt like a part of us. We officially said "yes" to him joining our family.

I don't know how it was possible to go from not knowing Buddy existed to loving him in 100 hours.

I just know those first 100 hours were the most life-changing hours of my life.


  1. It is amazing how quickly our lives can change. With our second son, I knew as soon as I saw his picture along with his information. I didn't say anything to my husband when I gave him the information. After looking at it, he turned to me when he got to this child's information and said, "This is our son." Now this child is preparing to graduate.

  2. Wow. What a time. And what an amazing thing to read. It was so visual, it's like I could see the story playing out while reading it. It's wild how quickly you go from strangers to family with adoption.

    1. I didn't think much about it at the time, because there was too much going on to really think about anything. But looking back, I really almost can't believe it. Except I have a beautiful boy as proof it's true!