Adoption Awareness Month: When a mother and child meet

Revelstoke Review freelancer Melissa Jameson and her adopted son Ethan write about the day they first met.

Melissa and Ethan Jameson sitting outside Ethan's former foster home in the summer 2013.

Melissa and Ethan Jameson sitting outside Ethan's former foster home in the summer 2013.

By Melissa and Ethan Jameson

November is adoption awareness month.  Like many others, our family has been created through adoption.  When Alex Cooper asked us to write a personal story for the Revelstoke Review, we decided our story should have a theme.  Since one of the most difficult parts of an adoption is when the parent(s) and child (ren) first meet, we wanted to share our experience.

For more information about the different types of adoption in BC visit www.bcadoption.com/about-adoption.

Melissa’s story

I will never forget the first time I met my son.  He was almost 11 years old, and I was completely nervous as I introduced myself to him. He was sitting at the dinner table, eating a bowl of cereal.  I offered him the present I had brought, and let him open it. In the background, his foster parents and social worker watched, ready to jump in if things started to go awry. Thankfully, things went smoothly, all things considered, and I barely noticed the other adults, who had sneaked into an adjoining room where they could keep an eye on us, just in case.

That initial meeting lasted barely an hour;  Ethan and I spent most of it playing checkers.  He also insisted on showing me his room, the cat who slept with him every night, and his book collection. I don’t remember much else, except to say I left feeling excited about getting to know my son better.

It was also difficult to believe Ethan would soon be my son, and the knowledge that my whole life was going to change was pretty scary.

I had spent two years going through the “adoption process” with the Ministry of Children and Family Development. The first year was spent taking adoption education classes, completing a “home study” (including having friends and family fill out lengthy reference forms), and multiple visits with an adoption social worker, before I was finally approved to be an adoptive parent through MCFD.

That first part took a full year. Next came the waiting. I waited for a match (where a child’s guardianship social worker identifies you as a potential adoptive parent) for an entire year — an entirely painful, excruciating year. I can’t really complain though. I know of some adoptive parents who have waited a decade for a child to be matched with them.

That first, unforgettable, visit with my son took place nearly three years ago now. I’ll never forget it, but what’s even more incredible is that I have a difficult time remembering what life was like before he was in my life.

Ethan’s story

The first time I met my mom I felt scared, and really shy.  My new mom brought me a present, it was checkers and a book called Radio Fifth Grade by Gordon Korman. I really like reading and games, so that was a good gift. It made me feel better that she got me something I actually liked.

We played checkers, watched a little bit of TV, and I showed my new mom my bedroom. Overall, the visit was kind of weird, and it was strange to know this lady was going to be my forever mom. There were more visits after, and eventually I got to move to Revelstoke.  I didn’t like it at first, but now I love it here.

I am really happy I got adopted. To me adoption means happiness, having a big family, and no more foster homes.

 

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