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Adoption Journey: A Glimmer of Hope

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In part nine of her harrowing journey to adopt a little girl, Tracy leaves Ukraine for good. She's ambivalent, sad, and embarrassed -- but there is a glimmer of hope.

adoption journey tracy mauzer

Excerpts from Tracy's journal between May and September 2008.

May 8, 2008 -- After returning from Ukraine the second time:

If one more person asks me, "So, do you have your little girl?" I'm going to claw their face off and whip it up in my Cuisinart. Sorry, but it's true. I imagine it's the same feeling the infertile couple has each month after the "Are you pregnant?" bomb lands in their lap.

All we have right now is the prospect of adopting a child through the Los Angeles County foster care system. They say finding a little girl (especially one without siblings) can take a long time.

June 6, 2008
Tomorrow we begin making up the foster care classes we missed while we were busy not adopting a child in Ukraine. We have to be certified foster parents before we can be considered an adoptive family. So, John and I are going to slink our tired, shame-ridden little selves into the foster classroom and say, "Yes, everyone, we went to Ukraine again and yes, we still have no child." I feel stupid -- humiliated might be more accurate -- and my brain is still fuzzy about this whole foster-adoption thing. Right now, though, it's our only option. We're outta money, outta time, and we're sure as hell outta Eastern Europe. Our entire plan has just gone to shit.

June 11, 2008
Tonight we "graduate" from our foster classes. We've completed the 30 hours of training required to bring a traumatized child into our home. This education will also come in handy as we attempt to manage the probable biological-family shit-storm that will accompany said child. Sounds awesome.

July 19, 2008
Our medical report just came in (still no syphilis!) and now we have to wait for our fingerprints to clear (still not pedophiles!), which can take months. Only then will our 4th home study (count 'em, 4) be complete. Then we can begin the process of waiting for our child. This sucks. We figure we're looking at another year at least. I'm worn out and bummed out and question our brilliance of trying to give a home to a child who needs it rather than bringing another one into the world. Now it's too late to do the latter. In a month I turn 45.

August 27, 2008
Happy birthday. Fingerprints are in. Home study is being hand-delivered to foster agency. I'm starting to feel a glimmer of hope. Give me my kid.

September 26, 2008
We just found out (at 4 PM) that tomorrow morning there's a festival for Latino kids currently in the L.A. system who are available for adoption. This event is ONLY for certified foster parents, and that's officially us. They say there are usually sibling groups of 2-5 (holy crap!) and there are very few, if any, young girls, but what do we have to lose? Oh dear God, wait a minute, are we about to subject ourselves to some parade of motherless children who are expected to charm and delight prospective parents?? What are we doing to ourselves?

latino fiesta poster

September 27, 2008
John and I make the 45-minute drive to the "Latino Fiesta." Frankly, we're both numb. You'd think we were just bringing some beer to a friend's barbeque, not potentially finding our child. But after Ukraine, it's hard not to feel ambivalent about the whole ordeal.

We finally arrive at an enormous park in Altadena and we follow the hand-posted "Latino Fiesta" signs. As we walk to the main entrance and onto an enclosed field, we're greeted by a woman who is very happy to see us. "You're prospective parents?" she asks rhetorically. Then John and I see children walking up with what appears to be their social workers. We grip hands like we did in Ukraine. Maybe, maybe our little girl is at this festival. Maybe this will be the beginning of something we never anticipated. Maybe we'll find our child in our own backyard....

(To be continued.)

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8 comments so far | Post a comment now
Sara Jane May 14, 2009, 1:09 PM

Oh, wow, the anticipation, the hope, it is all there just at the fingertips from the ‘prospective parents’ to the little ones just wanting safety and love!

Ok, what is next?!

KW May 14, 2009, 10:11 PM

Your story sounds like it’s getting ready to turn around and have a happy ending. I can’t wait to see how it’s going to turn out! It must be good because you look really happy in your photo!

Karen S May 15, 2009, 2:52 PM

Oh, this is horrible! Those poor kids. Like everyone, I’m on tenterhooks to find out what happens. I hope you get a happy ending!

Jill (the other one) May 15, 2009, 6:46 PM

This story is better than television! I cannot wait to read more!

Bec Thomas May 16, 2009, 3:02 AM

Wow I can’t belive they have a “festival” makes the kids sound like puppies and really de-humanizing.

jerig May 16, 2009, 9:31 PM

Bec,you would rather these children continue to be shunted around from foster home to foster home rather than have the opportunity to meet prospective parents and possibly have the gift of a family of their own?

Talk about dehumanizing, how about being able to cart all your worldly possessions around in a grocery bag as you go to the next “mom and dad”. What most foster parents do is outstanding. They provide shelter for children in need. But, what these kids want is a forever family. Pictures are great but you see the sparkle in a child’s eyes in real life.

Laura May 16, 2009, 9:55 PM

These ‘festivals’ are not presented to the attending foster children as ‘people shopping for kids’. They are a fun day for the kids with activities and food, usually balloons,face painting,etc. Most of the kids who are older than 7 or 8 understand that prospective adoptive parents will be there, but while we have the adult point of view of looking for a child/children, the children are ALWAYS presented with the info from their point of view- example a child will be told by their social worker that ‘We are going to try to find a forever family that fits YOU and your specific needs’, Kids are encouraged to talk about what they would like in a family, whether is is a family that likes sports or music,or a family with pets or brothers, etc. That info is passed along in their file & really used in matching. My kids are all adopted and ‘fit’ perfectly into our family, we have full disclosure of birth family information and the kids understand how & why they needed to be removed from those origins for their own safety. These kids are bright, resilient and far more savvy about what was going on in their birth families than we ever expected. We’re very lucky they found us! And yes, we fostered 9 children over 8 years before we adopted. Lots of great kids,lasting relationships and a ton of love.and laundry.

Ten Tees January 8, 2011, 6:16 PM

Great info! Good and fun reading. I have a thing to submit about tee shirts.

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