Bringing Him Home
Adoption is opening your heart to a baby, then waiting six months
to meet him. Adoption is worrying who rocks him at night, then just
hoping someone comes when he cries. BY SUSAN VAUGHAN MOSHOFSKY
W e could call him Riley,” my husband, Brett, said, referring to the Chihua- hua mix playing on the Humane
Society floor with our son, Ryan. Snuggled
close, Ryan and Riley touched noses.
Ryan looked up at me. “Can we bring him
The papers we signed that night were la-
beled “Adoption Papers.” But bringing home
a new animal, as much as our pets are mem-
bers of our families, is not adoption.
Adoption is opening your heart to a baby,
then waiting six months to meet him. Adop-
tion is worrying about who rocks him at
night, then hoping someone just comes when
he cries. Adoption is squeezing your eyes
and ears shut when people tell you what hap-
pens in Eastern European institutions. It’s
filling out forms with questions so personal
you wonder how having a biological child,
no forms required, is even legal. It’s inviting
a social worker into your home to review all
those questions and ask even more.
“How Can We Help Him?”
Seventeen years ago, Brett and I flew to Moscow, then took a train 14 hours east to meet
our 18-month-old adoptive son. The medical
report, proclaiming him healthy, had allayed
our concerns. But not until our visit to Filotav
Hospital in Moscow did we learn how wrong
that report would be.
“See his big forehead? Water on the brain,”
the doctor said in a thick Russian accent.
I felt dizzy. The exam room was sweltering
in the 95-degree heat. Ryan’s fine, short bangs
The author with her husband and their
son, soon after meeting in Russia.