Straddling the line between infancy and autonomy, toddlers experience adoption in unique ways. Here’s what you need to know to face the challenge.
by Rochelle Green
My long journey’s end came 16 months after we opened the envelope containing a photo of a tiny boy, and three days after I pushed a suitcase and stroller toward airport security. Finally on my way to meet our new son, I had given a jubilant thumbs-up to my husband and daughter and waved goodbye.
The van pulled up to the orphanage just as a dozen toddlers streamed through the front door. I scanned their faces to find the one that matched the photo on my bedroom dresser. I spotted him in the arms of a young girl, who thrust him toward me. “Mama,” she said excitedly to the boy. “This is your mama.”
But the little boy for whom I’d waited so long had clearly not been waiting for me. He twisted his body away from me and hid his face in the girl’s shoulder. He was a few days shy of 18 months, old enough to know that something was up, but too young to understand what it was. That day and the next, he warily allowed me to hold him, but his small chest heaved with deep, quiet sobs. In the passport photo taken just before the ceremony that made him my son, I saw the saddest, most frightened little boy in the world….