The Beginning

People often ask me why I chose to adopt a child from India. The most accurate answer is, “because that’s where my daughter was born.” Fairly soon into my adoption journey I knew this in my heart. I can’t explain it other than divine intuition.

Most adoptive parents I’ve talked to agree that their particular child was meant to be with them. I’ve heard, “Your child finds you,” “God matches you with your children,” etc. It doesn’t feel random at all. Although before your miracle happens, more often than not there are some bumps and bruises along the way that cast doubt and disappointment.

I started the process of trying to adopt at the end of 2012. I had previously been through a divorce and a couple of subsequent relationships that at one point I hoped would eventually lead to kids, but things didn’t work out. I never thought I would have the ability, time, resources, etc to be able to be a single parent. Thank God I was wrong.

For some reason, I mustered up the courage to go it alone. I had been pining for a child for years and suddenly decided I was going to the take steps to have one, regardless of my relationship status. Little did I know at the time, but just months prior, while the idea was coming to fruition in my brain, my daughter had been surrendered for adoption to an orphanage in India.

International adoption was not foreign to me. My teenage niece and nephew were both adopted, from Russia and Romania, respectively. Russia had just closed its doors to international adoption when I began my journey. I remember briefly looking into India out of curiosity but it was also closed at the time. Before checking much further on other countries, I started on the path for a domestic adoption. I signed with a well known agency that seemed to encourage that route, citing some concerns about Americans getting healthy babies overseas.

The initial phase involves some preliminary paperwork and classes. I was so excited once things got rolling! It finally felt real. From the get go, I had this vision of a little girl in my head. The agency told me that toddler and older children adoptions were rare for them. They typically helped pregnant young women find families to adopt their newborns to. Furthermore, adoptive parents could not specify a requested gender because, as we know, ultrasounds are not always accurate.

That prompted me to do a little research into the fostering-to-adoption route. What I discovered is while that may be the perfect path for some, it wasn’t for me. I was uncomfortable with the possibility of not being able to adopt a child I was fostering and became attached to, if the biological parents were able to regain custody. Everyone has a different adoption journey. You have to do the research and figure out what feels most right for you.

I happily continued on my path of classes and meetings for a couple of months until one day I had a request for a phone interview with someone from the agency. Of course! I spent nearly an hour on the phone with a top administrator answering questions about my intentions to adopt, my plans for childcare, raising my baby, etc.

At the end of the conversation she said, “I don’t think our agency is for you.” I was stunned, thinking I had answered every question to their liking. She went on to explain that the last single woman they had adopted to waited nine years. Nine years! She said young pregnant women typically are searching for a white picket fence scenario (or, what appears to be so) and would never consider a single woman to adopt to because they themselves feel unable to raise a child alone.

She then gave me the name of another agency and ended with, “You’re welcome to stay with us for as long as you’d like, but I don’t know if it will ever lead to the outcome you want.”

I was crushed.

I called the other agency she recommended and made an appointment asap. That meeting only confirmed my worst fear.

“I don’t know why they would recommend us,” I was told. “Why would you have any better luck here?” They described equally grim odds for single parent adoption. It felt cold, but these administrators were simply stating the truth, as they saw it. I’m sharing this not to discourage single parent adoption. Just the opposite. I’m hoping this information will spare someone from a setback of months and a lot of disappointment. There are other routes out there!

Regardless of my detour, I don’t regret any part of my journey because it led me exactly where I needed to be. The most poignant moment during my time with the first agency happened when a middle-aged man who was adopted as a baby came to a meeting of prospective adoptive parents. He shared his story of wanting to meet his biological mother. He didn’t want to tell his adoptive parents because he didn’t want to hurt their feelings. The agency arranged a private meeting. He described all his emotions leading up to this huge encounter. When he finally came face to face with the woman who gave him life and then put him up for adoption he said to her, “I just have two words for you.” At this point, he got choked up, his voice cracked and his eyes filled with tears.

“Thank you,” he said.

All the twists and turns, even the struggles, led me to the perfect child for me. My daughter. My heart. The little child I can’t imagine ever living without.

In the spring of 2013, I was struggling. I knew she was out there somewhere. I just didn’t know how to find her.

At least not yet…


3 thoughts on “The Beginning

  1. Ishani Patel says:

    Hi Ms. Carlson,
    I have been reading your blogs about your adoption and your beautiful daughter. It is so touching. I would love to meet with you one day over coffee and catch up. You are such a wonderful person inside and out.


  2. Tom Scheaffer says:

    Susan-Congratulations! Yours, and many like them, is a very heartwarming story! I am glad you found extreme happiness with a beautiful little girl, and I’m sure you are an excellent mother! I am now a high school guidance counselor trying to make a difference with today’s youth, but before that I was in advertising sales working downtown, so I know a little bit about the media industry. It seems, and of course this is merely perception, that some tv newscasters have pretty big egos, more worried about their hair and makeup than they are about being genuine, but it certainly seems that you don’t fall into this category! Obviously I don’t know you, but your genuineness and caring come shining through, and I couldn’t be happier that your completely selfless act has made a huge difference in two people’s lives: yours and your beautiful little daughter! VERY admirable!


  3. Mr Tracy Bellows says:

    Congratulations again on your journey to adopt this beautiful little girl. This is a great read. Through the ups and downs of life you have this child to fill that void. Truly wonderful. Many blessings to you both.


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