My husband and I adopted two siblings from Toronto CAS in November 2009. Our daughter was three months shy of her third birthday and our son was seven months old. Both my husband and I took the parental leave and dove into getting to know our two beautiful children.
Our daughter was apprehended at 14 months from a traumatic and neglectful environment. She was fortunate to be placed in the same foster home for the next year and a half leading up to placement. Because that was her first stable home environment she was not happy to leave. After placement our daughter bonded with my husband right away but it took her months, if not years to start bonding with me and trusting me.
We knew that our daughter had special needs that required regular occupational therapy, speech therapy and audiology appointments immediately after placement. We also knew that we would have to find professionals to provide developmental and learning assessments and that she would require several different surgeries. The list of needs was long, overwhelming and took up all of our time and energy. Meanwhile our infant needed weekly physiotherapy appointments and was hardly sleeping because of all of the changes in his world.
I went from a mother trying to bond with a child who pushed me away at every turn to a full time advocate for her special needs in order to ensure she was receiving the best possible support. Nine months of parental leave certainly did not provide enough time to cope with any of this. We made the decision as a family that I would not return to work as we couldn’t imagine putting a child with attachment issues into another caregiving environment.
Later on our journey in August 2012 we adopted a third sibling at 10 months old. Once again my husband took parental leave while we adjusted to life as a family of five.
Sadly our situation is not unique and is something faced by all adoptive families. Ultimately the children in these situations need more time to adjust to their new lives. Time that could make all of the difference for them and their families futures. Time these children deserve.