Here I am, about to talk about one of the most personal and important parts of my, our, life. I thought for weeks if I wanted to and I finally said yes. When we were looking into adoption, we benefited a lot from family stories to gather the information we needed. We had many questions about day-to-day life with adopted kids, about the process specifically in Finland, and much more. I spent entire days digging into family blogs to find fragments of the potential struggles we could face, as well as the joys and rewards of adoptive families. This is why I feel being open about our experience could positively influence families who are considering adoption, in Finland or elsewhere.
Our story started when R., our biological daughter, was almost 1 year old. I cannot recall how we began the conversation, but we found ourselves talking about adopting our second child. The reason was simple, even naive if you want: there are many kids in need of a family and we want to do something about it. Personally, I knew myself enough to be sure love would have not been an issue. Maybe it would need to grow in time, but I knew how open I am about loving kids. We kept talking about the idea and basically could not find any excuse not to do it. Our family was stable and happy, we both had good jobs, and living in Finland provided us with great services to raise kids. We were sure our families and friends would have been a great support network and more than happy to welcome an adoptive child. Well, we went for it.
We knew the process would take a long time, potentially years, so we got on the move right away. A couple of months before R. turned one, I called the social services of my town, which are supposed to handle the initial phase of adoption. When I shortly illustrated our situation, they stopped me right there: your first child is too young, call when she’s turned one. I was confused, but we had communication barriers – they were only speaking Finnish – and we were only two months away from her birthday, so I did as I was told and waited. On the day after her birthday – I am not good at waiting – I called again and with great language difficulties I explained we were ready to start the process. The lady on the other side of the telephone commented it was impossible, they didn’t have English-speaking social workers and they could not provide us with the adoption counselling service to start the adoption process. I was not read to give up our plans to a language barrier. Thanks to the assistance of a Finnish-speaking government officer, we were allowed to start the counselling through Save The Children. In mid-May of 2014, about 5 months after I started making phone-calls, we finally began the adoption counselling phase.