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Sisterhood By Way of Adoption

Tonight's post about International Adoptions adoptions was written by our Marietta and Atlanta divorce attorney, Megan McClinton.

So, I'm taking a break from my usual nerdy family law musings about divorce and such to tell a happy story.

I was fifteen years old when my parents told me that they were adopting a child. I already had a younger brother, who was eleven years old at the time, and the thought of a baby in the house sort of freaked me out. I was a teenager, after all.

Looking back makes me feel nervous and excited, just like I felt during those many months it took for us to adopt my sister, Starr, from India. It took about six months from the time my parents decided to seriously commit to international adopting for us to even get matched with a child.

Starr was just a handful of months old when we were matched. She'd been abandoned in a train station shortly after birth and spent the first few months of her life living in an orphanage in Pune, India, about two hours south east of Mumbai. The orphanage had named her "Renuka", a word that means "pollen" and is also the name of a Hindu goddess.

The whole adoption process took about a year. My parents had to attend adoption preparedness counseling. We had countless home visits and were buried under a mountain of forms and paperwork. It took a couple of lawyers to help my dad, also a lawyer, navigate the international adoption system. I remember the hours and hours of work, and the unbridled patience my parents had.

I vividly remember the elation we felt when we had her picture in our hands and a date when she was going to arrive from India with the adoption agency escort.

We were all too nervous to talk in the car on the way to the airport. And when the adoption escort handed Starr to us, just a little infant nugget swaddled in a thick yellow blanket, it felt immediately natural. It's actually hard for me now to remember our lives before we had my little sister. She's become one of my best friends, my maid of honor, and the coolest, most calm and good-hearted person I know.

Adoption is a long process but it's one of the happiest and most incredible experiences I've had the chance to be a part of. The commitment to share your life and love with a child is huge - it's a reward that lasts a lifetime.

Can you tell I'm an advocate?

Megan McClinton

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