Friday, July 28, 2006


A couple of days a week I work in the city at Education House. I only recently started doing this, so don't know too many other people who work on the same floor. Last Wednesday when I was explaining to Glenda (my boss's PA) that I was leaving early to attend the adoption information session, she said, 'Have you spoken to Peter? You have to talk to Peter! He has two adopted children!'. She dragged Peter over and we had a great chat.

Peter and his wife are real pioneers with this adoption stuff! They adopted their first child about 32 years ago. He was born in Brisbane, but they thought he was Indonesian because of his surname and skin colouring... they found out years later that he's Aboriginal/Islander. They then had a biological child, followed by an adopted daughter from the Philippines. There were no inter-country arrangements at that stage, so Peter and his wife worked hard for seven years to try to organise it. They had six-monthly meetings with the Minister etc. but it was all worth it. That was about 22 years ago.

When I explained to Peter that we didn't know whether we could have natural children or not, as it had been our intention to adopt first, he said that this was the same as him and his wife. People would ask Peter why they wanted to adopt, and he would say, 'for selfish reasons! We want a multicultural family!'. As he said that I suddenly felt like it was OK that we think the same way. I've always struggled when people ask "why" . When couples choose to have a biological child, no one asks why... but we seem to have to justify ourselves for wanting to adopt. It seems somewhat unusual that adoption is our first choice, as many couples turn to adopting due to infertifility.

Peter shared a photograph of his family with me. He also talked with me for a long time about the life-long issues his daughter has and will continue to experience due to malnourishment in her first two years of life before being adopted. Most of these issues are health related and developmental, ie. she received learning support all through school and continues to receive support of varying degrees from different organisations and professionals.

I am very grateful for making the connection with Peter and I look forward to plenty more chats and support with him. Apparently his daughter comes into work regularly, so I hope to meet her. One funny thing that Peter mentioned is that his adopted son is 6'2" and his adopted daughter is 4'6"!

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