Creating a new kind of family

West High students and families talk about adoption just in time for National Adoption Month

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Creating a new kind of family

Ting Gao, WSS Intern

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November is, as most Americans knows, the month of pumpkin pie and turkey. What most Americans don’t know is that November is also National Adoption Month. This year, to celebrate National Adoption Month, some WHS students and their families spoke about the adoption experience.

Lee Longmire, the mother of Sarah Longmire ‘17 and Mary Longmire ‘19, is rather experienced in the process of adoption. She and her husband have adopted four children from overseas, one from China and three from South Korea. Her interest in adoption comes from her family history. “My grandfather was adopted, and so I always grew up knowing about adoption and adoption just being a … part of our lives. Even before I was married, I told my husband that someday I wanted to adopt children,” Longmire said. Outlining the general process for international adoptions, which takes months or even years, she said, “Every country is a little bit different as far as the process goes, but you do what’s called a homesteading…, [and] you have to collect a lot of different paperwork…and go through interviews and background checks because they just want to make sure that you’re a good parent and you know all the information. You usually take classes about adoption so that you’re familiar with all the different aspects of adoption and the children’s needs. From there, you get matched with a child and you go through a lot more paperwork and different immigration processes, and then finally you’ll receive permission to go and pick up your child from the country that they live in, and from there you finalize the adoption overseas and bring them home. It’s a long process, and there’s a lot of paperwork, but totally worth it in the end.”

The siblings seem to have the same opinion about adoption.“Since she is part of our family, I love her, and she is such a wonderful sister. I know [she] was meant for our family,” said Isabel Smith ‘20, about her younger sister Sarah, who was adopted by the Smith family from China . When asked if she believed that other people treat Sarah differently because she is adopted, Smith replied, “No, they do not. I do not, and nobody in my family does, either.”

“I think it’s really good to adopt,” said Assen Olivo ‘20. “But also, it is totally up to…what you’re comfortable with.I think it’s good to adopt because you can give other kids a chance.” Olivo was adopted from an orphanage in Bulgaria when he was three. Olivo believes his mother adopted him because, “She was getting mail before she adopted me, and there was a paper with a picture of me, and they were like, ‘Oh, he looks cute!’”

Olivo’s conclusion on the adoption experience? “I think the one difference [between adopted and biological kids] is…yeah, the parents adopted you, but sometimes the real parents, the parents that actually give birth to you, sometimes the kids feel like they’re missing that parent”, he said.

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