I am SO glad that I splashed out and bought myself a new dress from BigW for twenty-five bucks to celebrate the occasion at the very last minute! The irony of that still makes me laugh!
For us though, we are without a doubt, by far wealthier than all of those billionaires combined.
We are well and truly the richest in terms of the love and happiness the adoption of our beautiful child has bought into our lives.
The event was being run by the Adopt Change organisation, founded by the wonderful and effervescent Deborah-lee Furness.
“Adopt Change is committed to working with community and governments to transform attitudes and laws affecting adoption in Australia, and create a Centre of Excellence to support families throughout all stages of the adoption process. Our first goal is to double the number of children adopted and halve the time it takes to process adoption applications.”
I have long been an admirer of Deborrah-lee, and her tireless supporters for their dedication to creating changes to the current adoption laws, within Australia.
So you can only imagine my utter joy when we found ourselves seated next to some of the board members of Adopt Change, and were able to have discussions with them about our local adoption story. To say they were surprised that we had adopted our beautiful (then) sixteen week old daughter right here in Melbourne, is indeed an understatement.
They were shocked and intrigued, there is no doubt about it. So little is known about or understood about local adoptions in Australia.
To top off the evening even further, we were personally introduced to Deborrah-lee, and got to share a little about our adoption journey with her. She was warm, engaging and genuinely interested in our story.
I should just politely mention at this point, that we got to meet Hugh Jackman and shake his hand as he swanned around, working the room with his boyish Aussie wayward charm. He was delightful, and so damn funny! (Oh and yes – he is certainly is just as handsome in real life as he appears on the big screen – eek!)
We shared with Deborrah-lee that the adoption process for us in Victoria- from initial phone call to actually being approved in front of a panel of people – was fourteen months. We endured what seemed like an eternity, after attending the information sessions in the city and handing in the mountainous amount of paperwork and referees.
The lengthiest part of the process was writing our life stories, which were structured around a series of questions presented to us by our adoption agency Catholicare. They wanted to know everything about us- our childhoods, our marriage, and our bank details and even about our sex life!
We had always entered in to the whole process with an open mind, and the attitude that we would just do whatever it took to create our own family.
We are both very open and honest people, and the series of interviews that followed were all just part of the procedure we had to go through, to get to the point where we could hold our child lovingly in our arms. We had nothing to hide.
However, there were certainly days where we started to question ourselves. Should we have told them that? What were they thinking about us as a couple? Did we have what a birth mother would be looking for? Were we good enough? Why was it taking so long?
The rate of adoptions in Victoria was at an all-time low, and from memory the number of babies adopted the year before (2012) we applied was only twelve. We had pretty much decided that our family was going to be created through permanent care.
We still find it quite overwhelming how many people cannot understand the difference between adoption and permanent care. Even the members of our own families and closest friends, still do not quite understand the difference, even though they have been on our journey with us right from the very start.
“Children are our most precious asset. There is no more serious commitment in life than raising and nurturing children; to share their joys and sorrows, to honour their love, to pass on your experience to a new generation. These aren’t just the privileges of parenthood; they are duties and obligations.
Sometimes, for many different reasons, children need to be raised by a family other than the one they were born into. This enables them to benefit from the commitment of parenthood.
Adoption is not the only way of bringing a child into your family. Permanent care is another. Both options provide children with the care and love they need to grow and prosper.
For us really there is no difference. You are still taking on the responsibility of loving a child that is not biologically yours – for the rest of their life.
It is really not that difficult for us to understand.
Our hearts were open to loving a child or children, and it made no difference to us how they came to be in our forever family.
Luckily our hearts were wide open, because in only three short months, we were matched with our beautiful daughter through an open adoption, and our lives were changed forever.
So even though we were in a room full of billionaires, the event meant more to us and the other people in the room who are actually linked to adoption in some way.
For more information about adoption in Australia visit www.adoptchange.com.au
Love Chrissie xx
“Empowering families to create the perfect mix of chaos & love”
Chaos to Calm Consultancy would like to acknowledge the Wurundjeri and Boon Wurung people of the Kulin Nation.We acknowledge the elders past, present and emerging - particularly the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents who walked before us supporting and connecting their children to the earth, water and community. Always was. Always will be.