Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Big Decisions for a Teenager

What would YOU do if you were a teenage girl from Latvia who absolutely loved your American host family and were offered to be adopted by them?  Sounds simple, right?

Put yourself in her shoes for a moment...  You DO love your American host much so that you told them they are the first real family you've ever had...and it has been your lifelong dream to have a family who truly loves you. 

And yet you also love Latvia for all its beauty and it's familiar food and language.  You have birth family scattered across your homeland.  You rarely see them, but you have dreams of reuniting one day.  Whether they are real dreams or pipe dreams, it doesn't matter...still dreams of the heart.  

And you have freedom.  Freedom to dye your hair any color, any time.  Freedom to wear your lip ring without rules. Freedom to have a boyfriend that nobody has to approve.

The fact is that, although adoption means the priceless gain of a forever family, it also means loss.  And as a teenager, you have the large weight of the choice.  

Look at one small example: 
* To stay in the orphanage means you can go to bed late at night, after a day spent doing whatever you want to do.   There's nobody to impose rules on you, and yet there's also nobody to tuck you in or tell you that they love you.  There's nobody to wash your sheets and make sure you have fresh pj's.  
* To be adopted means you will have lost your freedom to roam the streets, go wherever you feel like going, and go to bed late after hours of watching whatever you want to watch on TV.  And yet you are tucked into a clean cozy bed, kissed goodnight and showered with love you've never experienced before.

Yes, adoption involves both gain and loss.  And you, at an immature age, have the weight of that decision.  How do you think you'd answer when asked if you wanted to be adopted?

It's quite possible that you'd say exactly what Sandija said: "I don't know."

Our last day with Sandija before she left for Latvia

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