April 2, 2003
Dear Adoptive Parents:
we near the two-month mark to when we first met our adopted daughter,
in Albania, we wonder when and if our feelings of exhilaration and
pure joy will subside. This expression of happiness is all due to
having our daughter, Jaclyn Juna, safely home with us. Also, contributing
to our happiness is the pre-adoption experience we had during the
adoption journey; a journey we will forever remember with fondness,
and share with our new daughter and family.
During the summer of 2001, we had set a goal to adopt a child internationally.
After many anguishing attempts to adopt within Canada and other
countries, we turned to Victoria OToole of Adoptionworx Canada
to help us adopt a child. In January 2002, we met Victoria and she
introduced us to her services, facilitating adoptions from Albania,
and relayed her mission to us as to simply place great Albanian
children into great Canadian families. It was just days after our
first meeting, which lasted almost 3 hours, that we called for a
second meeting with Victoria to sign a contract. We were most impressed
with Victorias conviction and felt that above all the other
agencies with whom we had made contact, she was the most capable
and dedicated to servicing the needs of the adopted child and that
of the adoptive parents. Her very professional and comfortable manner
allowed us to feel secure and confident that she would service our
needs as adoptive parents, without losing sight of what is truly
important the child. We were well on our way to adopting
our first child.
The administration stage of adoption is detailed and endless. The
initial stage of preparing our dossier for admission to the Albanian
authorities could not have been completed without the help of Victoria.
She guided us along each and every step providing us with worksheets,
an instruction manual, flow charts and guidelines. All of this helped
us to understand the process. And such a process it is! Upon finalizing
the dossier submission in the early spring of that same year, all
we had to do was wait for a proposal.
Waiting for a proposal is not as easy as it seems. Not a month
passed that summer without a call from Victoria giving us words
of encouragement. She helped ease the wait, explaining that the
time will come soon for a child to be proposed to us. She always
informed us her whereabouts in case of holidays or business out
of town, so that we could always reach her. Her attention to servicing
us as expectant parents was certainly a big bonus to choosing Victoria
A proposal was made to us in the fall of 2002. We still recall
the circumstances of the evening when Victoria called us to break
the news. Soon enough, the proposal video and reports were viewed,
medical assessments performed; courtesy of Adoptionworx and the
acceptance documents were signed. Our daughter was 18 months old
at the time of referral. Victoria moved along immediately, preparing
the required documents with the utmost care, attention to detail
and accuracy, in order to execute the next step as quickly as possible.
Waiting to travel to Albania was the next step, and a step which
we anguished over, because it couldnt come soon enough, but
we persevered and a court date was set. We set out for Tirana, Albanian
on January 21, 2003. It was at this stage that we realized that
this journey with Adoptionworx was destined to be successful, for
the agency was very well represented in Albania.
They staff also showed genuine care and concern for the childs future
and that of the new parents. We had never traveled to Albania before
and had relied on Victorias information and guidance on what
to expect legally, customs and social norms and cultural expectations
and traditions. With the help of her staff, our stay was made to
be very comfortable, lacking nothing. With the help of the Adoptionworx staff, our adoption business was handled
in a very professional manner. Nothing could have unfolded any better.
We were close to the orphanage, so we met and bonded with our daughter
daily, while finalizing the court proceedings in a timely manner.
This was the goal set out for us during this visit to Albania, and
we achieved such as was committed to us by Adoptionworx.
Adoptionworxs commitment to place Albanian children into
loving families goes hand in hand with that of the Albanian Adoption
Committee and its Chairwoman. It is apparent that these children
are regarded highly. We found that the caregivers in our daughters
orphanage demonstrated warm, loving affection towards the children.
This was apparent in our daughters relationship with her primary
caregiver, and the other caregivers with whom she was also affectionate
and playful. This consistent, caring atmosphere and environment
was beyond what we had expected to find. The ratio of caregivers
to children was very high and the result of such care shows in our
daughter, for she is well adjusted, attached and projects loving and confident behaviour. All the necessary equipment and supplies
seemed to be at hand. It is no wonder why many of these children
are healthy, possess happy dispositions and are beautiful looking
childrenchildren whom the Albanians are very proud of.
Our second visit remained positive in obtaining passports, birth
certificates etc. to be able to bring our daughter home. It was
sometimes tense, running against time to complete the necessary
paperwork, and emotional taking our daughter from the orphanage.
Departing Albania meant that we had to say good-bye to our daughters
Albanian "family". A "family" of many people
who grew to become our Albanian friends, all of who contributed
to the success of our positive adoption journey.
as parents is in full force now. Jaclyn Juna is showing neither
signs of attachment difficulty nor any inappropriate developmental
issues. Her behaviour, consisting of singing, laughing, active play,
hugs and kisses and a great appetite, tell us she is adjusting just
fine to her new home environment and that she is a very content
little girl. We each day pinch ourselves and wonder if this entire
splendor in our lives is about to take a turn. After some years
of disappointment, we think that our turning to adoption was the
very best path we took to achieving a family. And doing so under
the guidance of Victoria OToole and Adoptionworx only reaffirms
that we consulted with the best person to help us reach our daughter.
Nancy and Tony
Richmond Hill, (Toronto)