by Cheryl Jackson Friday February 20, 2009

Lillia is 6 years old, born in TaiZhou, Jiangsu Province, China.  Her Chinese name is Tai Fu Qiong.    Zara is 21 months old, born in Durban, South Africa.   Her South African name is Owami Mkhize.   Lillia and Zara are sisters.

Their parents, Rob and Louisa Corbett, adopted them as babies.

Rob and Louisa are very aware of the issues they face as adoptive parents.  They know they will have to explain their daughters' birth stories, deal with issues of abandonment, and learn how to tell the story of their multi-cultural family to the countless people who will ask.   The Corbetts will have to help both girls feel safe and comfortable in their skin, which is different from  each other and their parents'.   They will help the girls find commonalities, which is already happening.  Lillia said,  "I know Zara's my sister because we both have brown eyes."

They will have to try to figure out their daughters' learning styles, with no genetic background to inform them.   And they'll have to pay close attention to developmental milestones, to make sure there are no issues getting in the way.

The Corbett's are up for the challenge.  Louisa says they've taken more parenting classes than most birth parents.  They read, they go to workshops, they know where to get support.

Louisa will join us on Your Voice to tell us what she's learned about parenting adopted children.  We'll also hear from adoption social workers about the complexities of raising adopted children, and other children being raised without one or both of their birth parents.    There will be something to learn for all of us.  I hope you'll join us.