Mother’s Choice Talk Adoption to Secondary Students on International Families Day
Families, like people, come in all shapes and sizes. Some are really big, with aunties, uncles, cousins and lost cousins! Some are really small, perfect for two-seater cars, but bursting with love all the same. It doesn’t matter what size a family is, it’s still a family.
Families can also be created in many different ways. Families are not always created with one mother and one father; some families have unusual starts. Sometimes there are blended families, where divorce and remarriage blend two families together. Families can be formed through IVF treatment for those who have trouble starting their own family biologically. And last, but not least, some families are created through adoption.
In recognition of International Day of Families (May 15) and the many creative ways families come to fruition, two speakers from Mother’s Choice visited Yew Chung International School.
Joseph, a father of two adopted children, shared his experiences with the attentive upper school students of YCIS.
Joseph explained that the adoption process he had to undergo wasn’t the easiest; it took a lot of patience. It started off full of excitement – full steam ahead, you’re about to have a baby! But then reality sinks in, it’s time to reign in the emotions and manage expectations. It’s a matter of waiting now. And then, in the middle of the night, or whilst washing the dishes – the phone rings. And it’s the phone call that is about to change your life forever.
For Joseph, the wait was about a year and a half to adopt his first son Hugo. Most people know the word adoption, but not everyone understands it. Joseph shared that initially, his family members were worried about his decision to adopt a child. They felt concerned about the “unknown” situation that adoption presents. Luckily for Joseph, as soon as the baby arrived a switch was flipped and he had the most supportive family one could ask for.
Whilst most adoptions, which occur in Hong Kong, are organised through social welfare, there are a few independent agencies. One of these agencies is Mother’s Choice.
Mother’s Choice supports families who are hoping to adopt a child. Parents are assessed to make sure they can provide a safe and loving home for a child so that the agency can evaluate how much care and attention can be given to the newest family member.
Tiffany Sturman, Community Education Manager, spoke to the students about the work of Mother’s Choice, a local charity serving the many children without families and pregnant teenagers in Hong Kong.
Most of the girls needing the services of Mother’s Choice are very young. Being young, pregnant and unmarried is a highly stigmatised and shameful situation for a girl. Many of the girls do not know their options.
Mother’s Choice is a safe place where pregnant girls in crisis are embraced, equipped, and empowered for a hopeful future. In order to help these young girls facing crisis pregnancies, Mother’s Choice provides a home-like shelter for young girls who need a safe space. People at Mother’s Choice work with the pregnant mother to understand the different options available, be it abortion, adoption, or self-parenting. It is also explained that one of the options is only available up to a certain amount of time.
For young girls, this whole process can be terrifying, as they may feel their lives are over. However Mother’s Choice tries to educate them and explain that they can still change their life story – their pregnancy doesn’t dictate the rest of their lives nor does it define them.
Mother’s Choice works with young pregnant girls to understand their choices. They take into account that there will be many different voices advocating many different decisions but the team is working with the mother to help her decide what she wants. Professionals provide sexual education workshops for young people.
Currently, in Hong Kong, roughly 4,000 children are living in institutional care without a safe, loving, and permanent family, with hundreds more who are living in an unsafe home. Some are waiting to be reunited with their families. Others are in need of a loving adoptive home.
Joseph’s final words of advice to those considering the same pathway: follow your heart. Creating a family is not something that can be solved logically and you’re not always going to know the answer, so close your eyes and jump!
Mother’s Choice always welcomes volunteers to give their time and help make a difference in another child’s life.heart. Creating a family is not something that can be solved logically and you’re not always going to know the answer, so close your eyes and jump!
Mother’s Choice always welcomes volunteers to give their time and help make a difference in another child’s life.