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The First Hurdle

Shu and I had out first adoption meeting with the prefectural government on October 29th. I had been nervous about it for weeks—and for good reason!

We arrived a half hour early and we’re asked to wait in a small room for thirty minutes. This did nothing for my anxiety. Then we were guided to a counseling room with two adoption agents. The next two hours were not great.

After filling out a form on our health and family history, we were interviewed for an hour. I knew it would be quite intrusive and had prepared myself as best as I could. And sure enough—it was.

Everything was criticized and scrutinized. My weight. My walking handicap. My mental illness. My lack of solid relationship with either parent. My foreign-ness. My non-native Japanese.

The agents reiterated time and time again how difficult it would be for someone like me to be a mother, especially to a Japanese child in Japan.

I took it all in stride. I knew what they’d say even before they said it. But it hit my confidence hard.

When the interview portion was done, the explanation began. What kinds of adoption were available, what challenges the children might have, their various backgrounds, and—once again—we were told that we should get rid of our cats.

Side note: if someone can so easily throw away their pets—how does that paint them as a person willing to take in a child? Wouldn’t they just as easily have no problem throwing the child away too?

So after two hours, Shu and I left. Feeling rather disheartened and defeated. Could we do this? We took several hours to think about how we felt individually and discussed together.

Despite the hardships we may face, we want to pursue adoption. In spite of the negativity thrown my way, I do think I could be a positive mother. And in my opinion the agents did all of that as a way of testing our resolve—bullying and downtalk tend to be very common interview methods here still.

It’s kind of poo. But it is what it is.

So, what’s next?

Next, Shu and I have to take adoption and parenting classes and pass a written test—for which I must hire a translator because a lot of it is very technical Japanese. We will also have a house check, background check, and need several reference letters.

But the process is starting. We’re committed to bringing home the chosen one. (And keeping the cats.)


Published by serenawogawa

Serena Wyndelin Ogawa lives in Tokyo, Japan with her husband and two cats. After emigrating from the USA in 2008 she toured Japan as an English teacher before finally deciding writing was what she liked best. Her days are spent writing and reading and loving her family and friends!

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