HerKentucky Adoption Series: Kathy's Story

HerKentucky is celebrating National Adoption Month with a collection of stories from Kentucky moms. Today, we're hearing from Kathy Ponatoski, my college classmate and Words With Friends nemesis. Kathy lives in Lexington with her husband Jeff and their sons Drew and Kai. -- HCW

I was 33 years old when I became a mother. It was in a room with concrete floors, 7000 miles and 13 time zones from my home in Central Kentucky. A nanny handed me a gorgeous infant boy who looked at me through curious, confused almond shaped eyes as dark as coal, before empting the contents of his stomach onto my freshly pressed blouse. In that moment, we were a family.

It was three years before when I received the phone call confirming what I had long suspected: that I would be unable to have biological children. As painful as that moment and the months that followed it were, they felt like a distant memory that morning in Taiwan, and more like ancient history as I write these words. The few months following were a sad range of emotion. I processed the anger of seeing people on the news sent to prison for child abuse and neglect. I endured a seemingly endless number of lunch dates, girls-nights-out and water-cooler conversations with other 30-something women where the conversation seemed to center exclusively around either the euphoria of pregnancy or the horror of childbirth. And perhaps most painfully, I grieved the loss of someday knowing what the combination of Jeff and I together would look like.

In our search to determine the right path, it’s safe to say that we never considered infertility treatments. They were among the options available to us, obviously, but it never seemed to appeal to either of us. I became aware during those few months of the number of families I ran into that had adopted: at the grocery, at our favorite Thai restaurant, at church. My good friend from work had just returned from China with her second daughter. We also became involved during those months with a group of adoptive families we met through my friend from work. Each family had a unique story… one had adopted twice domestically and were in process for a third child. One family had a daughter born in Russian, and another a daughter born in Guatemala.

Every family we talked to seemed to say the same thing. Call Adoption Assistance in Danville. After a preliminary meeting with them, it was easy to see why. We were blown away with what a tremendous resource was available right in our backyard to help us navigate the entire process. A few months later we had a completed home study, and were on a list a few months after that. We flew to Taiwan for Drew in January of 2008.

This past March, four years after my first trip across the Pacific, I was back in Taiwan to bring home Drew’s brother. Beautiful baby Kai turned one year old this week and is the perfect completing piece to our family.
Last night our family was out to dinner at Ramsey’s . I was reminded of how much fun it is to watch a baby explore new foods when Kai touched a fried green tomato to his lips and at first looked confused, and then horrified. As we were finishing our meal, (i.e., Drew was inhaling a piece of combo pie at record speed) a nearby patron stopped to say: “My goodness, your family is so lovely.”

When I talk about adoption, I often say that it’s the advice you cannot give, because people must arrive their on their own. Together.

I’m glad that Jeff and I were able to dream together of just how lovely our family could be.

Adoption Assistance now has offices in both Danville and Louisville, with social workers serving all regions in Kentucky. They offer home study services for all private domestic and international adoption programs. They also provide insight on available programs and preferred placement agencies. They are on the web at www.adoptionassistance.com