Adoption from South Africa opened to American families in 2013. Since then, Spence-Chapin has been one of just two U.S. agencies approved by the South African Central Authority – and we have been actively finding families ever since!
Name: Pamela Slaton Pamela Slaton is a Genealogist and Private Investigator in the State of New Jersey whose business mainly focuses on locating birth families. She is also a Spence-Chapin adoptee. Her area of expertise lies in having the ability to combine historical records with contemporary data.
Name: Jessica Luciere
Jessica Luciere is an international adoptee who decided early in her life that she wanted to search for her birth family. She contacted a private investigator in Colombia when she was 23 years old after going through various avenues in New York, and he was able to find her birth mother with the information she had through her birth papers. Her family was found within a week. Jessica has visited her birth family many times in Colombia and maintains a very open relationship with them.
Name: Mark Lacava
Mark Lacava is the Director of Clinical Services in the Modern Family Center at Spence-Chapin. He works with all members of the adoption community and has experience working with individuals embarking on the search and reunion process. He received his Masters of Social Work from Columbia University and a Foundations of Family Therapy Certificate from the Post-Graduate Program at the Ackerman Institute for the Family. He has been a clinician working with children and families for over 20 years.
This is the follow-up to the first part of this family's story. The second part of this narrative discusses the dynamic between James and his siblings and how they have continued to adjust to one another. "We were surprised that James was fine as we went down the elevator, during the taxi ride, and during our walk to our hotel room. About 5 minutes after we arrived at our hotel room, James began to cry quietly. It was also his nap time and he was tired. I got him to take a nap and I put him in a portable crib provided by the hotel. He slept well even though his foster mother had slept with him on a floor mattress during their time together. The foster mother had told us how much James liked the Korean character Pororo. In preparation, we had purchased Pororo toys and downloaded Pororo shows on our iPad while in Korea. They were very helpful during our time in Korea whenever he began to cry as well as on our long flight back to the States.
James is doing well. We were pleasantly surprised how quickly he adjusted to our family and living in the United States. We arrived home on a Friday evening and our daughters were very excited to meet him. Our older daughter Ellen, who recently turned 8, and James have bonded very quickly. The first few nights, James woke up frequently and I held him until he returned to sleep. Fortunately, he did not resist being held. By Monday evening, he began slowly sleeping in our time zone.
We were fortunate that my mom stayed with us for almost a month after our arrival. Having her with us allowed us time to bond with James as well as reassure our younger daughter Chloe, who recently turned 3 and was having a difficult time with having another child in our family. Chloe is very fond of James now and tells everyone that he is her brother and that he is now part of our family. However, she still gets annoyed when James follows her around or chases her when she attempts to run away. Overall, we believe that having two young children has helped James feel more comfortable at our home. We feel very blessed to be together with James."
Continue to check back to the Spence-Chapin blog for more narratives from adoptive families.