Picture this, an orphan boy in Colombia, Sebastian, aged 11, learns that a U.S. family he has lived with for five weeks wants to adopt him. Happy days indeed. So massive was the moment that he found it impossible to control himself as he broke down.
Interestingly, JoBen and Amanda Barkey from California, USA, knew that they wanted to adopt Sebastian from the get-go. While Sebastian spent the better part of summer with them, he was unaware of it all.
The reason behind all this is that Colombian hosting/adapting rules forbid parents from revealing their adoption intent. In full compliance with the law, the couple decided to also hold back the information from their children.
The approach proved to be a masterstroke as their kids developed a great relationship with Sebastian. With the secret in safe hands, JoBen and Barkey watched on as all the kids played.
Before breaking the news to the children, they made a point of including one final plot twist. An emotional farewell at the airport for Sebastian. After spending five weeks with their new friend, the children couldn’t understand why the parents were letting him leave.
Weeks later, JoBen and Amanda were resolute in their decision to adopt Sebastian. They whipped out a camera and started recording while revealing the news to the kids in readiness for the moment.
Rosy as the whole story sounds, JoBen insists that it’s crucial for families looking to adapt to be prepared for the time and cost implication of the entire process. However, with a building support group from the start, he believes that the process becomes much more manageable.