Last April, New Beginnings announced it’s international adoption program with Poland. We are one of the very few Hague agencies offering adoptions from this country, working with some of the best and most experienced coordinators in Poland, and have already completed several adoptions including the Barefoot and Washington families.
After a year of working with agencies in Poland, we (Tom, Victoria and Leah) packed our bags and traveled to Poland in April to see to meet in person with the placing agencies there. We all looked forward to putting faces with the names we already knew and getting a real sense of the country and the Polish people.
We spent most of our time in Warsaw, Poland where we met with the adoptive agencies we’ve been working along side as well as the U.S. Embassy. Our main goals: to clarify who we are and what American families need when adopting from Poland. Our side goals: to uncover for ourselves the real Poland. We were not only pleasantly surprised, but impressed and inspired as well.
“Poland is not a third world country,” said Victoria Kirkpatrick of New Beginnings. A misguided impression of Poland is of a run down country in need of repair, when that is the furthest from the truth. Poland is a country of modern and eclectic tastes. From the architecture to the diverse food, Poland is a beautiful, safe, and modern country.
Yet, the Polish architecture is just the beginning. “After World War II, the Polish people strove for independence, freedom, and democracy, not unlike the United States,” said Leah. The familiarity felt in this country is similar to that of visiting a city in the U.S. These people have fought for their freedom from communist rule, and it shows in how they conduct themselves.
In addition to learning about the Polish culture, we saw for ourselves where the orphaned children live prior to their adoption. As in most countries, the first desire is for Polish children to be adopted within their own country. For that reason, Polish children are domestically listed for three months, after which they are put on the international list. Unlike some other countries, most of the Polish orphanages are extremely small, housing around 14 children. Most of the children are in foster homes instead of orphanages. These small orphanages and foster homes are not unlike what American orphans may experience.
While adopted families are in Poland, they are encouraged to focus on bonding with the children they will soon bring into their families. That bonding may include local activities like festivals and community events. We had a great opportunity to learn more about these opportunities and can share those with families who are preparing for their trip. Our first piece of advice will always be wear good shoes!
For more information about Poland or our Poland program, please contact Victoria or Amanda at 662-842-6752.