“It’s the wildest ride you will ever take,” says Brenda Pack, who with her husband, Tim, adopted a 12 year-old from Viet Nam “And it’s also the most satisfying and loving ride you will ever take.”
While adoption can itself be daunting, adoption of a child from another country carries its own special set of challenges, experts say. Often the children have endured poverty, neglect or abuse and become anxious or act out in their new surroundings. And, however difficult the circumstances, they also have been separated from their birth parents and been uprooted from their homelands.
Nguyen (not his real name) was no exception. After having been taken away from his small village in Viet Nam and having survived a failed adoption in the US, Nguyen was a real challenge… both behaviorally and emotionally. He was angry, hurt, had a language barrier, and was practicing the tactic of “the best defense is a great offense.”
More than once, Brenda would share that “I’m ashamed of what I’m feeling and I’m ashamed that I can’t care for the child anymore and I’m at the end of the road.” With the mutual support of her husband, these adoptive parents continued to show their son that he was valued, respected, cared for and loved. Unfortunately, Nguyen was not ready to accept their love and, at 18 years-old spent a few years in a residential treatment facility.
For the past 4 years, Nguyen has been on his own and attending nursing school. While they have communicated during this time, Tim and Brenda received the following email surprise…
“I know this is late but I want to tell you happy mother day. Brenda, over the years me and you we might not never seen eye to eye. But I am so grateful for you for so many reasons. After I lost my mom and placed in the orphanage, I never expected to find another woman who could even come close to meaning as much to me as she did and still does. Not only do I thank you for being such a wonderful mother but also my best friend, my cheerleader, my counselor, my advocate, my protector, my cook, my maid, my nurse, my rock… but my favorite thing you have been is my MOM. Thank you for being the wonderful person you are. You have supported me in the best and worst of times and have always treated me with dignity and respect whether I deserved it or not. You might not be my biological Mother, but I feel so comfortable with considering and acknowledging you as my other Mom. Some people aren't lucky enough to have one loving Mother let alone two. So for the reasons that I mentioned and so much more, I thank you for being my other Mom, but mostly I thank and love you for just being YOU. Happy mother day.
Blessings rarely come any better than this!