Take It as It Comes
Sometimes an adoption does not turn out exactly as the family expects. Pat and Robert Abisso were thrilled when they picked up their five-month-old son, Robby, from an orphanage in Colombia. But when at nine months he could not do what younger babies had mastered, Pat became concerned.
"Robby was not meeting his milestones. I kept pushing to have things checked and finally through the early intervention program we started to get some answers," says Pat.
Following an intensive evaluation by the Harbor Area Early Intervention Center in Boston, it was determined that Robby had low muscle tone and a severe speech delay. An examination by a neurologist indicated possible cerebral palsy and attention deficit disorder.
"When you apply for adoption they tell you there could be minor things wrong, developmental delays, but you want that baby so badly you just shrug it off and say, 'that's fine,'" explains Pat. "To me, I could have given birth and still not have had a perfect child. You learn to take it as it comes because he is still your child."
Some of the Abisso's friends and acquaintances have not been so understanding. "People have said, 'don't you think you should send him back and get a better one?' I tell them, when you adopt a child he is really yours. Half the time I forget he is even adopted."
Pat, a former travel agent, has adjusted her schedule to include weekly visits to an early intervention program, a speech therapist, and an occupational therapist. It is more challenging for her husband, Robert, she says. "It is harder because his son can't do everything everyone else's kid does, like playing ball together."
Robby's favorite story is about when Pat and Robert brought him home. "I tell him, 'we went on a big airplane to Colombia to bring you home so you could be our baby because we love you.'"