Locals form "Globally Connected: The International Adoption Community of Bay County"

By: Meredith TerHaar Email
By: Meredith TerHaar Email

Panama City - International adoption can be a joyful journey, but also a challenging one. That's why some local women are forming a support group for families who have adopted internationally. The group is called "Globally Connected: The International Adoption Community of Bay County." NewsChannel 7 met with one of the founding families to learn about their desire to meet and help others navigating international adoption, before, during and after their new child comes home.

For Tom and Katie Fanning, adoption was in the cards even before they met. "We decided on our first date that we were going to have two kids and that we would have one biologically and we would adopt the other one," said Tom. Two and a half year old Caleb, who was born in China, joined their family 10 months ago, after what the couple calls a very smooth international adoption process. "We met him on July 3rd, he was part of our family on July 4th, and we were home by July 10th. It was fairly short and simple," said Katie.

But the journey has not been without challenges. When they arrived home in the states, Caleb was easily overwhelmed, and naturally, suffered some attachment issues. "He had only been out of the orphanage three times when we got him. When we brought him here everything was new, now everything is exciting but he used to get overwhelmed," said Katie. And, as is common with many children adopted from China, Caleb has a cleft palate. "One of the reasons they get put up for adoption is because they have some minor correctable need that they can't take care of very well in China but is a common thing that we can do relatively inexpensively here," said Tom.

"It can be really lonely to go through something like this alone, to feel like you are the only one going through these issues," said Katie. That's why the Fannings are co-founding "Globally Connected," a support group for families who are considering, going through, or have completed an international adoption. "Just to be able to get together and talk, and for the kids to be able to play together. Both for the kids to have someone to identify with and the parents too," said Katie.

The Fannings couldn't be happier with their family of four. "It's been great, he is hilarious, he loves to make us laugh," said Katie. "I can't wait till he can talk because I think he has funny things to tell us," said Tom.

The first meeting of "Globally Connected" is this Saturday, May 19th from 5:30 to 7 at Pediatrics Plus at 927 Grace Avenue in Panama City. Childcare will be provided. For more information you can find them on Facebook or call 774-2519. You can also send them an email at globallyconnectedbaycounty@gmail.com

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  • by FollowYourHeart on May 16, 2012 at 08:53 AM
    Bruce, if your heart is with foster Children in the US, here is a link to DCF with how you might be able to become a foster parent: http://www.dcf.state.fl.us/programs/fostercare/ I am sure that the Globally Connected community would be pleased to have you speak at one of their meetings about your experience fostering and/or adopting in Florida. There would likely be more similarities in the experiences than differences.
  • by Katie Location: Florida on May 16, 2012 at 08:16 AM
    Bruce, Thanks for your question because it is a common one and I'm sure you're not the only one thinking it. 1. The decision of what route to take for adoption is a very personal one, just like the choice to not adopt and to have only biological children. There are many things to consider and ultimately we had to make the best decision for our family. 2. No matter where a child is born, they still need a family. We considered every route including foster care. For us, already having a young child, the unpredictability of having multiple children in and out of our house before we were able to adopt a child was not a good fit. We also desired to adopt a child younger than our biological child. We may be open to adopting an older child through foster care somewhere down the line but it just wasn't a good fit for us at this time. We did not enter adoption lightly and we spent a great deal of time making our decision. We would never think of asking someone who has only biological children why they had those babies when there are so many children who need to be adopted so it is always interesting to me when people question our choice. I encourage you that if you feel passionate about foster children to begin the process to become a foster parent.
    • reply
      by Bruce on May 16, 2012 at 01:14 PM in reply to Katie
      Thank you for your answer Katie. I dont want anyone to get the wrong idea, i'm not trying to judge you or anyone for their choices of where to adopt children from. I'm just curious of why a growing number of people choose to adopt children from over seas. Is it less expensive? Is it a faster process? Has the US made it to difficult to adopt (IE: income, home, family requirements, etc.)? I recently had a manager who adopted his third child from over seas. I dont know exactly where from, all i know from pictures that i have seen, the child is of asian decent. I dont feel comfortable asking him about his choice on this matter. Respectfully, Bruce.
  • by Bruce Location: FL on May 15, 2012 at 03:25 PM
    Why not adopt a child here in the states? There are many children waiting to be adopted here in the states. Why do they have to wait in foster care while people go over seas to adopt a child? I just dont get it!!
    • reply
      by George on May 16, 2012 at 11:00 AM in reply to Bruce
      Bruce, May I ask what you are doing with the foster care program and have you adopted a foster child? I admire Katie and Tom for putting themselves in the public eye to give support to others in the community who have made or are making the same decisions they have. What are you doing to support your views and opinions?
      • reply
        by Bruce on May 16, 2012 at 01:33 PM in reply to George
        My post is more about asking questions, not so much about my views or opinions.
  • by Nancy Location: Montgomery, AL on May 15, 2012 at 09:11 AM
    Yay, Katie!!! So proud to have such an awesome niece.
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