Regina woman hopes new book will help potential adoptive parents through journey

·2 min read
Michele Hengen and her family during a recent Christmas. She and her husband adopted their daughter in 1998 and twin sons in 1999. (Submitted by Michele Hengen - image credit)
Michele Hengen and her family during a recent Christmas. She and her husband adopted their daughter in 1998 and twin sons in 1999. (Submitted by Michele Hengen - image credit)

A Regina woman says she hopes her new book about adopting abroad and in Canada will help other parents learn from her own experiences.

Michele Hengen's The Pocket Adoption Coach takes readers through the challenges and successes she had in her in her adoption journey and offers some tips for people who want to adopt a child.

"Our challenges were not what everybody else would face. But I just hope to encourage others by reading about ours and getting through them," she said in an interview with CBC Saskatchewan's The Morning Edition.

She and her husband went from having no children to three children in the span of 14 months, after she experienced a miscarriage. They adopted a four-year-old girl from Ukraine in 1998 and newborn twins from Montreal in 1999.

Hengen, who wrote her book over a number of years, said there was a difference between the international and national adoptions.

"Any international adoption tends to be more complex for a few reasons. You're dealing with two bodies of law, which means that there are more variables that can change," she said of adopting her daughter from Ukraine.

"I compare it to nailing Jell-O to a wall at times, and then you have to get your documents translated and whatnot."

Even with her adoption from Quebec, there were legal hurdles, she said. She hopes her book will help others navigate those challenges, but also show them what is possible.

"I'm hoping that then [potential adoptive parents] can see, 'Hey, this could work for me or us, too.'

"And then at the same time, I want to help their loved ones get a bit of a glimpse into what they might be going through and understand how they can support them."

Hengen said she never wanted to hide the fact her children were adopted from them, but rather wanted to celebrate their past. Their adoption was something she discussed with them from a very young age, she says.

She wants potential adoptive parents to have a support group ready for the journey ahead.

"Once you've made the decision, hang onto it and believe you can be successful and then you'll act accordingly.

"There were times when we weren't sure if we would have success and we put one foot in front of the other."

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