Some stories from our members’ journeys with adoption, along the joys and struggles that it entails.
This afternoon I took my boy to Xiǎo bǎo bèi (Little Treasures), the Taiwanese language / culture classes run by a wonderful adoptive mummy. As usual, my boy was very tentative when we arrived, he sat on my lap, wouldn’t sit with the other kids at afternoon tea, sat at a separate table with me close by while they did calligraphy etc. but then the most wonderful thing happened…
When the other kids (all adopted from Taiwan / China, ranging from 3-12 years old) went outside to run around and play after class, he went with them. Without me!!! He kept coming back to the hall entrance to check I was there, but he went without me and played with kids he didn’t know, in an unfamiliar environment!! The other mums were witness to my astonishment (and my nervousness as I kept trying to spy on him to check he was ok!).
It’s such a small thing to most people but such a huge step for my boy to trust that he could be safe without me, and trust that I’d still be there.
Flight home from Taiwan, transfer in Hong Kong and our very recently allocated girls erupt into inconsolable despair. We go to the most remote part of the airport we can find to ride it out and I start making contingency plans in my head of what it looks like not to board our connecting flight.
We decide to push on and I made it to the gate with 4 peoples luggage (including every worldly possession for 2 of us!) while the girls’ brand-new Mum struggles with a 4yo in arm and a terrified 5yo inseparably latched to her hand. I unload on the first flight attendant I find, explaining our situation and pleading for assistance. At that moment she went into super-support mode. She left her post at the door and escorted us to our seats; got us water and snacks and helped us get the girls settled and reassured us that we would be fine. We arrived in Brisbane after the best part of 2 days travelling with no sleep to be met at the plane door with a stroller, trolley and escort. We were guided through the crew’s express Customs line and assisted out of the airport.
I cannot speak highly enough of the amazing QANTAS crew that helped us through what was, without question, one of the most stressful experiences of our lives!
IAFQ organises various events and activities throughout the year, from major annual events like our International Adoption Day and Mapleton Retreat, to more frequent meet ups like Chat ‘n’ Play days and the MOVEnSHAKE program.
International Adoption Day
International Adoption Day is an annual cultural event in Brisbane, where the adoption community celebrates adoption and the difference it has made to our lives. International Adoption Day 2017 was held on Sunday 30 July. Check back soon for the 2018 date.
Mapleton Retreat is an annual camp, held for five days in January, to give adoptive families the chance to make and renew friendships over an extended period in a safe environment. The retreat is held at the Queensland Conference and Camping Centre about 90 minutes north of Brisbane.
Chat ‘n’ Play
Chat ‘n’ Play is a fun and informal way to seek friendship and support for adoptive parents and their little ones. Meet-ups are usually held monthly on a Monday morning, alternating around some of the great parks that we have in South East Queensland.
IAFQ actively promotes intercountry adoption by providing support from the initial stages of application, throughout the whole process including allocation, travel and way beyond.
Cultural and Area Groups
The organisation also comprises of subgroups including regional areas, specific overseas country programs and teenage/adult adoptees. These subgroup coordinators are committed to providing an environment for our children, teenagers and parents to mix through social contacts and organised events.
The IAFQ committee represents and lobbies for your interest as an adoptive parent at both state and federal government levels, on a regular basis.
The IAFQ committee is made up of volunteers who work together with the one connection of adoption, and the drive to ensure that families are supported throughout their adoption journey.
President [Maree Waterson]
I am Maree Waterson and I have been involved with IAFQ for 14 years, 13 of those holding a position of some description on the committee. Along with my husband, I have been blessed with four children through adoption. Our 11 year-old son through the Thai program, our 7 year-old and two-year old daughters through the local program, and our little angel who left us 2 years ago. IAFQ is a great family community and we are here to support you on your family’s unique journey.
0421 857 703
Vice President [Rachael Emerson]
I am Rachael Emerson and I live in Townsville with my husband and seven children. My family was formed through IVF, both local and intercountry adoption, and foster care. Understandably, life is chaotic, the house is noisy, the washing never ends and the fuel bill is outrageous… but our hearts are full and we are living our dream. I am passionate about IAFQ and like to think of us as one big family, here to support one another.
0418 390 561
Secretary [Clarissa Stuart]
My name is Clarissa Stuart, and with my husband, I have two wonderful children aged 15 years old and 10 years old, both from the Philippines. IAFQ and its subgroups have been very important to our family. It has given us lifelong friends and valuable support through all stages of our journey. As our children have gotten older, that support is just as important as it was in the early days.
Membership Secretary [Natalie Hoppe]
My husband and I have four children, three daughters and a son. The youngest two children, aged nine and six years, were both born in the Philippines. We have been a part of PSGQ (Philippines Support Group Queensland) and IAFQ community for over 10 years. Having taken on a range of roles on both the IAFQ committee and the PSGQ subcommittee, I look forward to working this year with a dedicated team, as the Membership Secretary for IAFQ. I am a busy mum and teacher but will always endeavour to answer you emails as soon as I possible can.
Treasurer [Barbara Davidson]
short bio to be inserted
IAFQ is a volunteer, non-profit support group for Queensland families involved in overseas adoptions.
Formed in 1978, we are affiliated with other State and National adoption support organisations. We are concerned with the welfare of children and committed to the principle that every child, regardless of colour, race or creed, has the right to a loving family as prescribed in the United Nations convention on the “Rights of the Child”.
IAFQ is made up of families all involved in intercountry adoption. While some of these families are just starting their journey, others have travelled the path for many years.
We offer a wide variety of support services and resources to our member families.