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Editor's Note: Editor's Note: Irene Lambert serves as President of the NFB:AE Montreal Chapter.

Thirty-four years ago was our last chance to adopt the baby girl whom we had dreamed about for the previous decade.

So much has changed since 1970. Laws have changed, adoption agencies have been merged and often lost completely in the reorganization of social service agencies. The availability of babies for adoption in Canada all but disappeared within a year of abortion becoming legal. Still more evident was the social change and attitudes concerning young Mothers keeping their babies.

When Bob and I were married in Miami, 1960, he inherited a ready-made family of my three boys from my first marriage. This new family unit, including Bob's guide dog, Trudy, was quite the focus of attention that New Year's Eve as we flew across country to Stanford University where Bob was a graduate student.

It was not until 1966 or 67, when we now were both finishing degrees at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, that we began to make tentative inquiries about adopting a little girl.

We heard all about the biases that agencies had against people with disabilities from our blind friends and sure enough, all of our inquiries were met with negative responses. However, we were assured that we would not be refused on the basis of our blindness but because we already had three children.

By 1969, Bob had completed his Ph.D. program in mathematical psychology and accepted an appointment to the faculty of Loyola College in my original hometown of Montreal. By the following year, when the boys were all settled in their new schools, Bob had settled in to a new job, and we were feeling at home in our new environment, we decided to make our final attempt at adopting a baby girl.

I will never forget the day I picked up the telephone and called the Protestant Children's Service Centre. I was connected to Miss Anne Peverley, manager of the adoption office. I introduced myself and proceeded to give a brief analysis of who we were and why we would very much like to adopt a baby girl.

I continued to explain that the adoption agencies in the U.S. had considered us to be low priority on their list and even ineligible. Therefore, I assured her that we would not be devastated by such news from Her, but that we did not feel like going through the application process just to be told the same thing. "Would adoption be possible?" I asked to know what the chances were for being accepted without going through all the rigmarole of filling out applications and taking health examinations if blindness would be the determining factor for denying us.

Her single question was, "Do you feel competent enough and willing to raise another child?" She continued, "the very fact that you have raised three children already is evidence of your capabilities, and that would only help you in a positive way."

Can you imagine our jubilation?

Needless to say, we fulfilled all of the application requirements from health examinations, fiscal and legal documents, to home visits both with and without the boys.

One significant question arose during an office visit. We were asked if we might consider adopting a blind child. Bob and I had already discussed that possibility and we said that, given the fact we were both legally blind, coping with many of life's changes with no extended family support systems and needing to sustain our independence, we did not feel that we wanted to assume further responsibility for raising a blind child. They respected our honesty and had just wondered how we felt about it.

It was almost like you see in the movies! Believe it or not, it was nine months later that we welcomed our infant daughter into our family.


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