Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Worldwide Ingredients to Make a Family

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Worldwide Ingredients to Make a Family

Article excerpt

ADOPTING ALYOSHA: A SINGLE MAN FINDS A SON IN RUSSIA By Robert Klose University Press of Mississippi/Jackson 165 pp., $22

"I had not grown up until, at the age of thirty-nine, I adopted a child." So begins Robert Klose's account of his experience

in the foreign-adoption process, a "subculture" that doesn't quite know what to do with single men. While single women have long been permitted to adopt children - and in the process have established a lengthy and successful track record - adoption by single men in the United States is a rarity. Stories of the hazards encountered even by traditional, married couples attempting foreign adoptions are legion - red tape, crooked adoption agencies, impenetrable bureaucracies, last minute complications, and staggering expenses. Klose encounters all of these and more, as many countries and agencies simply won't work with a single man. The author's decision not to adopt an infant or toddler further limits his prospects. For most parents pursuing an adoption, the process takes about a year; for Klose, it is nearly 2-1/2 years from the time he attends his first informational meeting in 1991 until he arrives home from Moscow with seven-year-old Alyosha in tow. Why would anyone submit to such an undertaking? "Although the concept of what constitutes a family has changed greatly in America in recent decades, our desire to constitute a family at all costs swells great within us. I was gripped by this need as well," explains the author, a biology professor at University College of Bangor, Maine. "Adoption was my opportunity to form a family of my own," he writes. "If adoption by a single man was a possibility, then I wanted to try to make it happen." The first half of this appealing and instructive memoir is taken up with the lengthy process in the US that precedes the referral of a foreign-born child: meetings, interviews, parenting classes, paperwork, references, homestudy, more paperwork, and a constant outflow of cash. …

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