Ann: Hey Everybody! Say Hello to Maia… Maia! Talk to us about families and communities, will you?
Maia: When, in 1996, Hillary Clinton made it known to the world that It Takes a Village to raise a child, I had no idea how true those words would someday become to me. In my work as a child psychologist, I had observed many times how “others” in children’s lives had stepped up to be the difference in their world, so I guess I had an inkling of the importance of community in raising kids. However, it wasn’t until just about 3 years ago when the foster care agency dropped off an adorable, smart-as-a-whip, behavior-disordered, attachment-challenged, 4-year-old alien at my door that I really began to understand the place that the village has in helping to raise our children.
At the time my partner and I decided to adopt, we were already feeling pretty good about the community we had around us – family members (both biological and chose), friends, coworkers, church members – lots of good folks who were cheering us on in our pursuit of adding a child to our happy, coupled life. The ideal of community support seemed to be there and we were ready to take on whatever child was to come our way. We were ready, but the community that we thought would be there maybe wasn’t quite so ready for the challenges that came with the amazing child the universe had chosen for us.
As our default village started to be less present in our lives, our challenge, then, became to figure out how to surround ourselves and our new son with other people, a new community, a welcoming village; those folks who were willing to be an important part of our lives…to nurture him and us, to challenge us to be the best people we can be, and to help to hold us accountable to giving back to others as well. Little by little we have found the members of our new village. They have not always been those we would have predicted, but they are folks that we hold near and dear to us. I hope that in telling our story of creating our village, others who are also looking for a village will find hope and inspiration while creating their own…