- Who: Linie and Joe Rand of Nyack
- What: 5 years ago this month, they adopted a baby boy, Jake, from Taiwan
- Also: November is National Adoption Month. Learn more at Adopt.org.
ROCKLAND COUNTY, N.Y. -- Linie and Joe Rand traveled to the Far East five years ago to close the chapter of a book fraught with anxiety, nervousness and despair. In doing so, they opened another that filled the lives of the Nyack couple with joy, anticipation and love.
The Rands picked up their adopted son, Jake, in Taiwan five years ago this month. The adoption process required three years to complete, and capped a five-year journey in the couple’s desire to have a child. Remarkably, 14 months after picking up their son, Linie delivered their daughter, Relly.
“The overwhelming feeling when we picked up Jake was relief,’’ said Joe, Managing Partner at Better Homes & Gardens Rand Realty. “I felt like it was finally over, nothing went wrong and we got to meet him. That’s what went through my head.”
The Rand’s journey through infertility and adoption is not uncommon. Nearly 12 percent of couples have difficulty getting pregnant or sustaining pregnancy, according to Resolve, the national infertility association. There were more than 6,000 international adoptions in 2014 in the United States, according to www.adopt.org.
Linie and Joe started their adoption process in 2008. The process became more complicated when the couple stalled on their commitment to adoption after nearly a year.
“I was personally anxious about focusing on two different things at one time,’’ said Linie, who had started in vitro fertilization. “When we came back to it, the entire process in Taiwan was changing. That stalled us for another year.”
The Rands considered a variety of adoption paths. They looked at domestic adoption, but Linie considered the potential risk of a birth mother changing her mind at the last moment too risky. They also looked at Vietnam, Korea, Guatemala and Ethiopia. “In the end because of my background (Chinese), we decided to go to Taiwan,’’ Linie said. “We have family and a lot of relatives in Taiwan.”
The Rands worked with the Gladney Center for Adoption in New York. Taiwan re-wrote its adoption laws while the Rands waited, but the couple remained committed to the process. “They did a really nice job, even though it was frustrating,’’ Linie said. “They kept in touch and didn’t let things linger.”
Early in 2011, Linie and Joe learned they had been selected by Jake’s birth mother to adopt her son. The Rands agreed, and completed a nine month process for paperwork as they waited to pick up their son. “We were absolutely thrilled,’’ Linie said. “But at the same time, your child is developing, and you’re wondering if he’s being treated properly, how he’s eating. That was frustrating. Every month we got a picture, a video and update on the legal information. It was a torturous, long period.”
When they prepared to pick up Jake, the Rands were told to prepare for a rocky transition when the boy left his birth mother. “They told us he might cry, he might be attached to his birth mother and might not want to go into our arms,’’ Joe said. “We were so prepared … and we didn’t get any of that. He was fine leaving with us, like he didn’t even seem to notice. We left and he slept on my lap in the car. There are no car seats in Taiwan. I had my seatbelt on and was clutching him with both hands.”
Linie’s father was also at the home when the Rands picked up their son, and she grinned from ear to ear as she held him. “I was shocked, and stunned,’’ Linie said. “It was just so wonderful. The joy, the anxiety, it was amazing.”
The adjustment for the Rands to life with a toddler has been seamless. They were ready, and Jake has been the blessing they hoped for. “We got him right before Thanksgiving, and then it was Christmas, New Year’s, and his birthday,’’ Joe said. “He got to meet everybody in the family. It wasn’t like we had to make special plans, there was always someone new to meet. I didn’t have time to notice how my my daily routine had changed.”
Over time, Jake’s personality emerged from a quiet, roll-with-it infant into a playful, energetic toddler. “The more comfortable he got, the more he let his guard down,’’ Linie said. “He’s got a big, strong personality. I thought I had whiplash watching his personality form. He was taking things in, just absorbing everything.”
Shortly before bringing Jake home, the Rands learned they had a successful embryo through in vitro fertilization. They froze the embryo, and transferred it a few months after returning home with Jake. Linie carried Relly to term, and she was born in January of 2013.
Their family now complete, the Rands go about their lives like any other family trying to juggle work, children’s activities, holidays, sports, volunteerism and all of the challenges that face couples who try to combine work and child-rearing.
It’s easy to forget now the extended roller coaster ride they went through to build their family, but wonderful to realize their dreams and see their children flourish.
“I don’t think our lives have changed any differently than any other couple that has their first child,’’ Linie said. “For adoptive parents, the desire for the child is so intense. You’re so grateful. It was so longed for and desired. All the time, energy, frustration and money was worth it for both of us.”
“There’s a certain amount of love that everybody has in their life,’’ Joe said. “I can’t imagine my life without Jake. It has changed exponentially the amount of love in my life, and it’s an extraordinary thing.”
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