With such a challenging experience after having your first child, what made you decide to have a second child?
Ee Shian: I had always wanted a second child but because we had had such a rocky start and were finally happy as a family, I had to really ask myself if it was worth rocking the boat again. When Natasha was 6, I roped her in to convince James to have a second child.
James: After I thought about it, I came back to Ee Shian and Natasha saying yes, let’s have another kid. My only condition was that we would adopt our second child. My rationale was simple—why bring another child into the world we could hopefully help someone experience a better life? That would make the endeavor well worth the effort.
Ee Shian, what was your reaction when James said he wanted to adopt a child?
Ee Shian: I was shocked—to me, it seemed unconventional. I took a long time to think about it. As a Catholic, I reflected on how even Jesus did not have a conventional family as St. Joseph was his foster father. When I was a child, I had a nanny who treated me like her own daughter. It struck me that you do not have to be related by blood to be family. My desire to nurture was stronger than my need to give birth to a child.
What was the process of adoption like?
James: It was a lengthy process. We had to register for a Home Study Report, where the government-appointed agency interviewed our family, did a survey of our house, bank statements, references and medical test results. That took six months and was tedious at times, but the goal was for the Ministry of Social & Family Development (MSF) to establish that we were ready and able to adopt a child.
Ee Shian: I then signed up with MSF to indicate our interest in adopting a child but there was a long waiting list. I also contacted a couple of private adoption agencies but did not hear back from either of them. Just as I was losing hope, I got a call from one of the agencies! We were invited to meet a little girl who was born on Christmas Day. I was emotional, excited and scared. Having read a lot of books, and being more idealistic by nature, I was expecting to feel an instant bond, a feeling that she was ‘the one’. But when we met her, I felt underwhelmed. I prayed on this and the message that every child is a gift from God was reinforced in my mind. Once that became clear to me, we decided to adopt Madeleine into our family.
James: People say Madeleine is lucky to have us and our heartfelt response, is that we’re actually the lucky ones to have Madeleine join our family.