Creating New Families
Alameda County adoption worker Amy Dooha-Chambers loves doing adoptions, and one of the reasons is the opportunity to place children with mothers like Paula McMurray.
When Paula McMurrays daughter graduated from high school, McMurray wanted to do something meaningful. She had just received a severance package from AT&T after being laid off as a result of the companys downsizing. She knew several grandparents in her community who were having trouble caring for the children of their drug-addicted daughters, so she decided to help. She began attending a program to train foster mothers to care for drug-addicted and HIV-positive babies. Since then she has adopted four children, all of whom were drug exposed. She described the experience as both the most difficult and the most rewarding in her life.
When you first get them you have this fragile baby in front of you, but they are not responding to the natural hugs and stuff, so you think, What did I do wrong? Why doesnt this baby want me to hug him? And you start feeling so bad and frustrated, because who doesnt respond to a hug? But they cant, so you have to keep doing it and doing it without getting the gratification. Then finally one day you see the baby smile, or maybe he sleeps all night, or maybe the tremors are not over the whole body but just over the facethat is the best partyou get to watch this wonderful metamorphosis take place. Before you had no idea what was going to happen. All you had was hope and the belief that it was going to be okay, and now you get to see this wonderful being come to life.
Besides raising her children, McMurray is active in child rights groups and in her church and is a MAPP trainer. She does all this as a single mother. It is ironic that if Governor Wilson got his way, single parents like McMurray would not be able to adopt children.