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International Adoption Clinic
Lily Kate Watson

Walking through an adoption is an emotional and stressful time for a family. Already parents to three boys, Brian and Jennifer Watson of Atlanta, Georgia were excited to adopt, yet they weren’t oblivious to the major change they were making in all of their lives. So from the very beginning of the process, the Watsons turned to the International Adoption Clinic at Children’s of Alabama for help.

“We reached out to the International Adoption Clinic from the moment we received our first adoption file,” Jennifer said. “Dr. Jennifer Chambers talked us through the very first file we received. She got us to a place of making an informed decision that we felt really good about. And she even reviewed the file we accepted with our daughter, Lily Kate.”

The International Adoption Clinic also assisted the Watsons as they prepared to fly to Southern China for Lily Kate. The staff talked the family through not only potential medical issues they may see in her, but also what they may need themselves when traveling to a foreign country.

“They made sure we were ready for whatever we potentially were going to face,” Jennifer said. “They even had an on-call person we could call if we needed something while in China. It meant a lot being half way around the world and knowing we had someone we could call if needed.”

After returning stateside, the Watsons took then-19-month-old Lily Kate to the clinic, where she was assessed for various aspects well beyond what a general pediatrician would do. “At the International Adoption Clinic, almost everyone there has adopted and they all understand what you are going through and what you need,” Jennifer said. “At the clinic I felt completely understood. And everything they analyzed about Lily Kate was done so through the lens of adoption, not just like a typical pediatrician visit. They look beyond that to things you typically see in children coming out of orphanages.”

The clinic also provided valuable insight for the Watsons as they navigated life with a child who suffered some trauma adapting to a new home. “Bringing a child into the house who is experiencing that trauma is traumatic for everyone, and those first few months are hard because it’s difficult to see outside of what is directly in front of you, to think creatively of how to best help your child in the situation, or even best help yourself,” Jennifer said.

“The entire staff at the clinic gets that on such a personal level and you are free of judgment with them. That was huge for me and made me feel so comfortable. They gave us ideas for things we could try to help her adjust, and no one else could give us that kind of information that we so desperately needed.”

Now 3-years-old, Lily Kate thankfully doesn’t deal with any serious medical issues that require assistance from the clinic, but the Watsons continue to visit the clinic for emotional support and l guidance on handling various issues that can arise with a young child still adjusting to a new world.

“They are now like an extended part of our family,” Jennifer said. “They know Lily Kate and love her, and they are amazing with her. Adoption is such a beautiful and wonderful thing, but it can be very isolating when you feel like people don’t understand what you are walking through. The International Adoption Clinic has become a place of comfort and safety for us.”

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