A one-and-a-half-year-old baby sleeps in his crib. I watch him as I write this. The child calls me “mom”, but until last month I didn’t know of his existence, nor he of mine.
My name is Natalia and I adopted my little boy in the middle of the pandemic. I am sharing my story because adoption is something unusual, rare, and I would like companies and their leaders to open their eyes to different types of motherhood in order to better support it.
I am from Argentina, I live in Buenos Aires, and I arrived at Globant in 2016. I already had extensive experience as a content specialist, and I liked the idea of working in a technology company. Back then there were no more than ten members of the digital marketing team. Now we are almost 200 and we have our own studio, of which I am a senior member in the content area.
In mid-2018, my husband and I decided to adopt a child. We got married, we went on our honeymoon to Río de Janeiro and we began to envision our future as a family.
One of the first things I did was tell my Tech Director and my Project Manager about it because I was going to need flexibile hours to complete the many (many!) procedures. In fact, a year and four months went by from the moment we started gathering the required paperwork until we were accepted on the waiting list to adopt.
Along the way, we underwent all kinds of psychological, medical, and environmental evaluations. We also attended workshops and meetings about adoption, in which we learned about the views of the children in adoption, how confusing and distressing it can be for them. It isn’t a Dickens story: being abandoned and switching families is extremely hard.
In all honesty, we doubted ourselves many times. “Will we be able to do this? Should we go on?” we wondered. And we went on.
During that period of time, many challenging and funny things happened at work: I switched projects, I had the chance to travel to Madrid twice, and I even visited Las Leñas and Tafí del Valle with other Globers. My coworkers supported me and listened to me whenever I felt overwhelmed. I would leave the courthouse and go straight to our offices, and those who knew me guessed by my face how things had gone. They offered me a sip of “mate” and they shared my joy and my anger.
In March 2020, we achieved our goal: we were accepted onto the waiting list. COVID-19 was already present in Argentina, and that very same month quarantine began. Courthouses stopped receiving new applicants for foster care. My husband and I lost hope. “It may be years until we get the call to adopt a child, and on top of that, the coronavirus…” We left things on standby. We went through the first couple of months of the pandemic working from home, comfortable, a bit bored. We had no clue as to what was going to happen.
A June morning, just like any other ordinary morning, I got a call from the courthouse. THE call.
I’ll keep what I felt that day to myself, both because I think it’s private and because I lack the ability to explain what it feels like to find out that you are going to be a mother from one day to the next. You don’t get nine months to prepare the room or learn what a newborn baby needs. Adopting is pure adrenaline. In my case, I only knew that my child was a year and a half and that he was living in a foster home. That was all.
What I do want to share is what happened at Globant from that moment on. In Argentina, maternity leave generally takes into account biological maternity. And I was the first Argentine Glober to adopt. There was no precedent.
Picture this: on a Friday, I gave notice at work that I was going to be a mother the following week. I was as happy as I was overwhelmed, but each time I told the story I got a lot of support and excitement. I think that the arrival of my child in the middle of the pandemic was experienced as good news.
To date, I have no idea how the people with whom I shared the project, the studio and human resources managed to get everything done so quickly. They found my replacement for the project and they tailor-made a maternity leave scheme to suit my specific situation in just a couple of days.
So, with everything all done at work and with just a weekend to get the crib, some clothes, and toys, we got ready to meet our child. Instead of the delivery room, it took place in a games room in an office. We went in first to wait for him.
When I saw him shyly walk in, hand in hand with his foster caretaker, all excited about his first day out during the quarantine, something sunk inside me. It was love, but not just that. It was the certainty that my life was no longer what it used to.
Adoptive motherhood is different in many ways. At first, I felt a little bit like an outsider. All my friends and coworkers that are mothers went through a pregnancy. Everyone always talks about traditional motherhood, it’s a cultural thing. The fact that the law fails to mention adoption is painful. Why is there maternity leave for some women but not others? As if pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding were the only things that define a mother. That is why it was decisive for me that Globant gave me time and support. Maybe for others, it’s something obvious or insignificant, but when you choose a different path, it is crucial to feeling supported at work.
Today, my child is the love of my life. And I would like to say that love conquers all, but that is not true: we need policies that support motherhood in all its shapes and forms. Maternity leave gave us both the time we needed to get to know each other and create a bond because it is not the same to start out with a newborn as with a one-and-a-half-year-old who has his own memory, likes and dislikes, personality, an idea of who he is and who those are that surround him.
It’s hard for me to bring this text to an end. Maybe because the pandemic is still going on, maybe because we still haven’t been able to finish all the adoption procedures that are pending, or maybe because my story as a mother is just beginning.
My son is moving in his crib, he is about to wake up.
|Inspiring Glober Stories
This article is part of our series of Inspiring Glober Stories. These are stories of people, who with passion, courage and creativity overcame obstacles, made their dreams come true, or helped change the world. We hope you enjoy it and find it inspiring!