Reicharts end adoption "rollercoaster"

After a five year-long adoption process, Ames High School German teacher Sam Reichart and his wife have accomplished their goal of becoming parents. “We found out we couldn’t have our own children, but even before we were married we were both thinking about having children,” Reichart said. “We looked into adoption, found an agency in Des Moines, and started working with them.” Their son, Ian, was adopted from Accra, the largest and capital city of Ghana, when he was just 13 months old. He has been with them since November – a relief for the Reicharts, who had been struggling with adoption for five years and had gone through six failed adoptions. “It was a five year-long roller coaster ride, with two times where we actually had kids in our hands,” Reichart said. “I can’t even really keep it straight any more, to be honest.” The Reicharts had looked into Vietnam, but after a year into the process, the whole country was shut down to the United States due to numerous black market issues. After several months, they saw a grinding halt to the process, and solemnly moved forward. Most recently, they had flown out to Virginia last October, but after a few days, the birth mothers had changed their minds. They tried foster care and had two kids for almost a year, but eventually the kids went back to their birth parents. “Through my church, we discovered the situation with Ghana with the same woman from the Vietnam house study, and after a year, we brought home Ian,” Reichart said. Determined, the Reicharts tried the process once more. From the beginning, they knew that this one would be different. “He had been given up by his birth mother at two weeks, and lived in foster care for a year. At first, we didn’t think we’d be able to meet his biological mother, but we interviewed her, and she fully understood that her child was going to the US and that she probably wouldn’t see him ever again,” Reichart said. “It was strange, because in all of our other situations, we were so greatful. I mean, how do you thank someone for this ultimate gift? But with her, it was the opposite. She was thanking us up and down, left and right. To her, having a child was just a burden. It was good to see that side of it, and to see how greatful she was. We knew we were doing the right thing. It reaffirmed our belief in a time and place for adoption,” Reichart added with a chuckle. Surely, becoming parents have affected the Reicharts’ lives greatly. “It’s definitely affected my life as far as school goes,” Reichart said. “I can’t spend my whole life here. The biggest change was leaving here at a certain time of day, and having to let school come second,” Reichart said. “[In Ghana], one guy asked me, ‘Where’d you get that?’,” Reichart said. Being parents of a different race than their child will bring weird looks and stares, but Reichart believes that this will be beneficial for both himself and his wife and Ian.“I think it’ll help him later in life when there are moments where he experiences prejudices and realizes that he’s the only one who looks the way he does.” To fall many times on the roller coaster of adoption, the Reicharts surely had to rise somewhere. Although the adoption process was arduous, it was indubitably worthwhile. If dealing with an unplanned pregnancy, Reichart asks them to consider adoption. “Any person can have a kid biologically, but to adopt a child you have to prove yourself to people in so many ways. Every aspect of your life is turned upside-down. There are so many people out there who will do anything to have a child and deserve to have a child,” Reichart said. So will the German teacher at Ames High teach his son German? “When it’s just he and I, then I try to isolate it to German. It’ll be interesting to see how it develops in a few months. It’s an experiment right now.