By Maritza Cruz
Einstein Bros. Bagels on Oracle Road was filled with early risers on a typical Sunday morning. The room was alive with human noise—Katy Perry’s “Wide Awake” streamed through the speakers, blenders hummed and people chatted at a nearby table.
Rose Andreacola, 57, sat at a table in the center of the room across from her son, Jake Adair, 30. They were both eating bagel sandwiches.
Rose peered through her round glasses and smiled as she began her story on how a young single woman decided to adopt and raise an 18-month-old baby on her own.
Andreacola is from Oregon. She got her master’s degree in special education for deaf children from Lewis & Clark College.
Andreacola decided to move to Tucson in the mid-1980s to pursue a career at the Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and the Blind (ASDB) where she continued to work as a teacher for 30 years.
Today, Andreacola works at the University of Arizona as a research associate for the Center for Literacy and Deafness.
“I had learned about a group of women who had adopted children and was astounded by the fact that they were single, that it was allowed and that these women were so brave to do something like this,” Andreacola said.
She said she wanted to learn more about these women so they got in touch. The women thought she should adopt but Andreacola wasn’t sure.
Andreacola said she was too young and was planning to go back to school to get her doctorate in learning disabilities.
Andreacola said one of the moms told her about a little boy in an orphanage in India, the same orphanage where her daughter came from, who was deaf.
Andreacola said she was still hesitant.
“But I couldn’t get him out of my mind,” Andreacola said.
Andreacola said she was young and felt like she could make an impact, so she made it her goal to ensure he was getting the care he needed at the orphanage.
“Of course when they asked me at what point I was in my adoption journey I knew that if I said, ‘Well I’m not looking to adopt,’ that they wouldn’t tell me anything,” Andreacola said, “so I kind of fibbed and said, ‘Yes, I’m in the process.’”
Andreacola was only given “a morsel of information” but she wanted to know more, so she gave them more information in return.
“I decided to go ahead and get my fingerprints done just to get that clearance so that I could get more information about him, never intending to go forth with an adoption, but one thing led to another and a couple of months later I started to look at, you know, why am I doing this?” Andreacola said.
Andreacola said she was driving down 22nd Street when she decided to adopt.
“I realized if I didn’t do something myself what would happen to this little boy?” Andreacola said.
Andreacola said she didn’t have the money and wasn’t old enough, but she still decided to pursue the adoption through Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona.
“I knew that time was really important because a little deaf baby needs to have language access right away, and he was already 18 months old,” Andreacola said.
She express-shipped her papers as fast as possible, and nine months later Adair arrived at the Tucson International Airport, Andreacola said.
Andreacola said the adoption process was longer than she thought — she had to go through a home study and find someone in Tucson to certify her.
“Folks in India were a little concerned that I wasn’t married,” Andreacola said.
However, according to Andreacola, she was able to convince them because of her background in deaf studies and growing up with deaf parents.
Andreacola’s biggest challenge was money.
She said she didn’t have any savings and was living in a rented apartment.
“Financially, people came out of the woodwork and was able to pool resources together so that I could pay the adoptions fees,” Andreacola said.
Andreacola said she needed a bigger home for the baby but couldn’t afford the larger apartments. Fortunately, a real estate agent helped her find an affordable house where she didn’t have to pay a down payment.
“I just feel like all of these factors coming together —it was meant to be,” Andreacola said.
Andreacola laughed remembering the first weeks alone with baby Adair.
Andreacola said 23-month-old Adair was jetlagged at first. He also had no language and couldn’t walk or stand on his own.
During those nine weeks of maternity leave, Andreacola and Adair had new experiences together. Adair experienced his first bath; before he had only been given sponge baths.
“That was like bathing a cat,” Andreacola said, “it was pretty horrendous.”
Andreacola said it was amazing to watch him experience things for the first time — American sign language, car rides and meeting dogs.
Andreacola laughed remembering her son’s face when he took his first spoonful of ice cream.
She widened her eyes in shock mimicking his facial expression at the time.
Adair had a deaf baby sitter as a child that helped him with ASL. When he was old enough, Adair went to ASDB.
Adair said since he was so young he doesn’t remember anything about India.
He works at the Jewish Community Center as a janitor where he maintains the tennis courts.
Adair said he doesn’t know if he would consider adopting someone in the future or visiting India now that he is older. He said he also has no interest in learning more about his birth parents.
“One of the conditions of babies being left at this orphanage is that they guarantee anonymity to the mother because at that time, and probably that place, there was a lot of stigma associated with being unwed,” Andreacola said.
Andreacola said she respects Adair’s birth mother for having the courage to go to the hospital and risk being ostracized rather than abandoning him.
Her advice to people considering adoption: Ask for help because she wishes she would have more often.
“Be prepared to be as close to, as attached to, your adopted baby as you ever would be to your own child,” Andreacola said. “Just because he didn’t grow inside of me that makes no difference, no impact on how bonded we are.”
Andreacola, her eyes filled with tears, said she is inspired by how her son has gone through life.
She said he holds no anger or resentment and is always a kind, loving and accepting person.
Andreacola wiped her tears away from underneath her glasses and smiled lovingly at her son sitting across from her.
If interested in adoption, contact Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (520) 623-0344 or (520) 670-0861 to speak with an adoptions counselor.