Tuesday, September 4, 2012


This is about the reaction I get when I mention adopting a special needs child from overseas. It's not an unexpected reaction. After all, anyone who knows me knows my four kids certainly keep me busy. That's an understatement. They are four exceptionally strong spirits. I don't have any who will sit quietly and color or look at a quiet book in church. I don't have any who shape up their behavior with a simple look from Mom. I don't have any who are particularly quiet (don't let M fool you, she's the loudest one). And it's not for lack of trying. We've read the books and tried all the tricks, bribes, etc and it only made our kids think that every act of kindness and benevolence deserves a reward. We don't want our kids to think that way. And so, every trip to the grocery store and every Sunday church service are exhausting.

So why would we even consider adoption? Don't we have enough going on in our lives? Aren't our kids enough? Isn't our house full? Don't we know how "messed up" those adopted kids will be? Are we crazy?

The short answer to most of the above questions is, "Yes!" 

We have plenty going on in our lives...but so does everyone else I know, including single people. Everyone, regardless of family size, ensures they are as busy as they feel comfortable being. This is a very fluid thing. Some people feel their life is full and busy if they go to work and come home to an empty house. Others feel their life is full and busy if they are driving to three different sporting events in a week. Still others feel their life is full and busy if they are loading up twelve kids for sports, drama club, band and doctor's appointments. So this is really all a matter of perspective. Everyone is busy and needs breaks every now and again, but most would find time for more if the "more" really mattered to them.

Our kids are most certainly "enough." More than enough. I am absolutely fulfilled as a mother with the four children God has seen fit to send to me. And interestingly enough, I have felt completely fulfilled after each and every one of them. I was happy with one and could not imagine loving another child as much....then I had number two and felt the same...then three...then four. They have all been "enough" for me. They have all challenged me and made me look at life a little differently. They are all worth every sacrifice, every embarrassing grocery trip and every sleepless night. Our adopted child (whenever he/she is made known to us) will be as well. I didn't fall in love with my kids during pregnancy. I cared for them, but I didn't have the overwhelming love for them until I started caring for them after birth. I had to figure out what each child liked and how to soothe them. I had to get to know them. But within twenty-four hours, it happened. I fell deeply an madly in love with each of them. I expect it will take longer with an adopted child, but I also feel that it will happen through meeting his/her needs. After all, we love those whom we serve. We serve our children most of all and that is true whether we give birth to them or not.

Our house is definitely full. We have two people in each room. But we can make room. One of my sons said the most profound thing one day when I was looking at photolistings. He saw two brothers who needed a home and asked, "Are they orphans?" I said they were. He said, "Let's adopt them." I told him it was a little more complicated than that and he replied, "Look, they need a home and we have plenty of room." Right then, I looked at my home with different eyes. The only reason we couldn't fit more children into this home is if we value "stuff" more than them. We can certainly do without some of the "stuff" that is cluttering up the place.

We are aware that adopting a child, particularly past the infant/toddler age will involve new challenges. We are aware of Reactive Attachment Disorder. We are very aware that our adopted child will have suffered the trauma of being abandoned by his/her birth parents, raised in an orphanage setting, and then taken away to a family of people who are strangers and do not speak his/her language. We know that this will be a challenge like no other. We do not think it will be easy. We know our adopted child will have issues...but tell me one person you know who doesn't? They will be different issues from our biological children, but that doesn't mean we will care any less. We have access to wonderful medical care for physical special needs and we believe in utilizing mental health professionals as needed. It's a fair bet that any child we adopt will need some counseling and we are ready and willing to ensure they (as well as the rest of the family) get it.

Yes, we are crazy, but we don't think that is such a bad thing. We know how to have fun. Impromptu dance party anyone?

 We know that we aren't what most people think of when they imagine an adoptive family, but we feel we can make room at our table and in our hearts for one more child. With all we enjoy in our lives, how could we say no?