When I was eight-years-old I saw a news program talking about little girls left on the side of the road in China, abandon. I knew at that young age that adoption would be part of my life.
Fast forward to marriage and three biological children by the time I was 29. My husband and I both felt like adoption was for our family we just were uncertain how. We started down the foster/adopt road. We were placed with a seven-year-old boy in 2012 when our biological children were 8,7 and 5 but that did not work out as we had intended. We found ourselves questioning, “was adoption really for us? Or are we just supposed to advocate for children and help others adopt?” After months of prayer we decided adoption was in fact for our family and we started down the path of adopting a special-needs little girl from China. My husband reminded me after we started the process with China that we in line with what God had initially placed on my heart as an eight-year-old girl. We knew many families in our area who had adopted special needs children from China as well and we leaned on them for support and guidance.
I was excited, the doer of all the paperwork, and anticipating our little girl. My husband was a little bit more hesitant, but trusting that the Lord had it all planned out because He had called our family to this. It took 20 months from the start of paperwork to being in China receiving our daughter. We took our three biological children with us on the trip to China. They were 11, 9 and 7 at the time. It was important to us that our older children see just where her little sister came from. We wanted them to see for themselves that not everyone lives like us. We have it so easy. We hoped that the experience would expand their worldview. Well, the Lord did just that. Part way through our 16 day trip they were ready to adopt again. I, personally, always wanted to adopt more than one child because I didn’t want our new daughter to feel like an outsider in a family with 3 biological children.
Three months after returning home with our daughter I saw a little boys picture on the CCAI Facebook page. His file was being returned soon. The Lord spoke clearly to me to inquire about him. I could not see him staying in an orphanage or going back to the Shared List. He had just turned 3 when I saw his picture. We were in China 11 months later to adopt him.
Both of our adopted children have limb difference, which we often forget about. They are amazing! I’m so thankful that we get to see them becoming who the Lord created them to be more and more each day.
Adoption is amazing…and hard!
I have learned more about myself through our adoptions than expected. I encourage prospective and adoptive families to remember what your (or future) adopted child is coming from. Really let it sink into you the feelings of loss, abandonment, loneliness, hunger, fear and much more that your child may have experienced. I am saddened by the times I let that reality slip my mind and expect too much of my children. Don’t get me wrong, I expect a lot of them in the areas of reaching their potential, overcoming things like learned helplessness and laziness but don’t want to forget that they might need extra time to snuggle, be talked to, listened to or their need for encouragement to reassure them of love. Even though love and attachment takes time to grow we can show love to our children in the process.