Reflections on 5 Years of Amazing!
Facebook has this amazing thing called “On This Day” where it shows you pictures that you posted from this date during the previous years. My day has been filled with pictures of our very first China adoption. I can’t help but get all choked up when I see the pictures and remember how it felt to have them placed in my arms on that day. 5 years has passed so fast and Maisey and Ben have changed so much!
There are about a million different scenarios about how that day could have gone but the truth is it was so overwhelmingly heartwarming/heartbreaking that it changed our lives forever. Had it not gone as beautifully as it did, I’m not sure we would have adopted 10 kids in 4 years. I am forever grateful for the beginning that showed us how beautiful adoption can be.
Here’s what we knew for sure when we set out to adopt (again).
1.) We were older parents. I was 45 when Dan first brought up adopting again, 46 when we filed our papers, and 47 when we finally stepped foot in China.
2.) We had older children who were very supportive of this decision.
3.) We had already adopted once domestically 11 years before and were blessed by that adoption.
4.) We had the resources and medical knowledge to care for a special needs child.
5.) We were never going to be empty nesters. Our plan is to always keep Codey, our older son who has cognitive and physical disabilities, at home.
Here’s what we knew after the first day we met Ben and Maisey.
1.) Institutions are no place for a child to be raised.
2.) Special needs, especially physical ones, make it easy for others to treat you as “less than”.
3.) Even scared, hurt little 3 1/2 year old boys with severe food issues, can have sweet hearts and look out for their new little sister. He cried if we moved his food, but he always shared with her. (Ben ate for 3 hours after we brought him back to the hotel and slept with food or silverware in his hands for the first few months home.)
4.) When a 3 1/2 year old refuses to be called their Chinese name or speak Mandarin from the moment you meet them, and refuses to go to anyone in the orphanage where they’ve been cared for for the past 3 years, there’s something not right.
5.) Every child just wants to be held and loved. They want someone who cares about them. They want to feel safe. This picture was just days after we met Ben. I get choked up every time I look at it.
What I know for sure 5 years later.
1.) Two children adopted at the same time can become the very best of friends.
2.) Your life will be forever changed by adoption. Some days are harder than hard, but most days are beyond beautiful and life changing in ways you can’t even imagine.
3.) No matter how long your life might be, you deserve the love of a family. You deserve someone to hold your hand, sit by your beside, and let you know you will never be alone again.
4.) Miracles really do happen.
5.) Large families are busy, chaotic, noisy, and filled with more love, hugs, and kisses than you could ever imagine.
The first five years have been overwhelming, busy, crazy, but DOABLE!
1.) 5 heart surgeries and 5 heart catherizations for 3 children with 2 being considered completely healed.
2.) 2 BAHA (hearing aid) post placements and the miracle of hearing well.
3.) 5 trips to opposite shores for heart surgery Stanford (California) and Boston Children’s (Massachusetts).
4.) Countless doctors appointments with numerous specialists. Orthopedics, otolaryngology, cardiology, physical medicine, neurology, pulmonary, genetics, urology, nephrology, rheumatology, hematology, and developmental/behavior medicine.
5.) Spinal fusion surgery and 5 weeks of hospitalization due to complications of a spinal fluid infection and subsequent spinal fluid leak.
I’m hopeful the next 5 years will…
1.) Bring more healing both physically and emotionally for our children.
2.) Strengthen the bond of family even further between all my children so they will always be there for each other not matter what the future brings.
3.) See more and more families open their eyes to adoption.
4.) See more and more families step up and be the helping hand that allows more families to stay intact and not have to make the heartbreaking decision to give up a child.
5.) Allow all our children to feel the love of God in their lives, that they will see their true worth, and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are loved and cherished by their father and I.
What an amazing journey this has been. I am so happy that Dan and I decided to be obedient to God’s calling. Our lives are full of the brightest colors. I can’t imagine going back to the comfortable life we were living. That life was so black and white, well ordered, comfortable. Yes, there is pain and hurt and I will never be able to close my eyes to the suffering of the children in this world, but there is also so much beauty to be found in the ripple effects of helping where you can. Reaching out a hand to help, feeding those in need, helping to pay for a surgery, fund a healing home, sponsor a child, the list goes on and on. The need is great but we can make a difference one child at a time because “Every Child Counts“.
My prayer is that one day Jasmine’s dream will come true – “A family for every child.” What a beautiful day that will be. Until that time …
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” – Theodore Roosevelt.
“If you wait until you can do everything for everybody, instead of something for somebody, you’ll end up not doing anything for anybody.” – Malcom Bane