Life is full of them. We can see them as road blocks, or we can see them as intermediary steps. We can let them overwhelm us, or we can choose to see them as learning experiences. In reality, I think all of these are normal. Sometimes we can honestly say we feel overwhelmed, we feel sad, we feel discouraged. And then, even though we may feel that way, we keep walking forward, trusting there is something to learn, trusting there is something, a real destination, beyond this. And sometimes we can see the beauty in the moment.
A bit of our story. This year was a transition time for our family. We chose to adopt. We were licensed as foster parents so that we could adopt a child or more (preferably siblings) that were freed for adoption. We knew it would be tough. We knew we were asking our kids to take on a huge challenge – that of welcoming new kids into our home and taking them on as true siblings. We talked extensively as a family, and our biological children were on board. We all felt that sharing our love with more was right and good. In June (after the school year was done) we met them and began transitioning them into our home – two beautiful siblings.
Now we have finalized. On National Adoption Day (November 21st) we finalized, so they belong to us now. I could talk about their diagnoses, about the challenges, and I could talk extensively. However, I prefer to share that all kids freed for adoption come from hard places. They all have much to overcome.
If a biological child suddenly is diagnosed with a terrible illness (i.e. cancer), the family is suddenly thrown into all it takes to get through. They study, they talk with people, they find medical help, and it is assumed that everyone should pull together to support them. The family never thinks “this is too hard; I’m done; Let’s not keep this kid”.
When a child comes from a hard place, I see it as no different. That kid needs to heal. This may take years, and true healing will take everyone pouring themselves into helping that child. The parents should be reading about what they need to address in themselves to truly be able to be present for that child. They need to focus on what truly loving someone and focusing on connecting really looks like. The family and other kids need to realize that giving of themselves is necessary in order to see that child heal. And they do so. Is it easy? Absolutely not. Is it easy to lose sight of the goals? Absolutely. We can feel overwhelmed, and unloved and un-thanked. The process is incredibly lonely. But do we have a right to say, “this kid is too hard, we can’t do this, take him/her back”? I won’t answer that question for you, although I know my own answer. Does it affect our biological kids? Absolutely. They are challenged to love outside of themselves. They are challenged to try to understand someone other than themselves. They have to give up ease, in order to care for someone else. I love that they are learning this important life concept within the love and support of our own home.
Before you take on the process, you should absolutely weigh the costs. We couldn’t take a child with certain medical issues, as we have a house full of stairs, and already four kids. Certain kids need more one on one attention than we actually have to give. Certain kids wouldn’t be safe in our rather open home. Certain kids wouldn’t be safe around our other kids without the constant supervision that isn’t possible to give here. We have to decide before hand if we are going to commit to the love of this child, if we can commit, without turning back. Not everyone is ready. Not everyone can honestly do this. Not everyone is financially or emotionally ready. All kids need attention. All kids need our pure and unquestionable love.
While finalization of the adoption in court has happened for us, we really are only at the beginning of the trail. We have many steps and hurdles ahead of us. And all six of our unique kids have individual trails ahead of them. We begin intertwined as a family, helping each other, encouraging, loving, believing in each other as we take each step forward.