Five Things You Should Know About Adoption

November is Adoption month, and today Hyacynth is sharing with us her personal story of how adoption has touched her life and is changing her family. We know that there are lots of different ways to build a family and we know adopted families all have many different stories, this is Hyacynth’s journey. 

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We’re in the thick of National Adoption Month, and I’m sure by now you’ve read plenty of stories about adoption — some heart wrenching, some uplifting, some achingly beautiful and some that are a mixture of all. Perhaps you’ve cried tears of sorrow and joy all within the same story.

I know the feeling.

If adoption is any one thing, it’s certainly complex.

This time last year my family was embarking on a journey that lead us down the road of adoption, though we didn’t know it at the time. This time last year my family was preparing to host an orphaned teen from Eastern Europe in our home for a month during Christmas through an organization called New Horizons for Children. We intended to host our host daughter, show her the love of a family and invest in her life through a long-term relationship. Before the month was over, though, we felt the tug on our hearts to begin the long and arduous international adoption process with the intentions of making her our daughter officially.

Though our plans were thwarted when she unexpectedly said no after saying yes initially our family still feels like we should continue proceeding with adopting children from a particular Eastern European, so we are again preparing to host another young lady and, God willing, preparing to adopt her and her younger sister.

Before we began the adoption journey, we thought the most complicated part of adoption was all of the paperwork involved. And, honestly, while the paperwork is heavy {I think the state of Illinois knows the brand of underwear I sport}, the complexity spans far beyond that.

From a family who is in the thick of our adoption journey in bringing children home, here’s what I wish we could express to others who are weighing in on our chosen path of adoption.

 

Adoption is beauty born of brokenness

While my husband and I had always thought we might become a foster family, we didn’t intend to do so until our biological children had grown older. And then we lost three babies during pregnancy. In our heartache and grief, our hearts began to break for not only parents who lost children but also for children who had lost their parents.

Our hearts began to grow heavier and heavier for those who had been left as orphans without families of their own to care for them, love them and accept them.

Often people will say we are doing a beautiful thing. And while, yes, I agree that adoption is redemptive and beautiful, it is a beauty that is born of a terrible broken — often for adoptive parents but always for adopted children. We must always remember this part of adoption because otherwise we run the very real and very debilitating risk of minimizing the significant loss the adoptee has suffered.

This wasn’t in our plans. 

Last Christmas when we decided to host our host daughter we didn’t intend to begin an adoption journey let alone an international one that involved adopting an older child.

You know, rarely have I come across a family where adoption was their first plan. And never have I come across an orphaned child who would prefer adoption as plan a.

Here’s the thing: adoption is a response to something terrible that’s happened. Few of us plan for something terrible like losing our parents as children or being faced with infertility or losing children as parents. It’s wise and considerate to remember that while adoption is redemptive, and really it is, it likely wasn’t in anyone’s life plan. Most of us who are adoptive families wish that adoption wasn’t necessary: we wish our adopted children were able to be with the people who gave them life, that our own children would have lived, that we would have been able to conceive … etc.

Though adoption wasn’t in our plans, we remain grateful. Grateful to have the opportunity to love some really wonderful children in the midst of their hardships and heartbreak as well as our own.

We are not saviors

Often times we hear about how great of people we must be to not only adopt but take a risk on adopting older children. I don’t always know how to say it well, but I feel like it’s important to understand that we are not saviors; we are just imperfect parents willing to love the children who have been brought into our lives via some extremely unfortunate and painful circumstances.  We choose to respond to these painful things in a manner that is the most redemptive we can possibly offer; for our family that is the pursuit of adoption for children who have a slight chance of ever having a forever family because of their ages or circumstances.

So saviors, no. Willing parents, though, yes. By all means, yes.

Older Children are Gems

Our hearts have been broken for orphans, and they been shattered to pieces especially for older children who are likely to remain orphans because they have aged beyond the preferred age range for many prospective adoptive parents. These older children and teens are treasures. Sure they have baggage. So do I. But that never stopped my husband or parents or friends from loving me, and so we determined that we would not let a child’s “baggage” deter us from loving them. While many consider bringing older children into their home risky, we and other close friends have found it to be a joy. And, honestly, loving anyone requires risk, including loving our own children, our spouses, our friends. Even loving adopted infants is a “risk,” because even babies feel the loss of being separated from their birth parents as they age. While there are many different challenges that come along with welcoming an older child or teen into our homes, no adoption {or relationship} comes without risk. We are learning as we await bringing our kids home that it is wise to assess the risk and determine if our family is willing to continue before the children come home and there is a major issue that unfolds and leaves us questioning our decision.

Our Children are not Lucky

Orphans are the only victims who are expected to be grateful for getting the care and love that should have been theirs to begin with! All children should be born into loving families who are able and willing to care for them! Alas, when that doesn’t happen we shouldn’t expect our adopted children to be grateful for being adopted into a family.

Our adopted children are not lucky. They have suffered unimaginable loss. While I personally know many adopted children who are very thankful for their families, I know most, if not all, long to have had the ability to remain with their parents in better circumstances.

On the other hand, I have a deep sense of just how blessed we are to be able to be a family to the children who have been brought into our life through any and all means — birth, adoption and beyond. While adoption and all of its various complexities are quite complicated one thing isn’t — we are blessed, indeed, to be a family no matter how it comes together.

 

Adoption Resources for Illinois families:

Adopt U.S. Kids

Child Welfare Information Gateway

The Cradle

Suggested Reading for Potential Adoptive Parents:

The Connected Child

Parenting the Hurt Child

20 Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew

Editor’s Note:  Little Lake County will be hosting a fundraiser in January to help Hyacynth’s  family offset their considerable adoption expenses. We hope you will join us in bringing these girls home to their forever family.  Please mark your calendars:

Love Rising: A Gluten-Free Bakewalk
Adoption Fundraiser for The Worth Family
Sunday, January 25, 2015 from 2-4 p.m.
Daltons Cakes at The Shops of Station Square in Prairie Crossing, Grayslake
Featuring Gluten-Free Baked Goods and Prepared Items from Local Purveyors and more!
Tickets and more info will be available in January

You can follow Hyacynth and their adoption journey at Undercover Mother.

About Hyacynth 33 Articles
Hyacynth Worth is wife to John and mother to two boys and two girls. She writes about motherhood, healthy living and faith at Undercover Mother. She is Little Lake County's managing editor and the author of Homesteading with Hyacynth. She promises to be candid, amusing and only slightly neurotic. Most of the time.

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