I am going to take the time to answer a few questions we have received over the years about our adoptions. These questions and statements include the following. "Why are you adopting from another country? Why don't you get younger children you won't have as much time with the older ones? Why so many when you have 4 of your own?" Then there are the statements such as, "Are you all are crazy. Wow! those are some lucky kids. You all are saints. You deserve a medal. I could never do what you are doing."
To be honest this wasn't something that we sat around and planned. I believe our gifts are planted in us from the beginning. A little girl who knew from an early age she would take care of the hurting and those in need. A little boy who had a sensitive heart to those that didn't have as much. God gives us all different gifts and it is in his timing that these will be brought to light. For some this will be when they are small and for others when they are older. We just have to listen to see how it will play out in our lives and the lives of others.
We did not choose when and where to adopt from. God decided this for us. In God's eyes children and love have no boundries, all of us are his children, he doesn't differeniate between countries, laws, and man made rules.
We were raising 4 wonderful biological children and we felt our nest was full. We had never considered adoption. Then we read an article in our town newspaper about a 12 year old orphan boy from Russia who had visited for the summer. He wanted a family, but no one had come forward, so he would be returning to Russia to live. We found out he would have a very dismal life and almost no hope for a happy future.
The seed that had been planted in us began that day to take root. We asked, Lord do you want us to pursue this adoption? We were open to what God had in store but little did we realize the multiple blessings he would bestow on us. We received our answer, and so began our journey.
We started with Zhenya then age 12. We found out the older they are the less chance they have of being adopted. We have a heart for teens. I want to make sure you know we are not saints, we are everyday people. We are not a perfect family. We have not been perfect parents. We have made mistakes. The kids don't arrive here and fit in perfectly, but neither did our bio children. Each new arrival has an adjustment period for everyone. Honestly, our bio kids don't jump up and down with happiness when we say we are going to adopt another one. Wow, more kids to share mom and dad and resources with, what a great idea! The ones that are newly adopted are not over joyed either, even though they know the future for the kids that remain behind. We talk a lot we work through the feelings and the emotions and in the end we tell them this is not a path of choice, but of destiny, the one God has chosen for us. Each time we watch as they work through this and then accept, love, bond and become family, and we are proud that they have expanded their hearts once again to include others. Now they can't imagine what it would be like without each other as part of our family. We watch each time as they learn to play, tease, take care of each other and love each other so much. I do not believe God has given us limits on our capacity to love and we are better people when we are forced to be stretched beyond our comfort zone.
Are we crazy? That depends on your definition of crazy. Our house can be crazy at any given moment. Mark and I are still crazy in love after 25 years of marriage. We are crazy about 7 children who live in our hearts. The one thing we do know is that crazy does not apply to our decision to bring 7 soon to be 8 children to our home.
Are these kids lucky we saved them as many imply? No, Mark and I are the lucky/blessed ones. We want to give medals to our children. Some of the medals go to our bio children Brett, Kenna, Kyle and Ryan who have in the end supported our decisions and honored and respected what God has called us to do. Medals go to our oldest three during this trip when all of the responsibilty falls on their young shoulders and they are doing an incredible job.You know how you raise them but when they step up to the plate it makes your heart swell with pride and thankfulness.
Medals go to our 3 adopted children. Zhenya who came first and had to pave the way. No one to translate for him. A new strange and foreign environment giving up all he knew to begin a new life in an unknown world. Overcoming a past to start a future. Now a straight A student, football player, a mentor to less fortunate children. Loved by his parents, siblings and all who meet him.
A medal to our precious Alesa, our 15 year old, the quiet presence who prayed for years for a family. She had almost given up when we arrived. Everyday in more ways than I can name she quietly expresses her joy and happiness at being part of our family. She has added so much to our family. She makes great grades and is in the National Junior Honor Society. She is her moms amazing helper.
Another medal to Julia who is 12, our "lightening bug" with dimples. After what she has experienced in her short life how can she be so cheerful all the time. She makes us smile with her happy loving disposition. She writes the most loving notes telling us of her love for us.
These children have lived through things that would have made others bitter and angry but they have overcome these challenges with fight, grace and love. Our children are our heroes!
God lets us know that he can use imperfect people to bring about his perfect plans. Thank you God for allowing us the privilege of sharing in this journey with you.