November is National Adoption Month. The best way to understand the impact of adoption is to hear the stories of the people who have lived it. The stories below are from the perspectives of an adoptive parent and her daughter.
My husband and I were married nine years. For over five of those years, after finding out we could not have children of our own, we tried places to put our name in to adopt a child. We decided we wanted a child from the states. We were losing hope but we moved to a different city and our new neighbor told how we could go through the county services to adopt. This neighbor had adopted their boy. Our prayers were answered. In nine months our beautiful five-year-old daughter came to us, and two years later from the county services we were able to adopt a little two-year-old son. Our prayers were answered and our life complete.
Our beautiful young daughter had serious issues due to being both physically and sexually abused in her foster homes. No matter how much we told her we loved her and the years of therapy and counseling she turned to risky behavior: alcohol and drugs. Our son was also born to parents who abused drugs and alcohol but had different types of foster homes and was so much younger when he was adopted into our stable, loving home. Through the troubled times with his sister he was our strength.
When our daughter was nineteen years old she was pregnant and single. Little did we know that we would once again be adopting. This time our granddaughter, Amber. We raised her basically from the time she was born. Her birth mom, our daughter, still involved with risky behavior, drugs, and alcohol could not raise this beautiful baby. We wanted our granddaughter to have a stable life. When she was four and her mom still struggling, we started adoption proceedings. After a year of monthly court hearings the parents’ rights were terminated, and we succeeded in adopting. It felt like a death of one child to be able to protect another child. The day of adoption I cried for what had to happen. Shortly after the adoption of our granddaughter we moved from Michigan to Kentucky.
Life has gone on. Our first daughter is now a mother of three children who are very active in sports. She has been married to their dad for over fourteen years. We do not see them as often as some other grandparents do their grandchildren. Our son has been married for six years and has no children at this time. Our youngest daughter, Amber, just graduated from the University of Indianapolis where she received a four-year full scholarship to swim there. She lives in Indianapolis and has a good job. We text or talk to each other every day. She has kept us young.
If we knew what our lives would have been like with all the sorrow and hardship that we faced, would we have adopted? The answer is a definite YES! We could not have children of our own, but we feel that these three children were a gift from God for us to love, protect, and just do the best that we could for each one of them. Our love is strong. We have never said that they were adopted but a precious wonderful gift. We learned from every experience that we have had with our children. We may ask God why at times, but he has shown us why we experienced everything that we have. My husband worked after retirement with the school system as an outreach worker working with troubled children. We started a relative caregiver support group in 1998 which is still active. I advocate for children and relative caregivers and am involved with local and national organizations. If we had never taken the first steps to adopt, if we gave up on a child that cried out for help, if we never decided to raise our granddaughter we would have never experience what God had in store for us. We are blessed. Raising children is the hardest but most rewarding experience in one’s life, whether they are your natural or adopted children. Life would not be as rewarding for us if we had not adopted these children.
I’ve known for most of my life that I was adopted. In all honesty I can’t even remember when I was told, but I am perfectly happy with it! I don’t believe that being related to someone by blood necessarily makes you family. My parents took me in when the person who gave birth to me couldn’t take care of me. They gave me a second chance to have someone there for me and gave me the love that every child deserves. Our relationship is that of any person whose parents are their biological parents, and I have never thought of it any differently. Although I was adopted by my grandparents and know who my biological parents are, I chose to keep them out of my life. Things happened for a reason in the past to put me with the family I am with now and I wouldn’t trade them for the world. I feel lucky that I ended up with the parents I did. They love me unconditionally, push me to be better, and are always there when I need them. If I hadn’t been adopted I don’t think that I would have any of that. I believe adoption is a second chance for a better and more fulfilling life.
Learn more about becoming an adoptive or foster parent:
Foster care: http://chfs.ky.gov/dcbs/dpp/fostercare.htm
For those who are kinship caregivers or who know kinship caregivers: http://kinshipky.org/