Adoption - One Family's Journey
Posted on November 27, 2019
One of the things that drew my wife and me together was our desire for a large family. When we tried for our second child, problems arose, and we were told we would not be able to conceive without first having surgery. After a few years, we started pursuing adoption. Before that process went far, we found out we were unexpectedly pregnant. Things went well, and within eight years we had the family we had dreamed of. When our children began moving out and moving on with their lives, we began the discussion of fostering mid- to late-teens.
Two years ago through her job, my wife heard of a young child in foster care that was severely delayed. Later that year, one of our children took a job helping a special needs child in a daycare who happened to be that same young child. We were eventually asked to provide respite care for this child, and, during that time, were asked if we would consider becoming that child's forever family.
Initially, due to our age, we said no. After some discussion, we suggested it might be more appropriate for them to try and find a younger family. We agreed that if another family could not be found we would consider adoption. One thing led to another, a different family was not found, and less than a month after our youngest child graduated from high school Ethan became a permanent part of our family.
We had always known there was an abundance of children in need of forever families. After we got into the process, some of our children began researching adoption. The sheer volume of children in need of a family is jaw-dropping. Throughout and after the process of fostering and adopting, numerous people were there to help, guide, and encourage us. If we had questions or concerns someone was always there for us. Ample training opportunities were provided, with childcare and meals provided at many of them.
Like our other children, caring for Ethan is a lot of work. Making sure that his needs are being met is a different challenge than it was for our older children. Just before writing this my wife and I were at our second IEP meeting in the last month and a half. But that's OK because those meetings help ensure that Ethan's school experience will be better and more productive. I will admit, at our age, our energy does not go as far as it did with our older children. On the plus side, we have a lot more life experience so our energy can be more productive.
One of the best results from our adoption is seeing Ethan's smile and having him insist that you snuggle him. These events used to be few and far between, but now they are daily occurrences. It also brings great joy seeing our other children interact with and love their new brother.
I am sure that this adoption has been and will continue to be good for Ethan. I see improvements in his behavior, attitude, and knowledge regularly. Others who knew Ethan before he joined our family are beside themselves when they interact with him now. Those who share in our task of teaching him continually comment on how he exceeds their prior hopes for him.
I feel that we - Ethan's new brothers and sisters, my wife, and I - are the most blessed from this addition to our family. We are all more thankful that we had supportive, loving people involved in our lives from our conception. We are also reminded how even the simplest successes need to be celebrated, and every loss, pain, and frustration (even those we don't understand) needs to be comforted.
Ethan is not lucky to be part of his new family. If he were lucky all of his needs would have been cared for long before he came into our lives. We are, however, all blessed to have each other now, and that brings great joy. I wish that same joy for all of the children waiting to be adopted. It is also the joy we wish for those considering the idea of adoption.
Names have been changed and photo is for representation only.