A family unit is a group of people living together in the same household related by blood, marriage, and/or adoption. The familiar lyrics of “first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in a baby carriage,” don’t ring true for everyone. Although it is common for most romantic relationships to eventually want a family together, it doesn’t always go as planned.
I asked two families to share their adoption stories with me. They are very different stories but have one thing in common; their families were made complete by the miracle of adoption.
Connie and Alan
“My husband Alan and I had been married for about six years. We were hoping to have had children by then but it just didn’t happen so we began getting fertility help. After months of being on fertility pills and gaining 50 to 60 pounds and feeling puffy, I gave up on the meds.
We were looking at going to China because we had heard that going through the Chinese consulate was cheaper than going through an adoption agency. There are so many children in the orphanages there. We had made plans to travel there with a friend who spoke the language, but another opportunity came along for us.
A distant relative was president of the Board of Directors for Children’s Adoption Services of Idaho and he called us one morning and told us that they had a baby if we were interested. The expectant mother would have to be flown to Idaho from Georgia and we would have to do the final work in Idaho. We lived in Washington and so we did everything we could to get this process rolling. We had 30 days to get our home study done. We got the call at the beginning of January and she was born on January 29.
We got to take the baby girl home the day after she was born. We were there at the hospital the first day and we met with her birth mother. We were told to bring the birth mother something special so she wouldn’t leave the hospital empty-handed, so we took her flowers with balloons. We knew that she liked silver jewelry so we also brought her two silver necklaces.
I will never forget that day leaving with that baby in our arms. It was a dream come true that we could never have produced on our own and we were so grateful. We were staying at my grandmother’s home and I remember our first family prayer that night. We had so much gratitude
in our hearts for this new blessing in our lives.
Life was beautiful, but when Johanna was about 15 months old, she would go around the house with her baby doll in her arms singing “baby sister, baby sister”. I told Alan it was probably time for us to try to adopt another baby, and he agreed. We were visiting friends in Spokane when another friend who worked for social services saw us. He heard that we had adopted and he asked us if we would like another baby [of a different race.]
We told him we didn’t care what color the baby’s skin was, [we believed] they were all children of God and made no difference to us. In June 1997, we began filling out paperwork for our second baby. When Johanna sat on Santa’s lap, she told him she wanted a baby sister for Christmas. We had our little Natanya in our arms before Christmas. The birth mother was reading through 20 other profiles and she chose us because in my profile I had written something similar to what she had written in her profile and it touched her heart. She felt like we were the family for her baby. What a joy we felt bringing the sweet baby into our home, and her older sister Johanna was in heaven having her own baby sister.
During our adoption processes, I had people tell me, “well at least you don’t have to give birth to your babies, you don’t have to go through that pain.” There are many times that I think I would’ve loved nothing more than to experience a baby growing in my stomach and feeling the kicks and, yes, even the pain of birthing a baby. We miss out on that as adoptive parents,
but there is anxiety that you experience waiting and praying that everything will go well with each adoption. It’s not just an easy way and boom! we have a baby in our arms as some people think.
We went to an adoptive support group and they were many of the families that said they
waited for 2 to 7 years before they [matched], we feel truly blessed that ours happened within 30 days and seven months. We truly felt that God‘s hand was involved in bringing these babies into our home, and will forever be grateful.
There have been many struggles that come with adoption, not just to the parents but to the adoptees as well. Both of our girls have endured so much bullying because they were adopted and because of their biracial status. Our oldest daughter endured so much that it affected her self-esteem, so much anxiety-induced because of the bullying and has been a hardship on her. She has gone through things that have made our lives hard, but she is now 26, has gotten help, and has learned to heal from the past and move on with her life.
We have loved and continue to love our daughters as if they were our own blood. I have always said they are our own blood sweat and tears, we feel truly blessed to have them in our lives. They know that their lives could’ve been so different.
Learn what the girls have to say about their adoption stories and look into the lives of another family who has two biological children and recently adopted a baby girl from a different cultural background.