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Shonni and Steve live in Colorado and are the parents of ten beautiful children (three by birth) from from China, South Korea, Vietnam, Tulsa, OK, and Liberia, West Africa. Because RainbowKids.com is focusing on the adoption of boys this year, Shonni agreed to share her family's experience in adopting their sons. Thank you, Shonni!
As I began to write this article, two of my sweet boys have walked up to me and started talking about, well, sweet boy things, like the funny song that was playing, or lunch and when's snack. One leans over to me and whispers in my ear "You're the best mommy I ever had!" Boy, that one gets to me every time!.
Another son, my sweet, wait, sweet is not always the best word to use for him, lets try adventurous and curious, two year old is in the bathroom wetting some toilet paper to "clean" his nose. At least he threw it away when he was done. Yesterday he thought it would be fun to paint with toothpaste on the carpet! There's a fourth little boy around here somewhere and I might need to find out what he is up to before I keep writing.
O.K., I'm back after blowing bubbles with some little darlin's. Steve and I knew before we were married that we wanted a large family. Our first child, a son, was born after a very difficult pregnancy. He was followed by two beautiful girls born after even more difficult pregnancies. After the third birth, we knew adoption would be our choice for growing our family in the future.
Years ago, I was driving home from town when I heard an adoption agency spot on the radio about little girls in China who needed loving families. Just eighteen months later, Steve and my mother walked off the airplane with our new daughter. Steve put this frightened baby girl into my arms as I cried with several dozen friends and strangers watching. Our little Kiana did what any normal child would do; she screamed and squirmed to get away from me and back to Steve. I didn't take it personally, though. I knew we were just beginning our relationship together.
Steve and I had no idea at the time that a seed for the orphans of the world was being planted in our hearts and would grow larger than we ever imagined. As we were considering adopting again, we heard about the waiting boys of S. Korea . At the time there was a wait for the girls, but no wait for the boys. We didn't care - boy or girl; after all, if we were adding to our family through birth, we would take what ever God gave us with joy. So we didn't feel it was any different with adoption. Not five months after sending in our paperwork, we were matched with a beautiful baby boy. Landon Craig was escorted home to us (Kiana says he came by mail-ha). He was a round and beautiful little boy who was hungry and wanted to be fed Right Now!
Our family's journey through adoption continued as a vision took shape. Again, the plight of waiting children prompted Steve and me to move forward with a long and difficult struggle to bring home our next son Garett. He was worth EVERTHING we went through (or course they ALL are!).
After this, God begin to stir in our hearts the needs of the birthmothers here in the US . We had heard of an amazing crisis pregnancy center in Tulsa , OK that was very respectful and considerate of the birthmothers. We liked this, and also knew that families were needed for bi-racial or African children. Two years later, at mid-night, we received a phone call from our birth-mother, who had just chosen us to parent her baby a few weeks before. Steve answered and said "Oh, Wowhere I'll let you tell Shonni". I heard our birthmother say "it's a boy!". Oh My Gosh, that was so amazing! Kalyn (our oldest daughter) and I flew out right away to meet our birthmother and receive our new son. She was a beautiful, sweet spirited, but unmarried 19 year old and knew that she was unable to parent this little boy. In the hospital, I experienced something new in our adoptions: a circle of love. Two mothers brought together by a beautiful baby. We have since heard that some parents will decline to adopt a birthmother's baby if it is a boy. My heart is so sad by that. I want to say "please don't be afraid".
At this point for us, adoption was not only a way to bring these little blessings home, but our hearts were also stirred by the ones that wait. We were watching a program on T.V. about some orphans in S. Africa . An older African girl described the orphans of her area as the 'forgotten, forsaken ones'. Her label for these precious children, including herself, broke our heart. Steve and I knew then that the seed God had planted was now growing into a passion to advocate for the fatherless; who ever they may be, what ever sex they are, and with what ever handicap they might have. Not long after this, we were blessed to bring home a daughter from Liberia , followed by a sweet baby boy from Liberia . When we found out that his sister had been put in the orphanage, we begged, borrowed and stole (not really stole, begged some more) money to bring her home. It would be a whole different article about how amazing it has been for us to meet the birth families of our African children; and, we have never regretted being apart of their stories!!
I would ask anyone considering adoption, to please consider the boys who wait. They are so precious and so fun!
Visit Shonni's blog at Nation's Around Our Table. The Hassoldt's are currently waiting to be matched to their 11th child, in Africa.
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