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Kinship Care: More Than Stand-ins
The night before we were set to get on a plane from Houston, Texas to Beijing, China I was filled with a deep sense of mourning.
I know that is probably not the first sentence you were expecting to read on a post about adoption. It was the emotion no one told me about; the one I was not prepared for. I was suppose to be excited even giddy, but here we were less than 24 hours from boarding a plane to go get our little girl and I had a heavy heart.
Why? Because I realized that our daughter had no idea that in less than a week she was going to leave the only normal she had ever known. Her foster family, her caregivers at her orphanage: the only people who had ever shown her love. The thought of her being so confused and possibly completely shutting down from being removed from the only normal she had ever known was heartbreaking.
The closest thing I can compare it to is getting your child vaccinated. When you take your child to the doctor to get their vaccines, you know that despite the fact that this is going to bring temporary pain to them, it is the best thing for your child. So you help the nurse hold your child down while he/she is painfully poked and prodded, because even though it may just break your heart watching it all happen, it is absolutely what is best for them.
I know that having a family is what is best for our daughter. It is what she needs and what she deserves. And so for that reason, despite the grief and mourning, we got on the plane the next day to offer what I hope is the best family she could ever imagine.
But Kennedy was not the only child I was mourning for, I was also mourning for our three biological children as well. I was mourning for the fact that this was also our last night as “Jones Party of Five”.
As I watched my three kiddos pray for “baby sister in China” for the last time, I realized our family would never be this again and my three oldest had no concept of what that meant. They don’t understand that we will probably have some very rocky roads ahead of us. That there will be times in which they are going to be hurt and confused as a by-product of this decision, but watching what God does through this and the character it will develop in them is absolutely what is best for them.
A death of what has been normal, in order to give birth to something beautiful…
And now that we are eight months post adoption, the beauty of our new normal has blown us away. The timid 21-pound 2 year old that we became “Mommy and Daddy” to on March 9, 2015, is now our rather sassy and boisterous 31-pound almost 3 year old! We have seen her personality come alive, from her absolute love for Elmo to her monumental melt-downs when she doesn’t want to share with her brother that is only 15 months her elder. Every morning before my 9 year old heads to school, she is sure to come in her little sister’s room, get in the crib with her and cover her in hugs and kisses before heading out the door. My 6-year-old son has taught his little sister how to kick a soccer ball, sword fight and drink from a juice box. But I think that the most beautiful thing that has come from this journey is the many other families in our church, social media circles and community that have contacted us with questions over adoptions and what that may look like for their family.
Making the decision to become Kennedy’s family is the scariest, hardest, most meaningful thing we have ever done with our lives. But even on our hardest day, I would never want our old normal back, because our new normal is more beautiful than I could have ever imagined.
Dillon International is an experienced Hague-accredited adoption agency with an excellent reputation at home and abroad. Headquartered in Tulsa, Okla., Dillon has regional offices in Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, Texas, and California. Families in all 50 states can be served.Learn more, see kids, or contact agency 7335 S Lewis Avenue Suite 204 Oklahoma
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