Why do I do this to myself? Once again I have found myself sitting at the computer and scrolling through photos of waiting kids. I always end up fighting back tears. “Older”…waiting…”special needs”…. They are from Asia, Europe, South America, North America…almost every continent. It’s not pity that brings tears to my eyes… it’s guilt.
I know what these children are capable of. I’ve watched our four adopted kids blossom even after being adopted as “older” children with special needs. As a HS teacher I see students each day from all sorts of backgrounds that amaze me with their gifts and talents. I watch lightbulbs turn on in their minds and a smile (however brief- after all they’re teenagers) fleet across their faces with every accomplishment. All children are waiting to be inspired to unlock what they have within. Some of them have lost the keys and the padlock is rusted… but they still have that glimmer of hope deep inside.
Yet, I look at each child waiting to be adopted knowing that I am not going to help them chisel the rust from their locked up potential. I won’t provide them with the stability and support they need. I’m just another stranger who looked at them and walked on past. Why? We are beyond the age limits and family size to adopt again. Financially we are unable to support more than our family of seven.
And so, the children wait. For what? For you! If only each person who “thought about adopting” actually adopted.
Every adoption starts with a person curious about the process. Jump in and join the fun. Being a parent of any child is full of twists and turns. You will learn to live with French fries between the seats and become a professional at removing stains. You will get used to being late since you were looking for a missing shoe or speeding to a terrifying late night ER visit. You will develop the skill of knowing when the crisis is important or a plea to get their way. Your personal contacts will include the school nurse, counselor and principal’s office. Your nights and weekends will be filled with sports practices, homework assignments and doctor appointments. You will learn to manage tears after failed auditions and team try-outs or even worse- breakups with their crushes. And then… one day you’ll plop down on the sofa and realize what just happened…the biggest adventure of your life.
And you know what? Despite what your 18-20 year old says, they are proud to have taken the journey with you and will never forget the times you shared.
So, don’t just think about adopting. Remove the guilt from those of us who can’t. Take a chance on a kid. Help them find their gifts and talents. Adopt an older waiting child.