In this five-part series from 2006, we present the diary of Mary Ella, an intercountry adoptive mom. She shares the journey she and her husband, Wayne, took to Korea to meet their long-awaited daughter, Leelee.
Claire’s 10-year-old son, Adam, was adopted from a Russian orphanage when he was 19 months old. Her second son, Ethan, joined their family from foster care at age 7. In this 12-part series, Claire shares the “fast and furious learning” she and her family experienced when they adopted an older child. This series ran from 2013 to 2016.
There are few things more life- or soul-destroying than clinging to the feeling that you are a victim of your life experiences, and that the world owes you something for the pain it caused you. And there are even fewer things more life- or soul-destroying than not allowing yourself the space to really feel your loss, fear, and longing.
Growing up in foster care, I had great difficulties trusting others because it seemed that everyone was leaving me and often times fear and ignorance prevent trust.
Knowing adoption, knowing love
Sometimes I feel like there’s nothing going on--with adoption, that is. Life is full with school, friends, soccer, baseball, work, field trips, family gatherings, and the endless parade of birthday parties. For us to just stop talking about adoption would be easy, but that would be a shame.
My first encounter with the idea of children in care who needed families was during a church service as a little girl.
The speaker shared unsettling statistics about kids who age out of care and end up incarcerated, homeless, or worse; kids who are separated from their siblings; and young adults who have no place to spend the holidays or summer vacation. I suppose it all resonated with me because I came from a family of five siblings, and I couldn’t imagine my life without them. At that church service I made up my mind that I wanted to adopt older kids one day.
Growing up you see your parents' "mistakes" in raising you, and you swear never to be like them. Then you become a parent.
Suddenly you no longer see your parents as having made mistakes; rather, they were surviving in the forever challenging world of parenthood.
There are a lot of birthdays around here, not to mention the anniversaries of when our kids arrived in our home to stay. This day last summer was the adoption placement date for our youngest son. I remember it well. I often tell adoptive parents (all parents, actually) to keep a journal. It's a great way to keep track of memories, and good for all sorts of recrod-keeping of familiy activities, too. And, in the case of children who are adopted as older children, it can really remind you of where you've come from.
Seven years old, but still just a baby
One of my father’s most ridiculous parenting lines was “Stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about.” As if children are just crying for no reason. As if their spontaneous emotional eruptions need to be stopped immediately for their own good.
Celebrating life’s big moments
When people hear about the work of Celebrants, their excitement reminds me of the importance of stepping intentionally into life’s big changes. People who participate in a Celebrant-led ceremony (such as a homecoming or a baby blessing) experience joy, tears and deep gratitude for the opportunity to respectfully celebrate life’s meaningful moments. Adoptive families, because of the lengthy and sometimes difficult process they have walked through to bring their children home, are primed and ready to share their stories with those they love.