A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Orphan Sunday


I woke up this morning to Orphan Sunday splashed throughout my Facebook feed.  People are advocating, and it's good to bring awareness to the issue.  To those who disparage the 143 million orphans number touted by many, I say, that's fine.  What about 1 million orphans?  Is that okay??  What about a thousand orphans?  Surely no one can deny that there are a thousand orphans.  And yet, who can wrap their head around such a number?

I'm in a weird place, this Orphan Sunday.  In years past, I used to resent that our church did nothing to acknowledge it.  Yet living in the wake of a not "happily ever after" adoption, I'm much more reserved in my feelings about adoption.

My advocacy shirts have become pajamas.  I can't bring myself to wear them out of the house any more.

While I would love nothing more than to plaster these beautiful faces out there as the success story of adoption, I now realize that would be doing a disservice to the families who end up like us.


I love my girls.  I'm grateful that I get to be their mom.  I can hear them downstairs laughing right now, and it makes me smile.  Their adoptions have been beautiful, and it's a privilege to help them learn English, and fit into our family, and see their medical needs met and watch them grow and change.

But the system is broken.  I don't know how to make it better, and maybe it never will be in this fallen world, because, hello? kids are supposed to be raised by their parents.  No longer can I blindly advocate that everybody should consider adoption.  I don't believe any more that if you "step out in faith everything will be okay."  I think that, in general, social workers have gotten away from best practices, and are allowing families to push the envelope.  No one means any harm.  The thinking is, "Better for that child to be in a family than spend their life in an orphanage, right?"  Only, I'm not even sure I believe that any more.

Adoptive parents have gotten "entitled" as well.  Not all, but some.  There are those who will tell you that you might have to "shop around" to find a social worker that will approve you for 2 at once/adoptions less than a year apart/adopting out of birth order/taking on more than you can handle.

Those situations are called risk factors for a reason.  There is a risk.  No one wants to think about it, prospective adoptive parents don't want to hear about it, and nobody wants to live it.  Yet for all the dozens, if not hundreds of "happily ever after" stories, there's a percent of stories that go untold.  The stories where families struggle and have regrets.

Adoption can be beautiful.  I know that, and I believe that with all my heart.  But it can also be a disaster.  Please, if you're considering adoption, take off the rose colored glasses and have the hard conversations with your spouse.  Talk about all the possible "what if" scenarios you can think of.  Seek out the fostering and adoptive families you know.  Get to know them; listen to their stories.  Think about how you would handle the challenges they face.

I've wondered if God allowed us to adopt Luke because He knew I'd never feel "finished" until I was completely overwhelmed.  I don't like to think that fits with His character, but the thought is there, nonetheless.

My biggest regret is how things have changed for our other kids, since bringing home Luke.  Being unable to go out to dinner as a family to celebrate a birthday might sound trivial, but I grieve for things like that.  Things that used to be "family" events have now become a "divide and conquer" mission for us as parents.  It's not fair to the kids.

As Orphan Sunday draws to a close, yes, consider what you can do to help children in need, both here and around the globe.  But don't get so caught up in the emotional frenzy that you make decisions that ultimately harm the ones you love most, your family.

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16 comments:

  1. Big, big hugs, my friend.

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  2. Please keep telling your story. -- I have been watching from afar as a family I barely know is in the process to adopt two children at once, both with severe special needs. They have adopted before. They probably are as prepared as possible, but ... oh boy, I worry about them.

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    1. Thank you. I remember thinking we could handle anything, since we had a vast amount of parenting experience and a prior adoption. I was so wrong. If you're close enough to offer to help them out, they may not think they'll need the help now, but they surely will later.

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  3. I recently watched a Netflix movie that really spoke to me, "The Darker Side of Love". Actually it really wasn't that 'dark', but it was a movie about the realities of adoption from other cultures/countries and how some children have a lot of trouble adjusting. This family turned out well in the end, but it reminds us of having to be willing to count the cost in these situations.

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    1. I'll have to watch it, thanks for mentioning it to me!

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  4. I love when you update us on Luke. I have followed you from the beginning of your journey and am heartbroken for all of you. I admire how you continue to search for answers for Luke and do all you can to help him given the turmoil over the situation. Thank you for your honesty and for continuing to post about Luke, I know it can' t be easy, but for those of us who feel invested in your story, the updates are meaningful. Keep up that positive attitude and please continue to update us on sweet Luke.

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    1. Thank you. Sometimes I feel like a broken record. I know no one wants to hear, "No progress," over and over again.

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  5. You are wrong, we do want to hear "no progress" or whatever else you want to vent about, even if you are having a bad day and need to tell someone. Tell us. Please reach out and tell us anything and everything about Luke. We care.

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  6. Wow! I have a lot of respect for you and your husband adopting all of these children. What a wonderful deed! These children are lucky to have you. Wishing you all the best and thanking you for sharing your story at the #SHINEbloghop.

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    1. I'm very lucky to get to be my girls' mom. :) They are a delight.

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  7. Scheki - It's delightful that you "learned" your lesson on why high-risk adoptions (2 unrelated kids simultaneously) are a bad idea.

    But you are the one who pushed for it - had the first social worker refused to approve your family, you'd be just hired a different one.

    That's the crux of the problem: You refuse to learn from OTHER people's mistakes. You & pretty much every single other adoptive parent on the planet flat-out refuse to see the risk/potential downside to adoptin until you've acquired however many adopted kids you want.

    The only thing that stopped you is Luke not being the kid you expected, but rather the kid you describe as the band of your existence and refer to by the vile r-word.

    I happen to think you for EXACTLY what you deserved. You were selfish, wanted to buy two kids simultaneously, against all sane advice -- and, well, you deserve 100% deserve the mess you're in. (Luke doesn't deserve it, your other kids don't deserve it, but you & hubby 100% do!).

    It's actually sort of amazing (to watch The Lord at work, inflicting consequences like Luke on you, and lots of other APs, who totally deserve what they've got) & horrifying to see kids (many of whom had families that loved them & didn't even need to be adopted in the 1st place) get what they deserve too!).

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    1. Thank you for your comment. You obviously have some strong feelings about adoption.

      Just to clarify, we would not have shopped for a different social worker, had we not been approved for 2 at once. We were actually at the end of the homestudy when we asked for that, and we would not have wanted to slow down our process to get to Katie, who was pre identified before we started the adoption process.

      I'm sad to have you rejoicing at our struggles, but you are, of course, entitled to your opinion.

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  8. Thank you for sharing your heart. Adoption is a great thing, but it is NOT always an easy thing. It is important to let people know that. Be encouraged, you followed God's leading - He gave you more than you expected, but the situation is still in His control. May He continue to give you and all your family grace, patience, wisdom and strength to keep loving even in the hard times. Even in this He is preparing them for His plans for their futures.

    I think its definitely important for people to be aware of and care for orphans - that's why I wrote about so many ways even those not called to foster or adopt can get involved.

    Blessings,
    Abi

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    1. Thank you. You have a lot of great links there, for people looking for a way to get involved. :)

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