The mother and daughter sat silently at the table rolling out play dough and carefully cutting it into shapes, while I chased my boy. He stole stickers off the craft table and stuck them on the walls, jammed a piece of plastic ham in the mailbox, snatched a ball from the curly-haired toddler, tried to climb the gate and bounced around the room shrieking with happiness. The quiet Mom caught my eye and asked, “Why?”
She was asking what most people think, but few actually ask. Especially when they hear that he has three older sisters. Why another? Why adoption?
Why DID we adopt the boy?
Because he needed us.
We are so blessed. We want to give back. We want to make a difference. We believe we were put on this earth to make it better.
Parenting is one of the most meaningful things we do. We enjoy it. We’re not perfect, but we’re not Springer material most days. We have a special skill set as parents of a special needs child. We experience a level of chaos and neediness in our home that is not going away anytime soon. Why not add another one to the mix?
There are so many children who need stable, loving homes.
We have a stable, loving home.
Why did we adopt the boy?
Because we needed him.
We had always planned to have more children, but after B I wasn’t able to. That agreement we made in high school to have 4-5 kids certainly wasn’t binding, but I had a deep longing for another child; Glen had a deep longing to keep me happy.
We had discussed adoption since Glen’s first visit to a Russian orphanage. I have several cousins who are adopted through foster care. It was always an option for us. It had intrigued us from the beginning.
No matter how many times we tried to scuttle this crazy adoption dream, it wouldn’t go away. Our family didn’t seem finished.
We were missing someone.
Why did we adopt the boy?
Because we wanted to.
Because we had room.
Because it seemed like a good idea at the time.
I flipped through my mental rolladex, trying to come up with the right answer for Playgroup Mom. I’m pretty sure I stuttered out some combination of all the above. Because the answer that popped into my head right away would have made little sense to her.
We adopted him
Because he’s our son.
All the reasons we had to start out with are still valid, but on this side of adoption they seem too small. It isn’t just about us. It isn’t just about him. He is ours, because it was meant to be.
It was God’s plan.
This is a phrase that has been so often misused and misunderstood that it makes my skin crawl to write it. But there’s no better way to express the strange sense of “rightness” we feel.
We didn’t receive any signs from above. We didn’t have a mystical experience. We could have, and almost did, walk away from the process. We stuck it out, with all our uncertainty, until we read about THIS toddler. Then we knew. By the time we brought our boy home, we knew he had been ours all along.
When he was conceived, we were just finishing up our application for social services.
When he was developing in the womb, we were sitting in parent education classes.
When he was born, we were renovating our house to make room.
When he was being rocked by foster mom for the first time, we were waiting for our social worker to call.
When he was celebrating his first birthday, we were sweating our way through home study visits.
When he was pulling himself up to stand for the first time, we were disappointed with another adoption lead that went nowhere, and beginning to wonder if there was a child for us at all.
When he was taking his first step, we were reading an email about a little boy with a big smile and energy to spare, who seemed like just the right fit.
Mary Hopkins-Best studied hundreds of adoptive families for Toddler Adoption: The Weaver’s Craft. She found that one of the clearest factors associated with a highly satisfied adoptive family is the “intuitive belief in the rightness of their adoption.” This held true regardless of how difficult the process or how challenging the transition or how extensive the needs of the child. Whether families trust in God or fate or instinct, believing that this is the best decision you have ever made makes all the difference.
So here’s me, where hindsight gives a new perspective. Adoption is about giving. Adoption is about getting. But more than that, somehow, mysteriously, adoption is about finding each other.