Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Adoption Seeds

My friend Heather started a conversation on her blog asking people to post about their "adoption seeds"--how we came to choose adoption. What a fun thing to think about in the midst of a very dramatic week in international adoption! I think I shall take a little brain vacation now and reminisce....

I don't know of any one thing that opened my heart to adoption. When I was in my late teens my father and step-mother adopted a mentally disabled child through the foster care system, so in that way adoption wasn't foreign to me. But I don't remember it being anything that resounded in my heart at the time.

My family was NOT diverse (at the time). I don't think we had any family friends that were anything but white. We were your typical myopic Southern family. Good folks with limited life experiences. I'm just saying--nobody would have *EVER* guessed that I would grow up and have four kids from three different countries (although my family has never been anything but accepting!). Graduating from college was the new big thing in my family, not adopting babies from foreign countries!

I suppose that university really had a lot to do with expanding my life experience beyond my own back yard. For the first time I interacted with people who didn't come from the same background as me--immigrants and international adoptees.

When Eric and I married we planned to have two biological children and then adopt two children. It was our plan. I don't remember any life-changing moment that opened my mind to adoption.

When we got married we were pretty much immediately open to having children. It didn't happen. After a few years it was obvious something wasn't working. We did initial infertility tests and confirmed that the chances of us having a biological child without "extraordinary efforts" was very, very small.

I will never forget sitting in the OB/GYN's office. She comes in and tells me we can't make our own kids (without a lot of intervention) as if she were giving us the news that we'd be eating Mexican for lunch. I was really REALLY disappointed, but I remember saying, "It's okay. We planned to adopt anyway. We'll just adopt." This woman looked at me and said, "Oh, they'll never let you adopt. You're overweight and Eric is a Diabetic." In one moment the woman took all of my hopes for parenthood away! I was okay with not having biological babies, but not to be a mom? I remember sitting in the parking lot, bawling, thinking about all of the children's books I had already collected for my future children. I could not NOT be a mom!

Of course, the OB/GYN was totally wrong. OF COURSE WE COULD ADOPT! We were just too young and naive to know that. In looking back at it I suppose she was just trying to get more business--pushing us into those extraordinary measures!

Within 24 hours of finding out we couldn't make babies I was knee deep in adoption research. I honestly think from that day forward I carried the passion for adoption that I still have to this day. For us it never felt like a second choice. It was just a logical alternative, and definitely the way God chose to grow our family.

Adoption is not only the way God built my family, but it's also the way that my world has been expanded. It's through all of that research that I learned about all of these amazing places of the world! [Changing countries does that!] Russia, then Western Samoa, then Cambodia, then Haiti, then Vietnam, then Liberia, then Ghana, and still always learning about new possibilities (in Togo, Uganda, Burkina Faso, etc.). I am richly blessed in many ways by adoption. I don't know when my seed was planted, but it has certainly flourished!!


Heather 9:27 PM  

Ugh! That OBGYN! Oh. My. Gosh! Don't you just love doctors that need a refresher course in bedside manor!

Oh, and I love the Kendi post! It's funny though, when I read that, I had TOTALLY forgotten her first first name. I just don't think Mable would have done her justice.

A. Gillispie 9:46 PM  

You forgot her name was Mabel?! There were some families that only knew her as Mabel and were NOT to happy that we were changing it! Around here she is Kendi Mae, Kendi Mabel, Mae, or Mabel. She'll answer to just about anything! [It's pronounced like "May-belle" in Ghana. Prettier that way.]

Arnold family 9:48 AM  

So sad that doctor would give her opinions on being able to adopt with-out knowledge. Brent & I were going to adopt first and never have bios,but God wanted us to have two bios and then adopt twice and maybe 3 times. Thank goodness God gives us the plans!So grateful for your insight!