I was asked to share about our adoption of Emmaline with my Mom’s church fellowship group, but I had many reservations because I was not ready to share. Much of my hesitation was due to our still working through various problems we have encountered along the way.
Thankfully, I was able to share with some 15-20 women today. After I shared some prepared content, the time was opened up for questions from the group. Below are the questions they asked me along with my answers. I hope that the below will help others understand more about our experience adoption. As I shared with the group, it was my utmost desire to glorify God in what I said and be completely truthful to the group.
Q: Why did you choose to adopt even though you already had two young children of your own at the time?
A: Both my husband and I believed it was God’s will for us to adopt when we read and considered James 1:27 concerning caring for widows and orphans in their distress. We felt burdened to give an orphan a future and a loving home. Just as God has adopted us through His saving grace, we too wanted to show this kind of love to an adopted daughter.
Q: Were you and your husband in agreement to adopt?
A: Yes. Both of us felt burdened at the same time. After discussing the possibility of adopting, we both decided it was perhaps not the right time yet. However, after deciding not to pursue adoption, on the following day both of us, separately, felt deeply burdened to open up our home to a needy child.
Q: What kind of problems does your daughter have?
A: When we adopted her, she was nine months old. Because she was in a orphanage for the first 9 months of her life, she did not have proper emotional and attachment development so she did not trust us when we brought her home. It took about a year for her to learn how to trust us. She also has chewing and eating problems for which we are seeing a feeding specialist.
We discovered when she was 17 months old that both hips were dislocated (out of joint) which required two surgeries to correct the problem. After the surgeries, she was placed in a full body cast for 9 weeks and then a soft brace for 3 months. She’s now walking almost normally, but we continue to monitor her progress in this area.
Q: Did you know beforehand that your daughter had physical problems?
A: No. None of the problems we discovered was known to us. There was no way of knowing.
Q: Even though you requested a healthy child, how did you feel or think that you were given a “special needs” child instead?
A: It has been very hard, and at times, I’ve questioned our decision to adopt. However, we know for sure that it was the Lord who gave us our daughter. He was the one who brought her into our care. We had always said that no matter whom we’d get, we would accept her. Adopting a child is not like buying merchandise where we can simply return or exchange it if we don’t like it.
Q: Have you and your husband disagreed or fought more because of her?
A: Yes. Our adoption experience had been difficult and we have had many disagreements along the way. However, we see this trial as a sanctifying process from God so that we may grow as Christians. We have learned much through this painful process.
Q: Did your parents disagree or agree with your decision to adopt?
A: Both sides of parents did not accept the decision, especially initially, though for different reasons.
Q: Do you have to discipline your daughter differently from the other children because of her background?
A: No. However, each child is different, so I do end up disciplining and training according to each child’s personality and uniqueness; not related to whether that one is adopted.
Q: Will you tell your daughter that she is adopted in the future?
A: Yes. I have no problem in explaining to her that she’s adopted. I will only plan to explain it to her when she feels securely rooted in our love for her.
Q: Do your children understand that she’s adopted and how do they treat her in light of that?
A: My oldest understands while the other two are too young to grasp the idea. Whether they understand or not, they all embrace her as a real sibling. They don’t see her any differently.
Q: You have four little ones, how do you manage everything?
A: I do a lot of multi-tasking. Whenever I’m homeschooling my oldest in the morning, I’m usually feeding the baby or the two-year-old at the same time. I make sure the younger three take their naps everyday, and I usually use this time to homeschool my oldest. All the kids go down around 8:30 pm and after that I can clean the house, work on the computer, chat with my husband, or read.