National Adoption Day

by Buzz on 23/11/2015

Tony Bella Ana Hawaii

Tony, Bella, and Ana discovering the Pacific Ocean.

I overshot this one by a couple of days (National Adoption Day is the Saturday before Thanksgiving) but I’m still going to cite it:  November is National Adoption Month and the 21st was the official National Adoption Day.

Our family has been blessed with three siblings — I call ‘em “the terrific trio” — whom my daughter and son-in-law adopted.

Heather and Bobby had decided waaaay back when they were in high school that they wanted to adopt in addition to any biological children they might have.  After they were married and their jobs and careers had stabilized to the point where they could start having a family[1], they began the adoption process.

It took several years.  There were psychological profiles that they had to complete, training classes where they were taught what to expect and how to cope, even we grandparents-to-be were checked out and CPR certified before the state would even think of letting Heather and Bobby actually meet potential adoptees.

Once they passed that hurdle, the process of matching them up began, and it was not easy.  Heather and Bobby opted to be available to adopt two slightly older siblings instead of infants[2].

Time and again they were told of potential matches, and time and again it fell through for a variety of reasons.  Weeks became months became years.

Feeling frustrated, they were about to drop out of the process when they were told about three young children, a brother and two sisters, who were older than the age range Heather and Bobby had been considering, but who were literally on their last leg in the adoption system:  If they weren’t adopted together ASAP, family services would split them up and put the older children in foster care and the youngest would be separated off for adoption by herself.

Heather and Bobby saw the three young children’s picture and knew they were the ones.  They met them, struck off a good rapport with them, and began the adoption process.

Boy, that sounds so easy — everything was peaches and cream and the bureaucracy fairies magically sprinkled pixie dust all over everything and made the process as smooth as silk.

It wasn’t.  There were still frustrations and friction points, delays and detours.

The children were friendly but wary[3] and there was some baggage that had to be unpacked.

But, oh, those children!  How could anybody not fall in love with them?  Bella and Tony and Ana filled a hole in our hearts that we never realized was there.

And the great thing about the adoption process is this:  We are family.

Don’t get me wrong, these are not three little angels who are absolutely perfect in every way:  These are three mischievous little kids who bounce on furniture, tease each other, yell indoors, “forget” to do their homework, and sing “John Jacob Jingleheimer-Smith” at the top of their lungs on long car trips.[4]

They have their bad moments, just like any other kids.  And they have their good moments, and they have their fantastic great moments as well.

Just like any other kid given half a chance.

So that’s how I want to end this:  Soon-ok and I are delighted to have three brand new grandkids in the family.  They are no longer “adopted”, they are family, they are part of us, part of our lives, and God willing we will be part of theirs for many years to come.

Adoption is not for everyone[5] but for those who can, it’s a blessing.[6]

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[1]  This is a really important point to sink in to young people.  It never hurts to make sure your relationship is solid and you have the time and energy to raise children before you start having them.  Tragically, too many young couples aren’t ready and as a result too many children enter the adoption / foster care system instead of being raised in a stable home by loving parents.

[2]  Heather did her typically meticulous research and found that siblings who were adopted together responded better to their new parents and felt more safe and secure.  Toddlers or slightly older children would have their basic toilet training and language skills so they could communicate easier with adults.  This does not mean, of course, that everybody should adopt older siblings, just that there are plenty of children out there that need parents and it’s possible to find a match that’s good for everyone.

[3]  As well they should have been.  It is not my place to tell their story, but I hope someday they feel ready to share it with the rest of the world so others can know not every situation is hopeless, not all adults are untrustworthy.

[4]  I taught them that.  Heather and Bobby have vowed revenge.

[5]  Soon-ok and I discussed it when we were Heather and Bobby’s age but realized we were not cut out to be adoptive parents.  Adoptive grandparents, yes.

[6]  And yes, not every adoption story has a happy ending.  But stories where children get adopted and become part of a new family are far more likely to have happy endings than stories where children are left in bad situations, indifferent foster care, or institutionalized.

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