To open your heart to a child who may or may not remember her biological parents. Or is attached to an auntie. To be bringing home a child who has already developed a personality and habits. To be bringing home a child whom you may have chosen to name after yourself (Ruthi) only to have her tell you she already has an English name (Vicky). To have a child who needs cuddled, held and comforted who is the same height as you and yet they DO fit on your lap. To meet a child who is so frightened that her cries are forever etched in your memory, but right along side them is the joyful first smile and laugh. To bring home a girl who is so thankful for seconds at the dinner table. Who wants to sleep in the wonderful girlie pajamas yet prefers clothes as she always slept in the same clothes she had worn. To have your daughter tell you that you are a good mom, one that she never had.
Our house is full of everyday conversations about China life. My husband, Claude, and I along with our four sons have added 8 daughters/sisters to our family since 2004. We adopted Kate at 22 months, Addie at 44 months, Vicky at 8, Penny at 11. Then we brought home Gracie and Morgan (9 and 13) at the same time. After them we added Judy at 13 and then Kim at 13 years old. We cannot avoid the conversations as they come up, normally they are all upbeat and interesting. Other times we have comments of “I have a mole that matches my moms right here” (on her neck). These comments are sometimes ones that catch us off guard while other times, “I wondered if I would have to wear four pairs of clothes to be warm in my new house” are absorbed as common.
We have a couple medical conditions that were termed Special Needs: Microtia, bilateral club feet and severe Scoliosis. We raised 4 boys that were rough and tumble guys yet never had a hospital stay, broken bone or any health scares. With Gracie we went thru both feet operated on at same time, lovely pink casts to the knees….with Judy back surgery where she grew 4 inches during the 10 hour surgery. Several of our girls had the “special need” of being an “older child.” In our family the only special need we have really seen is that our daughters needed us as their parents.
We have been in awe of how the girls have adjusted and thrived. Our daughters that were 2 and 4 adapted to English so fast it was amazing. Our daughters that were older were slower to grasp the language, yet Vicky won the spelling bee the first school year! Two of our daughters had very little education and struggled the first years but have truly moved ahead at amazing speed.
We are asked, “how do you do it, are you insane?” We answer the truth, it simply seems natural and we know we have been blessed with daughters who match their brothers. The girls have all blended as family and have forever changed those whome they have touched. We are never arrogant about our success, simply accepting that we have a family unit that works greatly. So much so that we are again on a journey of hiking the paper trail of adoption and are hoping to travel in late June to bring home Wren and Lilly both 12 years old. Yep…we will have four 12 year olds next year. Life is wonderful! Please be encouraged to adopt older children. The forever addition to your family is a life change for everyone.
~Guest post by Ruth.
Waiting Older Girls
Ani is a beautiful girl born September of 2000, she has been waiting for her family to find her for a very long time. She is not shy with strangers and is said to be an extroverted little girl. She will answer any question that guests ask. She likes to play games with other kids, especially the game of hide and seek—in that game, you can hear her happy laugh often. Ani cannot attend public school because of her special need, so her foster mother teaches her every day. She learns quickly and is able to teach other children what she has learned. She is able to take care of herself and sometimes helps her foster mother. Everyone at her foster home loves her. She has repaired meningocele, anal atresia, and a few deformed toes. Ani is on the shared list.
Meet Liberty Belle
Unlike other girls, when Liberty first entered the orphanage as a toddler, she adapted to the new environment and she ate and slept pretty well. She didn’t cry or fuss, and she got along well with the other children. It was as if she had returned to her own home, and the teachers were all happy. Now little Liberty is ten years old (born September of 2003) and bashful, quiet, and gentle and fairly introverted. She can express her own needs, though she is a little afraid of strangers. She is diagnosed with right hemiparesis. Liberty has waited for a family of her own for a very long time. She is now on the shared list. Watch this video of her belting a song into a microphone.
This little 9 year old girl is beautiful, quiet, and shy. Most of her peers have been adopted. Hope is being well loved and cared for at the CWI but she longs for a family of her own. Her special need is low growth development and mental delay. She is in a regular school class with the others her age and likes to draw. She is on the shared list. Hope is just precious and could benefit by a loving family who has the time to invest in her that she needs to learn to trust and receive love!!
Cassidy is a beautiful healthy eleven year old girl with a sensitive special need. She has also waited for a family for a very long time. She is on the shared list. A traveling family met her and she seemed sweet, but was obviously nervous and shy. She spoke some English and her Chinese was clear. She attends school and is a hard worker. When asked, she said she wants a mom and dad.
Tessa is a beautiful eleven year old child suffering from congenital multiple flexion and contracture of joints. At present she can sit with the help of her caretaker, can move her body freely on the level ground, enhances the strength of toes, pick up objects with first and second toes, put small things in order, and draw vertical and horizontal lines with toes. She is a compliant and pretty girl, greets others actively and initiatively, calls “uncle” and “aunt” constantly; when younger siblings fall down or are in danger she will call aunt loudly to stop that happen. She is like an angle, protects younger siblings, but this angel lost her wings. She has good comprehension; when watching cartoon or listening to children’s songs she will sing together, so she likes singing, and she can sing several children’s songs well now. Tessa is also on the shared list and has been waiting for her family for a long time.
For more information on beginning the adoption journey contact the Advocacy Team.