Q: Tell us a little about your family.
My husband, Mark, and I live outside Atlanta, Georgia, with our four small people, one biological and three born in China. I am from Kentucky and he is from New York. We met on our very first day at the University of Kentucky.
Q: What led you to adopt from China?
The seed of adoption was planted on my heart as a teenager. When I met Mark, I gave him the head’s up that I was dreaming of adoption. It could have been an easy out for him, but instead, he embraced the dream and it gradually became our shared family vision, even as a dating couple.
Q: Which provinces are your children from?
Evelyn: Jiangsu, but was moved to Heartbridge Healing Home in Beijing
Q: What special needs are represented in your family?
Cleft lip, cleft palate, tethered spinal cord with dermal sinus tract, hernias, anal rectal malformation, neurogenic bladder, hydronephrosis and solitary kidney
Q: What is your favorite aspect of adoption? Hardest?
That there are three funny, spunk-filled, personality-loaded little people with beating hearts around our breakfast table is my very favorite aspect of adoption. It’s an everyday miracle to be called mommy by children born on the other side of the globe.
Helplessly looking into the faces of your newly adopted child and seeing trauma and grief in their tears, their expressions, their coping, and their defenses is the hardest aspect of adoption. Even as parents, we’ll never fully grasp or understand how deep and wide their hurt is, or will be as they grow. You know there are hours, scars, and loses that can never be accounted for, and also know that though your love can help, it can’t erase.
Q: In just a few sentences, share two tips applying to any part of the adoption process.
Waiting Stage: When you are on US soil and your child is in an orphanage, or even a healing home, it is hard to wrap your head around why God wouldn’t want your child in the care of his/her family immediately. Yet, so often, it’s everything but immediate. We wait and wait and our processes bring obstacles. But, if we trust that the Author of Our Stories is who He says He is, we must come to accept that God is ALWAYS at work for His glory and our good. So if he’s asking you to wait, it’s purposeful rather than purposeless. Lean in.
In China/Newly Home: Grace upon grace. Throw grace around like confetti, onto yourself, your new child and all the people in your life. Not only is adoption hard, but it’s sacred, holy work that we enter into with our fully human emotions and fragile hearts.
Q: How has adoption grown/stretched/changed you?
It has demonstrated to me that God is very big and I am very small. My illusion of control over my life and my family has been burst, and though painful, it brings deep release.
Q: Can you share a few of your favorite blog posts shared on NHBO? Some from your personal blog?
I am so very honored to write with an amazing group of talented contributors. Some favorites are Carrie McKean’s “A Birth Story” and Mandy Campbell-Moore’s “Love is Patient”.
My favorite from my own blog is “God of My Children”, because it is so much of what God has been teaching me about parenting.
Q: What is your favorite book? Quote? Verse?
Favorite books: Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry and A Million Little Ways by Emily Freeman. Plus, I’m a Modern Mrs. Darcy fan and love her recommendations.
Quote: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with our one wild and precious life?” ~ Mary Oliver
Verse: Being confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ. Phil 1:6
Q: What is something most people don’t know about you?
I am a dark chocolate, tea, nature, around the table with my people, travel show (I’ll Have What Phil is Having and A Chef’s Life), podcast and all things Fall junkie.
My dream and prayer is that my love of writing and my passion for orphans, family preservation and the nations will combine to give a voice for those in need. If someone will send me to China, Africa or Haiti, I promise to spill as many words as I can to raise awareness and money!
Q: Can you share a favorite “mom hack” that makes life easier for you?
Don’t do everything. Put your kids to work! Even small people can help with around the house chores. Next, force yourself to let their lack of cleaning perfection go.
Q: If you could share one parting thought with someone considering special needs adoption, what would it be?
Tell yourself that the needs on the special needs checklist are not scary, just unknown. Release yourself from savior mode and trust that it is God who provides, heals, goes before us, and hems us in. His resources and His capacity are unlimited.