Q: Can you tell us a little about your family?
My husband David and I are high school sweethearts. We met when we were 15 and 16 and have been married for 11 years. We have four children: Noah, 8 (biological), Micah, 6 (biological), Emma, 5 (biological) and Elijah 5, (adopted)
We live in Virginia Beach which has been our hometown since we were children. Our son Micah was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder when he was 3.5 which familiarized us with the world of special needs parenting. I am a stay at home mom but am going back to school for a Masters in Social Work this fall.
Q: What led you to adopt from China?
My husband used to work for America Word Adoption Association and often traveled to orphanages in China. I once got to accompany him and it opened my heart to China. Previously I had wanted to adopt from Russia or the Ukraine. Meeting the children in China and seeing the need their sparked my desire.
Later, when learning about the special needs waiting list and how many children were waiting for homes, I knew that China was the right place for us to adopt from. Also they are very organized and only having to travel one time was very helpful with three other little ones at home.
Q: Which province is your child from?
Elijah was found and lived at an SWI in Yangling, a small rural town in Shaanxi China.
Q: What special needs are represented in your family?
Our son Micah has Autism Spectrum Disorder and a repaired Cleft Palate. Elijah has Cerebral Palsy (Hemiplegia and Diplegia).
Q: Favorite aspect of adoption? Hardest?
My favorite aspect of adoption has been watching how our biological children have responded to Elijah. They have been so accepting, loving and patient and truly embrace him as a brother. He also adores them it is beautiful to see how they interact and how much they care about each other even though they have only been siblings for a year and a half. They are truly family.
The hardest aspect has been Elijah’s insecure attachment and his behavior due to grief and trauma. It has been very challenging to navigate his pain and subsequent behavioral issues on a daily basis. The self hate and self harm has been particularly hard on me.
Q: In one or two sentences, what are two tips applying to any part of the adoption process?
Be organized! Binders, Folders, and to do lists!
Q: How has adoption grown/stretched/changed you?
In every way possible! It has stretched and changed my relationship with God, my marriage, my parenting and my view on life. I feel continually dependent on God’s strength and guidance as well as his peace and patience.
Q: Can you share a few of your favorite personal blog posts? Some shared by others on NHBO?
Q: What is your favorite book? Quote? Verse?
I have too many favorite books! Depends on my mood. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald; A Long Obedience in the Same Direction by Eugene Petersen and Redbird by Mary Oliver
Quote: “It is time now for the deepening and quieting of the spirit among the flux of happenings” – Mary Oliver
Verse: Isaiah 43:19 “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert”.
Q: What is something most people don’t know about you?
I love to read and write poetry
Q: Can you share a favorite “mom hack” that makes life easier for you?
Calendars Galore. On My phone, on my wall, and a huge paper planner. I have to write everything down (times, locations, etc.) or I will forget.
Q: If you could share one parting thought with someone considering special needs adoption, what would it be?
It is hard but it is worth it. You can do it. It will change you and change your family and sometimes you will wonder if you made the right decision, but you did.
God is going to see you through the hard days and bring joyful ones as well.