Q: Can you tell us a little about your family?
We are the Ankerich family of 10. We started out with three biological daughters and felt God calling us to more children and became pregnant twice losing both babies. It was a very heart-breaking time for all of us, but God has a much bigger plan for us. He gave us a vision for China adoption.
Q: What led you to adopt from China?
As I said we lost two babies, and our grief was deep. Even our daughters were suffering. One day Scott came home from work talking about a new song by Steven Curtis Chapman called When Love Takes You In. That exact same day Savannah came home to say she had read an article in a magazine at the library about SCC’s family. We talked about it, and Savannah asked us to pray about adopting. Two weeks went by and she asked us again. She also told us she believed we were indeed supposed to adopt and if we didn’t listen to God, He would stop talking to us. We began listening, and He put adoptive families of Chinese children everywhere we went. We began the process to adopt our first daughter from China thinking she would finish out our family perfectly. We had no idea where this journey to China would lead us!
Q: Which provinces are your children from?
We have adopted six times since our first Chinese daughter. She is from Chongqing, as well as two from Fujian, and our other children are from Henan, Hubei, Shanxi, and Guangxi. We have loved every single place we’ve visited and always thought the next was our favorite. Now we can’t pick a favorite and would love to travel back some day.
Q: What special needs are represented in your family?
Our first daughter was adopted as non-special needs before the big slowdown. We waited two and a half years after her before we switched over to special needs and was matched with our second daughter in three weeks with unrepaired tetralogy of Fallot. She had open heart surgery three days after coming home. Our next son has that same need, but he was repaired in China. We also have one more with TOF, spina bifida, and hydrocephalus. One of our daughters was diagnosed as cerebral palsy and lived in a cerebral palsy hospital her whole life but when she was seen by a specialist at home, she did not have it. Praise!
Q: Favorite aspect of adoption? Hardest?
My favorite thing about adoption is watching the transformation of a little caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly. The chances over a matter of months is monumental and then the difference months and years have on them is so amazing. I wouldn’t trade my worst day of adoption trauma for anything. The hard days are worth it. I think the hardest part is the grief our children go through as they transition into everything new and foreign. My heart breaks as we both sit together crying and fighting for the good days to come. The days are long, but the years are short.
Q: In one or two sentences, what are two tips applying to any part of the adoption process?
If I met someone in the beginning stages of adoption I would say:
1. Don’t have any expectations for you or your child. Take it one moment at a time and just do the next right thing. It will all be worth it if you take time to make the moments count.
2. Take your child back in their developmental stages as possible. Diapers, bottles, holding as much as possible, co-sleeping, feeding them every bite, playing baby games to stimulate eye to eye bonding, giving them as much attention as possible. It may seem like a crazy thing to do but chances are your child did not get that when they were babies and toddlers, so the gift of it now is priceless!
Q: How has adoption grown/stretched/changed you?
How has adoption stretched me? I think a better question would be how has it not. I have changed in every way. I honestly think adoption saved me from own self. It saved me from selfishness, entitlement, possessions I didn’t need, wasting time, and a lifetime of frivolously focusing on worldly endeavors. The blood, sweat, and tears of adoption has taught me more about myself and allowed me glimpses of heaven on earth. I truly believe adoption is the Gospel lived out.
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?
My favorite book is always changing. I love the Bible and start my day reading it every morning. I sometimes write on my own personal blog and the name of it comes from my favorite verse, Ecclesiastes 3:11, “He has made Everything Beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”
Q: What is something most people don’t know about you?
Most people would not know I grew up a country girl on a dairy farm. My dad and brother still run our farm, and my children love going there to help and hang out.
Q: Can you share a favorite “mom hack” that makes life easier for you?
My favorite mom hack is laundry! Everyone has it, and it is never done so this is my best advice. Teach your kids to do their own! Can they work an iPhone or computer? Then they can turn on the washing machine and dryer. I promise! I have two people do their laundry together from start to finish… that means wash, dry, fold, and put away. All in one day. They are also in charge of their own sheets and towels. They also do that load on their day too. On the next day, another twosome does that same routine until all parties have done their laundry for the week then we start the loop again. I do take one day for miscellaneous things and they only do their sheets every other laundry day but that’s it. Laundry gets done on a pretty good schedule and I am NOT stressed out. Hope that helps someone!
Q: If you could share one parting thought with someone considering special needs adoption, what would it be?
If I could share one parting thought about special needs adoption it would be, “Do not be afraid of the need”. The greatest need for the children is the love of a family. Love always wins and when they are enveloped into the folds of mercy, grace, nurture, and understanding, love grows everything about them and often heals the hurt which in turn lessons the need. Our opportunity of specialists in the United States is infinite and can be such an amazing resource for our special ones.
If you know your child is your child, choose them and I promise you will be blessed more than you could have imagined. We have a hashtag in the adoption world – “#wecouldhavemissedthis. Do not miss it! The best is yet to come.