Thursday, September 1, 2011

Effects of an Adoption on Biological Children

Before you make a decision to adopt a child there are many, many things to think about. A big thing we considered was what would be the cost for the children already living in our home (in our case those 3 children are biological).

We weighed the costs we could foresee (and there really were many), for example: less money for things like trips to Disney, further dividing parental time and attention with another sibling, and the issues inherent in becoming and forevermore being a multiracial/multicultural family.

We decided the benefits outweighed the costs, hands down.

There are people who don't see it the same way we do (and some of them have even voiced their concerns to us).

But really the answer became very simple for us. Is this what we feel God is leading us to do? Yes. If we ignore what God is telling us to do, how can we be a family who follows God? There was no answer to that last question. What we want most for our kids' lives is for them to follow God. So we did. Follow Him down a path we still cannot see the end of.

We took our two older children with us to Ethiopia on our court date trip. Ethiopia is not the safest, easiest, most fun trip for children ages 5 and 8 years old if one were ranking destinations. We did it anyway.

I would never change anything about our decisions. The blessings have already outweighed any costs and we don't even have our new little girl home yet. But, I do know life would be easier if we hadn't made the decision to adopt. We could just be a normal family, looking like everybody else, volunteering for the PTO, going to normal summer vacation spots where you can drink the water, talking about the upcoming weekend football games without visions of orphans as far as the eye could see -- hundreds and hundreds of teenagers who have never known the love of a family, malnourished babies with no mommy to hold them and care for them.

If I could go back to the day before I knew an orphan personally, by name (and now I can't even count how many I know), before I'd hugged them, talked with them, loved them, I'd be a more normal mom for these children already living in my home.

I was struggling this afternoon, feeling a bit depressed. We'd gotten the monthly update on how our daughter was doing in Ethiopia. And as grateful as I am to hear she's doing well, I couldn't help the sadness at hearing her daily routine - how she's sleeping, what she's eating and when she takes a bath, because I don't want someone having to tell me those things about my little girl. I want to know them because I'm the one feeding her, bathing her, and putting her to sleep at night!

Later, as I drove to my 3rd grade son's parent orientation night at school, I was reflecting on what an emotional roller-coaster this adoption has been and wondering what toll that has already had on the children currently under our roof.

When I got to my son's reading & writing class, there was a newspaper on each desk that each child had written about himself. The biggest front page article was titled "CAPTURED! My Once in a Lifetime Event!" and the student wrote in the answer from their own life.

My son wrote, "I am adopting a sister. The best moment was when I got to see her that is what the moment was."

Have we made the right decision?

I'll never know because this crazy, hard, beautiful, abnormal life is all we'll know! And at the end of the day, I'm so grateful for it. May my children spend their lives chasing after Him. His will, not theirs, not mine, certainly not the world's!


  1. yes, you have made the right decision and will be blessed beyond measure from having her in your home. I used to hate it when people looked at my adopted kids and said "They're so lucky to have you." Uh, we were, are, the lucky ones.

  2. Love this post. L-o-v-e. I said "Amen!" in my head a bunch of times while reading it. We are the same way! And I know you (and we) have made the right decision. What an honor we have in the opportunity to teach our children about what following God looks like firsthand - even if it means we don't get to go to Disney world!

  3. I hope you don't mind but I happened upon your blog and am so grateful I did. We are adopting two children (siblings) from Ethiopia and our court date is Nov. 7th. We have 6 biological children and after reading about your recent trip to Ethiopia, I have lots of questions. We are really wanting to take our children with us to Ethiopia but I (like I'm sure you did) have concerns. Would you mind emailing me? You have such a beautiful family and It's so nice to know there are others out there experiencing similar emotions. I hope this time passes quickly for you and you'll have your sweet girl home soon!

  4. May God bless you all as you embark on this great journey. God's will isn't always the easy way; I'd say it seldom is. But the rewards will be sweet and rich, in time.

  5. Your children will be changed, but it will be for the better. My parents adopted twin boys (7 months old) from vietnam when I was 7. I had sisters who were 5 and 9 at the time. My brothers are now 16 and just having them in my life has made me such a better person. There were tough times, but in the end it all worked out.

  6. It is SO evident from your heart, your family's desire to follow God's will, and the heart's of your children that you ABSOLUTELY have made the right decision! And as hard as it is to be patient, it's almost as if God has been using this extra time to prepare the hearts of your entire family...with deeper love, yearning and expectation for this new addition to your beautiful that that is what your son wrote on his paper at school-- God is prepping all of your heart's for this wonderful transition and addition to your family.


I'd love to hear what you think!