My mom jokes that my dad got two for the price of one when they were married. I couldn’t have been older than three years old, two years after my parents met. My birthfather disappeared months earlier, a common story shared by many occupation children everywhere the US military has it’s footprint. Committed to our family, my dad was determined to make it official by formally adopting me before my sister was born in 1985.
I can’t remember a time when my dad wasn’t in our lives. Every memory includes him. My parents’ wedding, my baptism, family vacations, the adventures of military life; he is an intricate and pivotal part of all my memories as a child. I don’t know what kind of life my mother and I would have had if he hadn’t come into our life. I surely wouldn’t have had nearly the amount of opportunities in my life. I wouldn’t be as stubborn or determined to build a life that is mine, if it weren’t for him. He has taught me compassion, perseverance, and determination like no other. I couldn’t have asked for a better father!
While adoption clearly has played a significant role in my family’s life, I only recently realized the impact it has had on those around me, or rather, the extent to which it has. Two Sunday’s ago at The Well (for those of you new to these parts, that’s the church I attend), we had the privilege of witnessing a presentation that highlighted three very different experiences with adoption – trans-national and trans-cultural/racial adoption, inter-family adoption, and the perspective from a birthmother who chose an open adoption. The extent to which adoption as touched my church community and wider circle of friends is breathtaking:
My friend and Pastor, Todd Hiestand and his family adopted their second son from Guatemala. I’ve seen how that bond has shaped the ways he, his family and his community have continue to engage in Guatemala and the local Latino communities around him.
A good friend of mine and her husband will be traveling to Cambodia in 2011 to adopt their new baby girl.
Friends in Germany adopted twin boys more than five years ago and are in the process of adding another member to their family.
A couple at church, who I have had the opportunity to get to know over the past few months, have continually opened their home and lives to foster children, and I hope that adoption is in God’s plan for them really soon!
I am excited to see how adoption continues to shape my life and the lives of those I care about!
As November is National Adoption Awareness Month, I want to take this opportunity to express my gratitude, which I don’t express nearly enough:
Thank you to my dad for having such a big heart, for opening his life not only to my mom but to me, and for being such an incredible example!
Thank you to all of the birthparents who had the courage to let go!
Thank you to all the individuals and couples who opened their hearts and homes to children so desperately in need of loving families!
Thank you to the communities that embrace those who are walking the path of adoption and freely join them on the journey!
Please share your adoption story! How has adoption changed your life or your community?