Because everyday, children still wake up in institutions wondering if they will receive enough food and appropriate care, I want to spend the rest of the month covering different ways to solve the orphan crisis.
Of course, adoption is the method that is closest to my heart.
Almost five years ago now, we redeemed the suffering of our miscarriages by desiring to grow our family through adoption. When we refused to let sin and Satan win in that situation however, we had no idea how different our family would become.
As a young woman, I thought I knew exactly what our family pictures would look like. I had predictions for what the future held, but by following God, we’ve been given an entirely different picture.
As a refresher for those of you who have followed our entire journey, and as the backstory for those of you who are newer, I want to share the story of how God painted our family portrait:
(Originally published here on 6/7/2015)
After suffering three miscarriages and a failed domestic adoption, we became first-time parents through a special needs, international adoption.
Our family journey began in 2012 when we gathered our newly-adopted (nuts-o) son from the Chicago, IL airport.
We had previously spent a week visiting this four-year-old boy, Nasko, in his Bulgarian orphanage during the summer of 2011. We learned of Nasko through a local orphan advocacy group, In His Hands Orphans Outreach. Despite Nasko’s incredible speed and his sneaky behaviors, we signed the paperwork while we were in Bulgaria to declare that we wanted him to be our son (yeah, he’s not the only one who is nuts-o). Because of paperwork and the legal process, Nasko then remained in his orphanage for six more months, until his formal adoption day on March 2, 2012.
Nasko has been keeping us on our toes ever since.
He came to us with a severe speech delay (understood Bulgarian, but only spoke 3-4 words), limited cognitive abilities, and minimal fine motor skills. He is also a survivor of extreme abuse and neglect.
He had never been in a family, and he could not control most of his impulses.
He could, however, ride a tricycle two and a half miles without stopping. (No joke. No really, he did that. Daily.)
Following his adoption, Nasko has been diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, Reactive Attachment Disorder, and high-functioning Autism. He shows many signs of being exposed to drugs and alcohol while in the womb.
In 2012, following the birth of our biological son, Louis, we began discussing ways to expand our family again.
Through Project Hopeful‘s advocacy page on Facebook, we heard of a two-year-old boy, Eduards, in Latvia. He was said to have multiple special needs, including an immune disease, hip dysplasia, club foot, scoliosis, and bowel issues.
Because we are clinically insane (the nicer way of saying “nuts-o”), Chance and I thought that sounded fun, so we began the adoption process again.
In July of 2014, we were able to bring Edward into our custody. His adoption did not finalize until December of that year, but he has been with us since the day we picked him up from his orphanage and won him over with Goldfish crackers.
Edward has a strong, independent nature. He has fought and survived through numerous surgeries and life-threatening conditions, and he carries that determination with him into his daily life.
At adoption, Edward was only saying one word in Latvian (Ah-ta, which means, “bye”). Despite only knowing one meaningful word, he has talked/babbled/yakked/sung since the day we met him. Now, we just understand more of it!
Since coming home, Edward has been diagnosed with VACteRL Association. Issues with his kidney (singular) and heart have also been discovered. He’s had his tonsils and adenoids removed in addition to recently recovering from neurological surgery at the base of his spine.
Despite so many medical and physical issues, Edward strives to keep up with his brothers (no small task considering one of them is Nasko! Remember how far he can go on a tricycle?). He loves attention and desires to make everyone smile.
When Chance and I began the adoption process in 2010, we filed a form stating that we were open to special needs adoptions, but we were uninterested in adopting children with autism or with an immune disease.
Considering we now have one of each, we’re collectively holding our breath to see what other children God may have for us in the future.
Adoption is just one solution to the orphan crisis. It is close to God’s heart as it places the lonely in families.
If you are interested in learning more about special needs adoptions, any of the previously mentioned diagnoses, or the adoption agencies we’ve worked with, please contact me.
Adoption has changed our family portrait, and it could change yours as well.