My name is Linda Kelley and I am happily enjoying retirement after working in the…
Guest Blogger: Big Daddy
After having three biological children, we decided to enter the realm of adoption. We believed that our quiver wasn’t full so the decision was easy. What we didn’t realize is that adoption is HARD. It doesn’t really matter what kind of adoption it is, whether its through foster care, international adoption or one of you own relatives, adoption is not for the faint of heart. However, adoption is very rewarding. To know that you have taken a life into your home that otherwise was not wanted or was being mistreated, abused, neglected, is an amazing miracle. God intended for children to be raised by their parents, but circumstances sometimes does not allow that to happen. That’s why we took the plunge. To care for the orphans.
As for our journey, it has been a wild ride to say the least. We have had a lot of good days and plenty of bad ones. But so far, we have stayed the course. We have tried to instill Godly values in all of our children while teaching them honesty, integrity, responsibility and character. Sometimes we think that we are not making much progress but truly we believe if we are consistent with the kids, they will turn out fine. Each child is different and we have had to learn how to parent each child with their different behaviors and personalities.
I guess at first I was resistant to adoption but after I met the little girl my sister-in-law and her husband adopted from the Philipines, my heart melted. I saw the love shown and given to her and believed I could do the same. So we decided to do it.
Our first experience with fostering to adopt, started out pretty good other than the fact that these children were brought to us and we knew nothing about them. It was hard especially with Shay because she was non verbal at 2 years old. She never did warm up to me very much. Tay on the other hand, was very happy and always smiling. Also, they were very sick…we just could not get them well. Then the day that nearly broke us to the world of fostering/adoption happened. The kids were suddenly taken away from us by the Cabinet. We had no idea….one minute we are raising these kids and the next minute they are gone. We were told the reason but truly believed the social worker lied about us in a court hearing that we were not present at. I was furious and it literally crushed my wife. To this day, she still has the scars of them being taken from us. We just had to believe that the Lord had different plans for us and those sweet children.
At that time we told ourselves we would not go through a horrible experience like we just had but decided to give it another go around. We started fosetering Daniel and Grayce in the spring of 2007. At first, it was really good but we learned quickly how damaged a lot of these children can be who have been in the child services system. To find out the kids you just took into your home were previosly abused is a tough pill to swallow. Having to raise children in the midst of an investigation of abuse and ensuing court proceedings is not the way it should be. But the kids were safe and we did our best to cope with the behaviors stemming from their past. We finally were able to adopt them about two and half years later. Since then, we’ve pretty much run the gamut on ups and downs with them. Some days are good and some days are bad but in the end they are loved and hopefully they will be able to overcome the terrible start they had on life.
Our next adoption was a foray into international adoption. My wife had always dreamed of adopting from the county of Ethiopia and after I met my new nephew from Ethiopia, my sister-in-law’s second adopted child, I was ready to go to Africa. The process was a lot of paperwork and a lot of money. (Not sure why it costs so much to adopt a child who has no home or no one else wants). Within a few months we had a referral and got a picture of our son. It was amazing how we could love someone so much whom we had never met. The anticipation was unbearable. But soon after that, we were able to travel to Africa and meet our son. It was an experience like none other. We got to meet our son and spend three or four days with him. We went to court and were granted the adoption. The hardest part was leaving him there. But we were told that it should only be about 8 weeks before we could come back and bring him home. Little did we know at the time that 8 weeks would turn into 14 months.
A huge mistake was made by our home study agency and we were told by the US government that we did not make enough money to bring him home. How ridiculous is that? Its a shame that money, or the lack thereof, keeps so many people form adopting children that need good homes. When we found this out we desperately tried everything we could to get clearance from USCIS but were flat out denied two months later. My wife was crushed beyond all belief. From December 2010 to about November 2011, she was just a shell of a person. Yes, she lived and breathed but that was about it. She was vacant. And there was nothing I could do about it. For me, I believed that there was no way God would allow us to travel 7000 miles to meet a boy and tell him he would be our son, then him not ever come home. Not neccessarily for our sake but for his. He was an innocent child growing up in an orphanage with 50 or 60 other children just like him. But God made a way for us to get our clearance to bring him home and in December 2011, we brought Jude to his forever home. We were made whole.
After we brought Jude home, we thought our quiver was full. But God had other plans for our family. In November of 2015, we had an opportunity to take in our great nephew, Hunter. His mother, our niece, had been in trouble with the law and was not able to take care of him. Hunter had been living with a man who believed he was the father. He had troubles of his own an agreed for us to keep Hunter for a while. We decided to file for emergency custody of Hunter mainly for his safety at the time. The man who he was living with turned out not to be the biological father and we were granted temporary custody of Hunter. His mother got into even more trouble later and was facing a lot of time in prison. She made a very hard yet mature decision to terminate her rights and allow us to adopt Hunter. I can’t imagine how hard that was for her but am very proud of her for sacrificing for her son. Hunter invigorated our family with joy. He has so much energy and is very sweet and funny. However, back in June he was diagnosed with an extremely rare neurological disorder called OMS. It has really been tough because it is a one in ten million case and there is no cure. He has been through a lot already and its been really tough on him and us. But we take it one day at a time and trust in God for healing and comfort.
So to those of you reading this and considering adopting…..do not have preconceived notions of lollipops and rainbows. Adoption is tough and not for the faint of heart. But the rewards are unending. Giving a child a home and stability is a beautiful thing. Children, whether they know it or not, crave structure, discipline and a sense of worth.
Thats the beauty of adoption.