Meet my people. Our family began with Big Daddy and me….then entered Victoria, then Alyssa, and lastly Noah. Our story wasn’t finished, though……here is where you can read how adoption changed the lives of my people. The good, the bad, the ugly and how Jesus is at the center…..continuing to write our stories.
When you walk into a room with 7 kids, you tend to get all the strange looks and the stranger comments/questions: “Are they all real?!”, “Your poor mother.”, “I wish I had the strength to do that.”. And my mom would just smile and approach those comments/questions the only way she knew how.
The thing is, the “strength” these people wish they had is not a human strength. You don’t go into adoption on your own strength and your own resources. I remember so many times that my mom would just be mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually drained. It is taxing on everyone in the family, but the rewards are being reaped.
If it weren’t for the divine will of God, we would not have 4 beautiful, talented, amazing kids that no one wanted to give them a chance. What some people fail to remember, is that God gave us a chance. A chance to follow Him and once we decide to do that, He will bless you in ways you cannot even imagine.
Believe, it isn’t like frolicking in the field of roses all the time. It also means hurt, heartache, and exhaustion. But, if it wasn’t for adoption, these kids wouldn’t have the same chance as I did. A chance to be loved, a chance to be a kid, a chance to be someone in this world. And my family wouldn’t have had the chance to grow and become stronger.
So, to answer those questions…. Yes, they are all “real”. They may not be directly related to me, but they are as real as any biological sibling. The connection we have is a deeper one, a connection of the soul and the heart. My mother is not poor, but blessed. She may spend every waking moment being drained, but she is incredibly blessed and she will tell you that all day and all night. And no, that strength you are referring to is not something you possess. It’s the strength of God that put us all together and sees us through every twist and turn.
That’s what adoption means to me.
So, November is Adoption Month and my mom has asked me to write about my experience being a biological child and growing up with several siblings that were not biologically related to me.
The very first thing I remember as a young child was when my mom and dad brought home Tay and Shay. I loved those sweet babies and I treated them like family. Shay was particularly attached to me, she even bit my brother when he was being a turd to me which I thought was hilarious. Tay was just as sweet as could be, he had the cutest laugh and he loved to play and cuddle. And then I remember my mom was really upset one day and then the kids were gone. I was confused because I didn’t know where they went at that time and I didn’t know where they were until I was older. I missed them so much but I knew not to ask questions about it until my mom healed from that tragic time.
And then Grayce and Daniel came along a little while later. Grayce was 6 and Daniel was 2 ½ and I was thrilled to have another sister to play with since Victoria always had her nose in a book (sorry V, I love you though!). So I do not remember the exact day they got adopted but I do remember how hard it was to raise them both, especially for my mom. Grayce always had some sort of behavior and some sort of issue with almost everything and Daniel could hardly talk, and it only got worse as Grayce got older. When we moved to the new house I had to share a room with Grayce while Victoria got her own room, it was hard for me because as I got older and I went through my “rebellious” phase I noticed Grayce would take on my characteristics. I was her role model and she did everything I did. For most of the time we had her, to be honest, I didn’t like her. I was always mad at her because she always lied to me or stole my stuff without telling me, I didn’t like inviting over friends because she would always try to wedge herself into our conversations and make them think she was a perfect angel. I know that seems selfish but it was true at that time. We always fought and most times I really just wanted to live out in the extra room in the garage just to get away from her.
But then I re-dedicated my life to Jesus and I forgave Grayce, although it was extremely hard I still did it. Grayce has had a lot of trouble these past few years and it got to the point to where I was in a bawling heap because I tried to show her grace and she could not seem to change her ways and act normal. I thought it was all my fault and I was a terrible sister because she looks up to me and I tried to be the best person I could be for her so maybe she might change her ways. But she didn’t.
That is what is so hard about adoption. It is a hard and beautiful mess but we have to learn to be patient and love that child because we do not know what they went through before they came to us. We have to be Jesus with skin on no matter how hard it might be at times. It was incredibly difficult for me to forgive and forget but with God’s help anything is possible.
So I try to be the best role model I can be for her and I always tell myself that her whole situation is not my fault and that I am doing the best I can to be the best sister to her since she never really had a good sister figure. So, after we got Grayce and Daniel, I was much older and my mom approached me with saying she wanted to adopt from Africa. I was so excited when I saw Jude’s picture! He was the cutest baby with adorable baby cheeks and I couldn’t wait to meet him, but it was so incredibly hard to get him home because we did not have the finances. I had to be put in middle school because Victoria could not watch all the kids and my mom had to get a job and my dad worked as well. I did not particularly like being put in middle school because I do not do very well in social environments but I went anyway to help out my parents. My mom and dad were always tired and something always managed to come up and give us trouble. I remember we set up a vendor at Tater Day to try and raise money to get him home, it took us the longest time to finally get him to America. I remember my Mom was jumping up and down and she was screaming and crying to get in the van and go tell dad that he was coming home. I was so excited!
When he finally did arrive he did not know very much English. He was very shy and adorable. He did have some issues with his anger and frustration because he could not communicate very well with us. Although, he did not have as hard of a time adjusting as the other kids did.
And then, to all of our surprise, we got Hunter. Hunter was still very much a baby and I was a lot older so I knew his situation he was in. I did not think we would adopt him until it actually happened. He had almost no verbal skills, he acted like a dog, he didn’t know how to play, and he had absolutely no social skills whatsoever. And I remember me being so angry with how he was raised and treated because no baby should ever have to go through with what he went through. But then God comforted me and told me that as long as Hunter was safe everything would turn out right, and it did. The “dad” fought for custody but we won and I was thrilled. We adopted him a short time later and he is a precious child. I love him with all my heart.
So, to say the least, adoption is hard. Not only the financial and governmental part of it but the adjusting for the parents and the kids themselves is so hard. I’m not saying adoption is all rainbows and sunshine but it’s not all dark and gloom either. It’s important to find the balance within it all and roll with the punches that come against you. Seeing my mom and dad fight for my siblings has shown me that with love and with God they can do anything, and one day when I am married I hope to adopt children as well. Everyone deserves a chance at being loved and to have a family and I want to share that love and the love of God with every child I meet. I hope this sheds some light on what adoption is and how it is such a beautiful mess. Every child deserves to be loved so please consider and pray about taking in a child and adopting, it is hard but it is an unforgettable journey that God takes you on.
To me, adoption meant more fun and more brothers and sisters. I don’t remember much about Tay and Shay, but I do remember Shay biting me and it hurt. I remember when Daniel and Grayce came to our old house and I thought it would be a lot of fun having them.
When Jude came home, he didn’t speak any English, I stayed up all night because he couldn’t sleep. He also attacked Daniel because of something. Then he started learning English and was actually enjoyable. Sometimes he can be a pain in the butt but he’s family, and I don’t leave family behind.
Hunter didn’t speak when he came home. He had mats in his hair and his hair was long. When we got tubes in his ears he started talking immediately. He started walking and has been adorable since. When he was adopted, mom started crying. It was a great day when he came home.