Saturday, October 25, 2008

What the Heck We Were Thinking

I am one of four children.  All of us were adopted.  Todd is from a family in which three of the six kids were adopted.  It seemed very natural to say that we would one day adopt.  

When I realized I was pregnant on our six month anniversary of marriage, I was stunned.  Mostly because everyone is sort of stunned that first time, but also because I had no idea pregnancy could be that easy.  We weren't even trying.  But the month before we had stopped trying not to, so it shouldn't have been that unexpected.  Seriously, though, I had grown up hearing stories of years and years of trying without success, so I assumed that would be us, too.

Apparently not.

When Benjamin was a toddler and I was pregnant with Nathaniel, I saw signs on the New Jersey Turnpike asking for people to volunteer to be foster parents.  I mentioned them to Todd and he said, "Not yet.  Now is not the time."

The same thing happened in between Nathaniel and Caleb.  And again Todd said, "Not yet."

After Caleb was born, nobody who lives with me wanted me to be pregnant ever again.  (I know it's shocking, but I'm not very pleasant while pregnant.)

Todd and I both heard a few news stories on NPR at different times highlighting the difficulties of getting adopted as an older child.  We knew that we didn't need to adopt a baby.  We had been there and done that, and everybody wants to adopt babies.  We wanted an older child, but one that would be enough older than Benjamin that the natural birth order of our kids wouldn't be upset.  So we started looking into what we needed to do to be able to adopt a teenager.

I love the teen years.  They are turbulent and tumultuous.  They are ridiculoulsy hard and really wonderful.  There is so much possibility and experimentation.  It's a great time to figure out how to start as a little kid and end up as a fledgling adult.  

I had a great time teaching middle school students way back when I was still teaching school, and my favorite part of seminary was being able to start my morning off with a bunch of kids whom I both loved and wanted to shake some sense into.  Sometimes all at once.

Our prayers in the last couple of years have included a lot of, "Please let us know if we are doing something completely insane here."  But mostly we feel absurdly calm about the whole thing.  Even when we realize that we are about to have to face driving, dating, and college about ten years before we were initially planning on addressing such things.

There was another element to all of this.  About three years ago, Todd looked at each other and said, "Now what?"  We had three beautiful boys.  Todd had a well paying job that he enjoyed.  We had a nice house in a great neighborhood.  So what was next?  This question led to lots of other questions.  Go back to school?  Career change?  Move? Baby?  After a few months of contemplating what was next, Todd finally said, "It's time."

And so, the ultimate answer of "What the heck you were you thinking adopting a sixteen year old?" is:

Because we want to and we can. 

And we've been given the go-ahead to do something that on paper seems utterly absurd.  We've been subtley preparing for this for our entire lives.  And this time our desires and the Lord's timetable seem to be in synch. 



The Bowmans said...

i wonder who would ask you what you are thinking. personally, it think this choice is a perfect fit for your family. you be wonderful parents of an adopted teenager. And i thought that before I knew you were adopted! I think it's great, not that it matters what anyone thinks. :)

Tricia said...

I can't think of a more perfect couple or a more perfect family. We honor and respect your decision. Congratulations!

Anne Marie said...

I am so happy for you guys! You will do such a great job.

Beth said...

It makes perfect sense to me that you guys would choose this route to go. I think it is wonderful and he is one lucky boy to be getting you guys as a family. I look forward to meeting him.

joan said...

There will always be people asking these kinds of questions, and that for some people, no answer will ever be right. If you decided not to have any children, or stop at one, or lf people feel you have too many, or they're too close together, or too far apart, or how you can raise them in the city, or so far out in the country, or in Ohio or on the coast, or....
The questions have nothing to do with what you're doing, and those of us who know you know how wonderful it is, and you know it's the right decision, so tell anyone who questions it to go chase themselves. This answer can, of course, be adjusted to be either more or less polite to fit the situation, who is asking, who else it around, etc.

Emilia said...

Thanks, all for your kind words. We are humming with anticipation over here. But I appreciate knowing that there is a support group for me. Virtually, and physically.

Now, Joan, can I just bring you with me everywhere to answer people eloquently for me?! (And then afterwards we can go steal some lawn signs...)

Mom said...

Dear Emilia,
The only concern we'd have would be if you said you were adopting a girl. You've been surrounded by boys ever since you were little. You understand how they think, and enjoy doing the things they enjoy doing.
You and Todd will be a great asset to Jake's life. I agree with Joan. Let the world babble; the five of you know what you are doing is correct.
Love, Mom and Dad

joan said...

As much as I approve of the adoption, I will not be sucked into your depraved, sign-stealing wickedness. Not at 6:30 am. Now if we could do it just after midnight...

Jessica said...

I think what you are doing is wonderful! I was surprised when you announced it, but then I thought, Wow, they will be so good a that! I think in a previous post you had mentioned that your new adopted "son to be" is interested in music and theater. Thomas Worthington has such awesome programs, I think he will love it. I was very involved in the theater program when I went to the High School there and I have never heard of a better one.