Tonight I watched a news segment about a couple who had adopted a slew of kids after raising a bunch of birth children. The mom rattled off the stats: 2 two-year olds, 2 three-year olds, a six year-old, a seven-year old. I lost track. There might have been another one in there. The kids – all adorable – had been in the foster care system. The dad looked a little dazed but game….in a stunned kind of way.
The segment closed with the reporter saying they were planning on adopting more kids in the future. Duggars Redux. (The Duggars are those nice folks with 19 kids who have a baby every year, rain or shine. Worse. They go to restaurants where all the kids sit up straight with their hands folded in their laps. This was my problem — oh yes, not having enough kids!!)
So I understand this compulsion to adopt. I really do. When I went to Nicaragua to get my son Joe and later my daughter Jhosy, I felt like Velcro Mama. Honest to God, I rolled through that orphanage and kids stuck to me like a wool skirt on a dry winter day.
I remember sitting on the floor at the orphanage, kind of paying attention to Jhosy spelling out her name in my journal, but really watching a gorgeous little boy named Mario scooting around the room in a Baby Bouncer. I want that little boy, I thought. But quickly realized that adoption wasn’t the kind of thing where you could trade one kid for another. Oh, ah, I think I’ll take that one instead. Besides Jhosy was beautiful and friendly and I wouldn’t trade her ever. I’ll come back for the boy.
I didn’t go back for Mario. Someone else adopted him….but that’s another and really wonderful story.
Around the time we were adopting our kids, a couple with one birth child adopted 3 kids from Nicaragua and 3 from Milwaukee County AT THE SAME TIME. And for a while, she was the envy of everyone — tons o’ kids, rolling down the highway, big ol’ minivan, lots of juice boxes, merry, merry, merry. And then she wasn’t quite so envied….if you get my drift.
A few months ago, a young woman, who was adopted from Nicaragua by one of my dearest friends blurted out in reference to her family and ours, “I don’t know what you guys were thinking – adopting one kid after another. Didn’t you stop to think about what these kids had been through? That maybe each one needed to have his own time to adjust and be ok?”
And the answer was: No. I didn’t. I was delirious. Happy, blessed, and ignorant. Like those folks on TV. They’re thinking God chose them to do what they’re doing.
They’re probably right.