March 11, 2012

Why We Want to Adopt - Part 1

We've been asked the question "why?" more times than I can count when it comes to the adoption. And it's a valid question, especially for us. With three wonderful kids already in our family, I'm sure people want to know why we'd take on such massive amounts of paperwork and expense just to add another child.

In some ways, the answer is long, but in the end, it boils down to something extremely simple. To fully understand though, you have to go through the long version to get the simple answer.

Jon and I both grew up in families that were greatly impacted by adoption. My dad was adopted as an infant and grew up with wonderful, loving parents. His birth mother was a teenager and single, and knew she wouldn't be able to provide the life for him that she wanted. Back then, most adoptions were closed, and so my dad knew nothing of her other than a few facts on a sheet of paper; her height, weight, eye color, hobbies, etc.

Forty-seven years later, both my dad's parents had passed away and my mom became interested in trying to locate his birth mother. She added his information to several websites and many months later, my dad received an email that stated, "I think I may be your birth mother." In true Dad fashion, he created and sent her a quiz to determine if she really could be. She passed with flying colors.

Me, Bonnie, Tyler, my dad

We were able to meet Bonnie just a few weeks after I had our first child. Holding our son was, for her, like having a little piece of my dad back. Our family has enjoyed learning about her life and been able to have many questions answered. And for her, when asked about why she wanted to find my dad, she said "I just wanted to know that he was OK." Finding him lifted a life-long weight from her shoulders.

Jon also grew up with an acceptance of adoption, but from a different angle. His mom found herself single and pregnant as a teenager, and like Bonnie, decided that she couldn't give her child the life she wanted for her. Again, since it was a closed adoption, she moved on, married Jon's dad and had three more children. Of course, 'moving on' doesn't mean forgetting, and Jon still remembers the day when he was a teenager and Heather called for the first time and his mom burst into tears of joy.

When she turned 18, Heather decided to contact her birth mother. Ever since that day, Heather has been embraced as a member of the family. Jon and his siblings were thrilled to gain a half-sister, and since she and her husband now have 2 sons, his parents have gained two grandchildren.

We love spending time with Heather and her family and continue to be amazed at the similarities between her and Jon's mom.

Me, Jon, Heather, Maggie (Jon's mom), Julie (Jon's sister), Craig (Heather's husband)

It has been a blessing for both of us to grow up in families where adoption was not just accepted, but experienced. While we've also been able to see some of the struggles, they are far outweighed by the joys. Since we are close to both our families, their full support of our adoption was very important to us. Their experiences have helped them understand why we want to adopt and we're thankful for their love and acceptance of our decision. Being able to see adoption as the "norm" instead of the "exception" instilled a passion for it in both of us, even though it wasn't ignited until many years later.

Part 2, to come :)

1 comment:

  1. “While we've also been able to see some of the struggles, they are far outweighed by the joys.” - that's a sweet thing to say, Jon and Virginia! I think the joy lies in the fact you are changing the life of someone by being the someone they need. Thank you for sharing the root of wonderful adoption in your family! Shandra @