My husband and I met on a playground of Xiâ an International School in Shaanxi, China. From our first date, we discussed our dreams for our lives, and adoption was something we both wanted. For us, having biological children was not in the cards or something that we wanted. We knew there are millions of kids without parents, and we could not justify bringing more into the world while many grew up in less than ideal situations.
My husband and I are different from many adoptive families, in that we do not believe adoption is a ministry, or should be seen that way. Ministry to orphans is sponsoring kids, ministering to orphans, building and donating to orphanages, helping to fund adoptions, etc. Adoption, however, is building a family and taking the good with the bad. It’s not something you can escape from, or put down when it gets hard. And it’s definitely not a (ministry) project! For us, adoption was simply the way we chose to build our family. I am happy to have the opportunity to share with you our adoption experience. If adopting kids is also your dream, I hope you find these tips from our story useful.
Get familiar with the process
After we had been married for two years (the minimum requirement for adoption from most countries) we chose an agency, and began to see where we could adopt from. At that point in time, there were really only two countries open to us, and we chose Ethiopia. It fits best with our needs, and with the vision we had for our family.
Patience is quality should either have before you begin the process or develop during the process. This is because you will submit your application, and wait. You might do the home study, and wait. You might also fill out immigration paperwork, and wait. In our own case we did a lot of waiting. Then finally we received a call, and were told there was a sibling group waiting for us. We opened the email to see our kids, two handsome, but extremely malnourished and sad-looking boys. We accepted the match, then waited some more. We submitted the initial paperwork in June of 2008, and in October of 2009 we flew to Ethiopia and we became a family of four!
Believe for the best
Many people have heard horror stories about adoption, and the problems people have with the kids” the attachment, the hurt, the trauma from their life. We were very fortunate that we did not see any of these. We bonded immediately with our children, and they to us. We did not see any lingering effects from those things. We even had more than one Social Worker comment that they had never seen kids bond to their adoptive parents the way ours did. I know that’s not because of us, but because God was behind this entire adoption, and He knew the kids that we would need.
About a year after our adoption of our boys was complete, we realized our family was not quite done. By this time, we were back living overseas, and the process was a little different. More trips to the Embassy, and dealing with different departments of the US and Chinese and Ethiopian Governments. But the result was the same, a perfect little girl who completed our family. Once again, we had a great experience, and did not see any of the usual adoption issues. Our family is now complete, and we are thankful God allowed us to build our family this way!
I don’t want this to look like adoption is always perfect. We are a trans-racial family, and that has its own challenges. But just like no family is perfect, we work together and deal with the challenges as they arise. We are a family, not related by blood, but by something stronger. We are bound together by choice, by a decision to open our hearts and build our family. We are truly thankful for the lovely family we are blessed with.
If adoption is a desire of your heart as well, believe you can, be patient, persevere and you will see your dreams come true.
Written by Renee Ransom
Renee Ransom is a native of Texas, who makes her home in China. She is a married to her wonderful husband Josh, and is the mom to three amazing kids. She loves to travel, enjoys coffee, butterfingers, and an occasional carrots