On a glorious Mother's Day, 30 members of the Christianson and Holmes clans gathered in our niece's backyard to celebrate her college graduation. Balancing a paper plate loaded with a hot dog and salad, I dragged a canvas lawn chair near where an aunt and uncle from the Holmes side of the family were sitting.
Although I hadn't seen Suzanne and Jamie Chandler in five years, our niece had kept us apprised of their plans to adopt. I plopped into my chair and without preamble, said, "I heard you're adopting two children from Russia. Tell me everything."
Their eyes lit up. "We just returned from our first trip to Russia, where we met our children," said Suzanne. She reached under her chair. "We've got pictures!"
"Lots and lots of pictures," added Jamie, grinning.
Suzanne handed me five of her favorite photos. She pointed to images of a smiling six-year-old boy and a sweet looking five-year-old girl. "This is *Dandy and Chickadee," announced the proud mama.
"Are they biological siblings?
The new parents shook their heads.
Then my husband, Robert, joined us. He, too, examined the photos and inquired, "Are they siblings?"
"They are now," responded Suzanne.
"What do you know about their backgrounds?" ased Robert.
"We have some information about their backgrounds and see ourselves as guardians of their stories," responded Suzanne carefully. "When they are the right age, we will give them their story and they can decide with whom to share it."
I smiled, delighted Suzanne and Jamie had come up with a respectful yet firm way to deflect questions they didn't feel comfortable answering.
I thumbed through the photos again and my heart skipped a beat as I mentally absorbed a photo of the proud parents -- silly grins plastered on their faces -- hugging their children for the first time. Vivid memories of the day Robert and I met our own children surfaced. I recalled our silly grins and breathed a silent prayer of thanks for the privilege of vicariously participating in Jamie and Suzanne's sacred moment -- the moment when the world shrank and their family was created.
*names changed for this blog quote
Laura didn't mention that she and Robert thoughtfully looked through our entire stack of photos (see above), nor that she listened to us babble on forever about our kids. She was a wonderful audience for our enthusiasm.
Here is the official book blurb:
I especially appreciated her easy-to-read prose and the gracious way in which she shares folks' stories. The Adoption Decision would be a great choice for any family considering adoption and for their friends and family that choose to walk along with them. I wish it had been available when we were setting out.
In North America, more and more families are adding members through adoption. And there are more ways to adopt—and kinds of adoption—than ever.
This quick–start resource will help prospective parents consider key emotional and spiritual issues up front...before they plunge into the near–overwhelming mass of details and start to run into roadblocks, even dead ends.
Laura Christianson—an adoption educator and mentor, and an adoptive mom herself—brings her experience and knowledge to address unspoken but crucial questions about...
- loving an adopted child
- extended family’s reaction
- openness in adoption
- the role of birth parents
- physical disabilities
- emotional/behavioral challenges
- racial and cultural prejudices
Recounting real–life miracles and mishaps of adoptive families, the author will help prospective parents—and their friends and family members—think through adoption’s challenges and joys, and confidently move forward from a firm emotional and spiritual footing.