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Archive for February, 2008

If you want to be a parent, you are a candidate for adoption.

It is a natural desire to wish to pro-create. Every living thing on earth replicates and creates young, whether it is a bird or a blade of grass. It is also natural to want to protect those who are already here.

Most of us have seen pictures or heard stories of a farm pig who suckles orphaned kittens, or the dog who allows an orphaned baby squirrel to suck. Then there is the elephant who, upon the death of a mother, will take the dead mother’s calf to herself to nurse. Adoption is a completely natural part of life and exists throughout the animal kingdom.

Some of us are not able to conceive or to give birth. The desire for children is strong, which is also a natural state of being. So, it would only be normal to open one’s arms and home to a child in need of a family.

I once had a friend say to me that she was afraid to adopt because she felt that the child would not be like her own because she did not carry it. I paused for a second and then replied, “I feel very sorry for your husband, then.” She looked at me with surprise and asked, “Why?” “Well,” I answered, “he did not carry your daughter. He didn’t feel her growing inside of his womb. So, I guess she must not feel like his child.” She understood.

The moment you hold your child in your arms, it doesn’t matter if you gave birth or not. What matters is that here is a new life, which is dependent upon you to survive. Here is a sweet baby, which will look to you for the rest of his or her life for love, guidance, support. Here is your child.

Many people want to adopt, but feel that they can’t afford it. There are children languishing in foster homes or orphanages praying, yearning for a family, for a home. They are considered special needs because they either have a physical problem, like my son who was born with cleft lip and palate, or are part of a sibling group, or are of mixed race or are older. Most states do not charge any fees for the adoption of these very special children. If therapies or surgeries are needed, the county will usually pay for them.

So, if you’ve spent all of your youth climbing that corporate ladder and don’t have time for an infant, or you have a good home, but not enough money to cover adoption fees, special needs adoption is a perfect way to build a loving, close family.

Whether you choose domestic, international or special needs adoption, be prepared for the greatest love of your life!

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My son came home at seven-days-of age.  Fifteen years later, I am still in Nursery Nirvana.  From the moment I first held him in my arms, I have felt a deep pride in him and how he came to be my son – and he knows it.

We have always discussed adoption naturally and openly, and with great joy.  I call him my Very Special Child and even wrote a book by that title for him.  He is giving a copy of it today as a present to a young girl who is also adopted, because he is proud of it and is proud to share his specialness with others.

In discussing your child’s adoption openly, just like you would discuss your child’s birth had you carried him or her, you make it a common every day thing: I have two eyes, two ears, a nose, I’m adopted, I’m a boy, I live in Ohio….no biggy.  On the other hand, by hiding it, you make it seem like something to be ashamed of, something to push to the back of the closet, something that you wish had never happened.

More importantly, you are basing your entire relationship on a lie – a lie of omission.  How is your child going to trust you in any other area of life if you have deceived them about the very core of your relationship?

I have a cousin who was adopted and his parents never told him.  He found out on his own at age fourteen.  He ran away from home and refused to speak to his parents.  They reconciled, after a fashion, but their relationship was damaged irrevocably.  My cousin never trusted his parents again.

I say speak of adoption to your child.  Show them the pride you have in choosing them out of all of the other children in the world.  Encourage them to adopt when they decide to have children.  Tell them openly about waiting for them, praying for them and that glorious moment when you finally got THE call.  My son knows the story backwards and forwards and loves to tell it to others.  When he speaks of it, his face lights up and he smiles.  He even wrote a book about it which is coming out soon.  Here is a quote from it which I think clearly makes my case:

From Just Chris by Christopher Shiveley Welch

I am adopted.  That feels good.  I like being adopted.  If it weren’t for my parents, I don’t know what I’d be like.  They are here for me.  My mom and dad tell me that I am beautiful, so I believe that I am.  They tell me I’m a good kid, so I accept that I am.  They tell me that I’m loved, so I know that I am.

I have learning differences.  Mom says I am not learning disabled, I just learn differently, and that’s okay.  I don’t mind having differences.  I just want to learn.

Mom says that a child sees themselves in their parent’s eyes.  I want to put this poem of my mom’s in here:

I am your mirror.  When you look into my eyes,
you see how beautiful you are.
When you enter a room, my heart lifts up to meet you;
a smile of greeting lights me up from within.

I am your mirror.  When you look into my eyes,
you see love, as my soul embraces yours,
revealing to you just how wonderful you are:
my friend, my heart, my son.

From “Mirroring” [1] 

Mom uses this poem a lot in her interviews.  She tells people about adopting special needs kids and that makes me feel good.  I know she is so happy that she adopted me and she just wants people to know how it can make them happy too.   


[1] Son of My Soul – The Adoption of Christopher, Debra Shiveley Welch, Saga Books, page 118

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