Adoption of the Month - April 2012
Norm and I have been married for 7 years and have five grown children, 5 grandchildren. Most of our family lives in the Spokane area and we see each other often. One of our sons lives in Montreal and we have a daughter who lives in Japan. We also have a large extended family and a lot of friends. We live in a rural area north of Spokane, like to hike in the woods, go four wheeling, read and just being with each other.
We would never have thought, a year ago, that today we would be parents again. Then we met our Laife. He has been in foster care for most of his 8 years and was placed with our daughter and son in law, who are foster parents with Washington State. We all loved Laife, but it became apparent that in order for him to thrive and heal, he needed to be the only child in the family. We tried to find a younger couple to adopt him, thinking we were too old, but in the end, it became apparent that we were the ones who loved him and we were the ones who needed to adopt him.
Adopting, especially an older child, is a challenge. An older child brings with them more years of uncertainty, more years of rejection and more years of loss. An older child also brings joy, intellectual challenges, excitement as you introduce them to things we take for granted. For instance our son had never been to a baseball game so last summer when we took him to an Indians game, he was thrilled! He had never seen the ocean, so we took him to the Washington coast and he was enthralled by the vastness. We are hoping to take him to every kids dream – Disneyland, perhaps in May. We can hardly wait to see his face when he sees the magic there.
I have met Mark in my capacity as a program director for a non profit foster/adopt agency in town, Olive Crest. Most of our families have used the services of Mark in their adoptions and consistently report Mark to offer high quality services that encompass both skill and care. I found Mark to be a source of quiet confidence when we truly needed that. This process can be nerve-wracking. Mark was always quick to respond to any questions I had, generous in his time, and even was able to laugh at some of the antics of our son when we took him with us to sign the final papers. Jan Lammers is currently working alongside Mark with her expertise regarding adoption support and we appreciated her candid encouragement, and her willingness to share ways for us to advocate for the supports needed by our son.
I’m sure the enrichment has just begun. We talk often about how this process changed our life for the better. Sure, we could have chosen to spend the next 10 years traveling or investing in hobbies. But what better legacy to leave behind than a child reared into an adult with many more opportunities than they would have had otherwise. Although at our age we don’t take ourselves too seriously, our son has given us even more reasons to laugh and cry, to plan and to share. The other day Laife asked, “ Mom”, what happens to the kids who don’t get adopted?” I told him they usually just stay in foster care until they grow up and leave to be grownups. He replied in his Laifism way, “I sure am glad God figured out that I would need some extra help in growing up and gave me a family.” Our wish is that every kid out there waiting to be adopted would have someone who could be that “extra help in growing up! “