Have you thought about how this will impact your other kids?
If I’m completely honest, this is the question most likely to bring out the Mama Bear in me. Because it implies, however subtly, that someone else might be thinking more clearly about my childrens’ best interest than I am. Or that maybe I’m not thinking about my children at all. I know (I know, I know, I know!) that this isn’t usually the intent or the heart behind the question. But it still feels a little judgmental, like somehow I’m sacrificing one for the sake of another.
The short answer is, what about them? We honestly just don’t think this is that big of a deal, and we know they will stuggle with adjusting to a third child. We weren’t finished having children yet, so there was always going to be another child to adjust too (man, my grammar is feeling shaky there but I just don’t have it in me to google my too/to/two usage. What? I could have googled it in the time it took me to type that sentence? Mind your business.) And we think, that in the end, this will be an amazing gift to them. One of the first posts I read that really resonated with me is from a blog called It’s Almost Naptime, and the post is entitled, I Don’t Want My Children to Be Happy. The general message is that life is about more than your personal fulfillment and that loving Jesus sometimes means doing things that aren’t always comfortable or convenient.
But I have also read SO MANY OTHER blogs about what amazing changes happen in big siblings, and how often, it’s the siblings that show the MOST love, the MOST support, the MOST acceptance.
The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. Isaiah 11:6
Please check out Tiny Green Elephants to witness how you can have joy and love and beauty admist challenge and struggle and pain. Her post on the effects on biological children just sings to me. I understand that I might have different goals for my children than other people, and I respect that. But these ones are mine, and I will do my best to show them Jesus, and teach them to be compassionate and giving and humble.
And now, if you just need some more sweetness to drink up, watch these lovely videos. I mean, seriously?
Ace and her awesome older brother, Archie
Emma and her sweet little brother, Teddy
Truly, I appreciate that you care about my children. I honestly do. But friends, we think they’ll be all right. We really do.
What about the impact on the rest of YOUR life?
Without a doubt, we spent time thinking about how this would effect us as we age. We aren’t oblivious about what it is that we are committing to. It’s just that we actually believe the Bible when it says we should try to be like Jesus, and Jesus was about as far from selfish as it gets. He spent His life serving others, and came to offer us the most beautiful love the world has ever known. So I can’t get on board with thinking I should be thinking more about me here. I want to, trust me. I’ve tried in my life, trust me. I do almost every day, in many other ways. But that’s not where true joy is friends. I am simply NOT content only serving me, and I’m guessing not many other people are either. (Although if you’d like to try serving me, I’m totally on board. Let’s start with a mani/pedi!)
The fact that a child is “hard” or seen as a “burden” doesn’t make them less valuable, worthy, or lovable. In this case, it doesn’t make him less ours.
Why Down Syndrome?
The bottom line is, once I knew about what life is like for children with special needs in Eastern Europe and many other countries, I couldn’t not do SOMETHING about it. And not everyone can adopt. But everyone can help, either by supporting those adopting, or by simply spreading awareness. Knowledge is always power. And at the end of the day, we (our family) can. We CAN adopt. There is no legitimate reason not to.
A quick overview on the situation with many Down Syndrome children in Eastern Europe (I plan to go into depth at a later date): Basically, many children born with an extra chromosome get left at the hospital…if they are lucky. Then they live in a baby house until they are around 6 years old. These are the best years of their life. If they “age” out of the orphanage, they are OFTEN transferred to adult mental institutions, where many die within a year. The institution is not kind to them. They spend the rest of their days usually tied to a crib.
A quick overview on the issue (this one is specifically about Serbia):
This BBC series (about Bulgaria’s forgotten children) is informative and heartbreaking:
So, for us, there wasn’t really a choice. We don’t think we are doing something amazing. We think we are reacting reasonably to a terrible reality.
Your life with two toddlers and a military husband seems crazy enough – why would you add to the chaos?
Ha ha, this one was supplied by my brother (you can count on siblings to keep it real!) but really, it’s such a great question. Because it is so true! And if you know me, you know I don’t just breeze though this motherhood thing, rocking rewards charts and matching outfits. Sissy often forgets (i.e. chooses not to and I pretend not to know) to wear underwear and Bug usually has snot dried all over his beautiful face. But my children know they are loved. And I know I am loved. So all my complaining is really for show. It’s all praises to the Lord. Ann Voskamp’s A Thousand Gifts shifted the way I view this complex, breathtaking, and often unexplainable world, and I know even my worst days are blessings. I believe that down to my core, and I’m sorry I don’t always live like it. We didn’t want to wait until we had it all together. Not only because it would be too late for this child, but also because there is a solid chance it would never happen. Jesus works with what you’ve got, and I trust that if He’s calling, He’ll do some equipping.