strengths and needs are already very apparent as they take their equal and
rightful place in their new family. For some reason, that fact makes those
attributes stand out more than when they develop over years in the middle of
the same family group, from the first day.
adopted him. He was ten as his little sister, Sarah came from Russia to join
our family. She was five at that time. While we did recognize that Sarah didn’t
view a lot of stability in relationships, we didn’t realize that she had
attachment disorders until a couple of years later. What was very evident from
very early on was that Jack and Sarah, two out of the seven siblings at that
time, needed each other.
institutions, so it was understandable when Sarah was a little uneasy with him
at first. It didn’t take long for her needs to attach to his strengths. Jack
loves everybody. Unlike Sarah, who had learned that she needed to be charming
so that people would give her things (food, shelter, clothes, attention) Jack
just loved people whether they did anything for him or not.
difficult to understand. Amazingly, within months of speaking her first words
in English, Sarah was accurately interpreting his communications, often even
for us, their parents. Jack struggles with using a knife and fork together, and
in no time, Sarah had relieved her mother of the task of cutting up Jack’s food
so he didn’t choke. Jack isn’t too concerned about how he wears his clothes, so
his little sister would help him to turn his shirt right-side-out and to flip
it around front-first.
little sister did. It took Sarah longer to follow the example of her sibling,
but she watched Jack and how he interacted with people, even those who did
nothing for him. She saw that Jack loved her even when she wasn’t pleasant. She
watched his desire to befriend people who had hurt him only a day, or even
hours earlier. Over the years two children who have significant challenges
carried each other on their shoulders through whichever terrain the other
weaknesses snap together when placed next to someone else in the family puzzle.
Amy, my wife, is the heart of our family. I am the passion. Sarah brings faith,
and Jack, compassion. Each of the nine children in our family fit together in
their own place in a puzzle that is so much more beautiful and amazing than any
person on their own.
a family as large as ours. Honestly, there are days when those people are
right. But even on those days, there isn’t a member of our family who would
change it. We love having a big family and love that the differences only
enhance the perfectness with which our puzzle pieces fit together.
every form of it. Amy and I love the miracle of how our biological children
were created with parts of each of us. We are amazed at the similarities that
our adopted children have with us parents and other siblings even when there is
no biological explanation. We have been touched to watch an infant with Down
syndrome breathe more life into a family while joining his three older brothers
through domestic adoption. We have witnessed toddlers and school aged children,
excited and apprehensive, get on airplanes to leave everything they had ever
known behind, with faith that they finally had a family that needed them. And
then we have found the teenaged girl, a year away from being ejected from her
orphanage because of her age, who never gave up even when peers and workers in
her orphanage mocked her for continuing to believe that parents would come for
orphans within our own borders and those who are far away. The one thing we
hope, almost more than anything else, is that families will come to understand
that they need these parentless children, just as much as these children need