Okay! Here's part two of our adoption FAQs. [Find part one HERE]. These focus more on the post-adoption process.
1. How long did you wait to bring your children home?
We met both our baby boys in the hospital and were given our own room to snuggle them in for a night or two. Then we were able to take them back to our hotel room while ICPC cleared. That's basically the communication from your adoptive state to your home state verifying that you are, in fact, allowed to take home this child; it can take a few days to a month+. Our first adoption took a few days, our second took a few weeks. Both times, we savored the opportunity to be away from "normal life" and soaked in our new little guys.
2. How did extended family and friends respond to your adoptions?
I have a feeling a few people were shocked when we said we were going to adopt the first time and double shocked when we said we were doing it again, but they hid it well and have loved our boys 100%. I'll never forget our first son's first birthday and the packed house we had for his party. A family member is a family member, no matter how they got there. And it's been such a fun way to share the gospel with people it wouldn't have normally come up in conversation with.
3. Were you worried about the birthmothers changing their minds? How do you speak to your children about their adoptions/ birth parents? Do you have a relationship with them? Etc.
Certainly, every situation is different here. For us, we were absolutely open to a relationship with our birthmothers and don't have one right now because they haven't been open to it. And that's okay!
We were never really worried about her changing her mind, but did use the allotted time period (different in every state) to pray an extra amount for all parties involved. We also tried to collect any information we could in case our boys would like to have it down the road.
We pray with our boys for their birth families every night and have started to talk to our 3 yr old about how he grew in Ms. T's belly and then was put in my arms to snuggle and smooch. We have the utmost respect for both families, and want our boys to grow up knowing how loved and desired they were.
4. What's been the hardest part of adopting?
Foolishly, the hardest part for me has only come in my own mind & worry as I anticipate hard conversations and emotions as our boys get older. I know they'll have questions and I fear I won't be able to lead them well. But of course, when I remind myself of how freely God gives wisdom, and how he works all things for his glory and our good, I know he has my sweet boy's hearts in his hands. He'll be there with us as the difficulties come (just as he is for every mother as we learn how to teach and lead our children in everything else!)
5. What's been the best part?
Gosh, I don't think I could ever narrow down a best part; the good outweighs any hardships infinitely. Saying "yes" to something unknown when God called us to it was beautifully faith-building. Having our family look a little like Heaven makes me so excited to worship with believers of all races and colors. Having the gospel front and center in my mind on a daily basis, and being able to share it naturally with others through our adoptions. And really, understanding in a deeper way what God did for us as he adopted us into his family-- priceless. Doing something hard and sanctifying with my husband. Having racial reconciliation at the front of my mind and starting to use my privilege for change.
And of course, having these sons in our home. We couldn't love them one single bit more.
6. But how do I do their hair?
(Referring to African American hair, mainly) I got this question a lot which made me laugh because I was unsure, too! And double laugh because, like, I still don't even know how to do my own hair? Ha!
The short answer is: Everyone's hair is different. I was told that my second son's hair, especially, would change a ton by 6 months. At the beginning, we brushed it lightly with this brush and then sprayed in a little of this. We recently started rubbing this in every morning and evening to keep it soft and moisturized.
So far, his hair is short and there isn't much to do. We'll keep learning as we go on. But I think that's one of the best parts of having a child of a different race-- we have a sweet opportunity to get outside our comfort zones and reach out to people who don't look just like us. I'm really good friends with one of our Target cashiers now :)
7. Which books would you recommend for both an adoptive parent AND adopted children? Books that feature children of color?
You know the reader in me loves this question. Here are two I definitely recommend for adults.
[Click on the pictures for a direct link]
Adoption books for children can be tricky because they tend to have a specific story line that doesn't always apply to your situation. These are pretty generic and encourage good conversation. But of course, we own a few that don't totally apply to us ("I adopted because I couldn't get pregnant" or "you came from far away across the world") and we use those for conversation, too.
As far as books featuring dark-skinned children goes, I have been pleasantly surprised to see how many there are gracing the aisles of Target (or the shelves of Amazon). I've read some of them, and have the rest on our list for one day. Some of these series are beautiful-- I'd recommend to every one... especially those of you with white children only. Let's show them the diversity God has made!
I hope this helps! Shoot me an e-mail if you have more questions. Katie@dearmushka.com