Today we visited with Jenny for the 7th time. She was so full of life and laughter. Here is a video and picture that captures that light.
Playing on the Bench from Tom Lococo on Vimeo.
It's funny how many questions you get about adoption when you are involved in the process, especially for the third time around. We've done a couple posts in the last week to try and answer some of those questions. Here is our last attempt to hit the unanswered questions.
Many people ask us, why have you adopted three times? Why these countries? What are you really up to?
The short answer is, we are growing our family in a way we feel called to. There is a longer answer though, and some important underlying questions that need to be addressed. This post is written from Tom's perspective but Patty has reviewed and contributed to it as well, so you can view these as our answers.
This blog is part of an adoption story. It began in May of 2010 when our Lord and savior touched my heart with the fact that our family could and should adopt again. It began for my wife seven months before when she became aware of the needs of eastern European orphans and the eyes of her heart and mind would not be shut to what she had seen. Maybe it began in 2001 when we knew it was time to begin our first adoption. Maybe it began the day of our marriage in May 1994. Maybe it began the day he formed each of us in our mother’s wombs for each other, for Him, and for these children that were in his plan from the original beginning.
Everyone in this world is gifted with abilities and an opportunity to fulfill the mission God has lain before them in this world. There are not many things in this life that are sure, but one thing I know for sure is that Patty and I were made with hearts that love children, and those bonds are not affected in the least by whether they were created through our bodies, or whether they came to our family only through the love of our hearts.
A woman in Ethiopia where our second adoptive child came from once told me that adoption is not the answer. Children are made for their families and international adoption like all other inventions of men is fraught with problems and weaknesses. It is too complex, too expensive and is open to greed, selfishness and too many other human vices for me to name. So I agree with our friend from Ethiopia and pray for the day when there are no orphans needing families and thus no need for adoption. Sadly this won’t likely occur in this world.
In the mean time, those of us touched with a heart for orphans, and the opportunity to do something for these children must do what we can. We did not create the current world economy or crisis or the bureaucratic governments of this world, but we can work through them to address these problems one child at a time. This story is part of our attempt to do that.
People ask, "Why adopt internationally when there are needy children here at home?" "Why these countries?" These are good questions, and they deserve answers.
There are answers, but like adoption, they are complex. We did not plan this sequence of adoptions or countries. Circumstances led a different way each time. Different agencies. Different countries. Different kinds of children. We believe those circumstances were part of our calling and vocation. You may judge our actions differently, but we experienced forces that went way beyond us, and we have responded as we felt we could and should.
As to the international versus domestic route I can say this. We feel for the orphans of the USA every bit as much as we do for those from anywhere else in the world. They are not more or less valuable in God’s eyes. Domestic adoptions are a different process with different requirements and risks. We know people including my own parents who have offered their love and homes to the foster care system, some have adopted domestically and we praise and thank them for their efforts and dedication to these children. Back to the point about gifting and callings, it is simply not where we were led in our efforts to expand our family through adoption.
This leads to a point about charity, volunteerism and development to help children in need. Adoption is not enough. It is like trying to plug the holes in a dam that has sprung 10 million leaks. There are so many relief organizations locally and globally serving the needs of these children and others living below the poverty line. We all have a role to play in addressing those needs and our family is no exception to that rule. Giving to these missions and contributing our time and talents where we can, will continue to be part of our story. Every agency we have worked with in our adoptions remain committed to serving the families and children left behind in addition to those who come home to adoptive families.
People also ask, "Why a special needs adoption?" Hopefully our prior post about "What It Means To Be Loved" answers a lot of those questions. If not, all I can say is this. We are all needy in one way or another. If nothing else, we are all in need of a Saviour. There are so many things the world looks down on as bad or limiting that really are just different and in fact "special" in the very best sense of that word. We must look beyond labels like "special needs" to the beauty and potential in every one of God's human creations.
Enough about the whys and why nots. Adoption can be a gift and a blessing. It has been to us so far. We pray it will continue to be for our family and for all the other adoptive families we know.
Missing our Girl and Grieving
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