Thank you Williams family for answering our questions about adoption.
How and why did you decide to adopt?
I was at a Men's meeting at my brother's church and was introduced to a guy who had adopted a girl from China. Frances and I had always planned on adopting after we had "our own", but God had other ideas. After 16 years of infertility, we got pregnant but lost our twins. There had been many obstacles in the way of adopting, but we eventually started pursuing it at the same time as IVF and decided we would adopt no matter how the IVF turned out. There should have been a year to 18 months between an IVF child and an adoption, but circumstances changed and we ended up having two children within 3 months who were only 6 months apart in age...so we kind of had twins anyway!
Why did you choose to adopt from China?
We really didn't have a lot of options - most countries require both parents to be US citizens - Frances is still only British. I'd heard horror stories from other countries, and then we met that guy in church with his cute Chinese daughter and so it seemed the logical choice. At the same time I also thought the fact that there was no chance of reuniting with a birth family would be easier for everyone overall...10 years later I know better! It also seemed to avoid the horror stories of people adopting only to have the birth parents change their minds and reversing the adoption.
What has been the hardest part about adopting?
The expense for one, all the paper chasing is a real hassle, and for me personally it was becoming a "conspicuous family". I've always preferred being anonymous and not standing out in a crowd. Once we had a Chinese daughter, we pretty much stand out wherever we go...of course God doubled that with us having a child with Down Syndrome as well. So now we really stand out, and will a lot more soon! I'm used to it now, but sometimes it's aggravating because we never go anywhere without standing out and getting stares.
What has been the most rewarding part about adopting?
Well the most obvious answer of course is our beautiful daughter Abigail. But it's also how much we grow personally on the journey. Ultimately it's about changing a child's world and destiny. Hopefully God willing, it's for the better, but that's not entirely in our control, but at least we give them a chance at a better destiny.
Tell us about the two children you are adopting.
We are adopting a 6 year old girl with Poland Syndrome, a syndrome caused by an accident of fetal circulation where she is left with no chest muscle, or breast on one side and finger differences on one hand. She also has a facial palsy so she can't smile normally, and there is a chance she's had a stroke. She is definitely developmentally delayed and possibly intellectually challenged.
We are also adopting an 11 year old boy who is listed as having "dyskenesia of lower limbs" which just means his legs are weak so he walks with a limp and has balance issues? In both cases the medical charts are sketchy so who really knows?
We have videos and pictures of both, which are both reassuring, and also alarming at points too.
What advice would you give someone thinking about adoption?
I would say adoption is not for everyone, not for the faint hearted, especially when talking about adopting an older child. You are also talking about taking on a child's life, a most precious gift that cannot be squandered. The decisions you make WILL change your life, the childs life, and by extension everyone else's life that knows you. This is a very serious decision when you already have other children because it changes everything. Nothing will ever be the same again. Not everyone is cut out to make that transition, so you must be very careful thinking through the impact on everyone. Friends and family will not always be helpful, and I’ve known people who have literally been rejected by their extended families. Some of our family was not very involved before, and have shown no interest in our latest adoption. That's something you have to consider - eventually your adopted children will grow up old enough to understand that they may well be rejected by your extended family. There are so many issues to think about and prepare for. So you MUST read as much as possible, dont stick your head in the sand, but research as much as you possibly can before you commit to anything, or start spending the thousands it will cost. Get involved with Yahoo and Facebook groups, and get to know people who have adopted before. Listen to their stories, good and bad. READ, READ, READ, pray, pray and pray - and discuss. And don't proceed unless you as a couple are totally committed and in agreement. Expect doubt...but know if God wants you to do this He will work it all out. Don't do it unless you are certain and then once you commit, stay committed no matter what.
One thing to remember, it's no different to having a biological child. Most people would never dream of not dealing with whatever a biological child has or develops. Adoption is pretty much the same except the child comes with baggage, sometimes very negative baggage.
What advice would you give someone who can't adopt, but would like to help orphans?
Get involved by praying for orphans, and advocating, and advertising the need. Support those who are adopting by offering help in any way you can, helping to fundraise, donating items, or making things to sell if you are craft gifted. Give of your time volunteering whether for a charity like Love Without Boundaries or helping an adoptive family. Donating money is a very practical way to help, as adopting is very expensive and most people don’t have the resources to adopt without help.
How can we help you? Pray for us, pray that God supplies all of our needs, and prepares us and our children for the children we are adding, and also that God prepares their hearts to live with us.
We also need financial help. On our blog there are 2 methods to donate to us. We have a 'you caring' website where people can donate directly to us. Alternatively, there is an address to send donations directly to our agency, and these donations can be tax deductible. There is also currently a fundraiser being done for us through facebook friends.