After watching the movie, I had flashbacks of our adoption process. 13 months of time spent choosing our agency, getting accepted, home study after home study , fingerprints, mountains of paperwork, waiting for approval and then waiting in excitement for "the phone call," - our referral.
$25,000 later and 10 months on the waiting list... we suddenly felt the desperateness of thousands of children in urgent need for a family... why where WE waiting SO long?
Then it happened on a Tuesday morning when I glanced over 4 children on our agency's waiting list. Suddenly time stopped... "Who would take 4? What's their story? Could they be our children?... " I scrolled past more faces of children waiting... waiting for families, waiting to be loved, cared for... by a forever family. I went back to our 4 children... - I immediately noticed our son, Stephen's age... 13 years old. How many of those years did he experience neglect, malnutrition, lack of education, social development etc.? 13 years. This was enough for us to say " yes." - we couldn't stand the thought of glancing over his picture and have him continue to wait. He only had 3 more years before he would age out of the system.
Even though Stephen lacked much... he NEVER lacked the desire for a family. He says,
" Everyone needs a family... I always prayed that God would bring me a family."
Prior to our children's homecoming, several friends assured me that our 2 year old would be the easiest to adapt and attach to.
Unfortunately, she has and still struggles to accept us as her new parents.
I'm okay with it. We will persist in loving her and nurturing her little body back to health.
She was never held like a baby. She never experienced the healthy, tender loving touch from a mother. She never had a father to snuggle with, throw her up in the air and catch her with his strong, loving hands. By the age of 1 to 2, she was forced to survive, act like a teenager and learn to fight for whatever she needed. Until now, our little girl still thinks she has to fight.
Our 11 year old son never experienced the love from a mother and a father. His explanation of his poor behavior is that he always got to do whatever he wanted to do. Basically, he just learned to survive.
The Both Ends Burning Campaign states:
Unfortunately, our son is barely at the reading level of a 2nd grader with the emotional capacity of a 3 year old. We can only cling on to the hope that God can and will heal him... perhaps through the love and security from our family.
11 years... - how many other 11 year old boys are still institutionalized because of the adoption bureaucracy or parent's fears of adopting an older child? I know... the challenges are overwhelming. Perhaps I've scared several families from adopting. It's okay - because not everyone should adopt. But isn't every child worth fighting for? Doesn't every child deserve the love and security of a family? Shouldn't we ALL fight for children's rights to a family?
I couldn't help but smile as I watched my 8 year old daughter splashing her way around the swimming pool. She was like a kid in a candy store. I remember the first time we brought her swimming. The numerous fears she had. The lack of trust she had in us. We laughed and joked about it... it was a distant memory that has now faded into the background. Healing. She is slowly but surely healing. Our Mount Everest - I refuse to stop climbing. I will not give up on loving her, nurturing her, walking with her through her painful yet hopeful journey. Just like her siblings, she is and has always been worth fighting for.
Just like every other adoptive family, we have our own "stuck" story . Why DOES it have to be so hard, so complicated and so expensive? Yes, children are worth the hard, the complicated and should NEVER come with a price tag because they are priceless... so shouldn't WE advocate for changes to be made for MORE adoptions to take place so that MORE children can be released from institutions and adopted into families?
Please sign the petition to support and promote policy changes within International adoption and if you already haven't watched the movie, " Stuck." - please watch it!
Remember, EVERY child deserves the right to a family.