Thursday, July 31, 2008

How we became a trans-racial family

Some of you know that all of our children are adopted. What you may not know is that some of our children are of a different ethnicity. This post is kind of a history of how our children came to our home.

When we decided to have children we tried a lot of things. Finally we tried in-vitro. I have teased my wife that it is the only time I got to stick it to her as a result of giving progesterone shots. Long story short it worked. My wife became pregnant and we were so excited. Now we were also on the list for adopting a child. We did not take our names off that list as pregnancy is never a for sure thing. A few weeks into the pregnancy we found out that my wife had miscarried. It was devastating. But it also was the start of our adoptions.

About two days after we found out that she had miscarried we got a call from our adoption worker. We had been selected by a birth mother to have a child placed in our home. The first pictures we have of him are in an ultra-sound video with a song that his birth mother sang in the background. Two months later our oldest son was born. We received him the day after and couldn't have been happier. He is a full-white male and is also the child who has autism.

Our second child came to us almost three years later. Our adoption worker phoned to see if we would be willing to foster a baby for a few days before the baby was placed. We said of course. She had my wife come in to fill out paper work and when my wife got there, they got me on the phone. We had no idea the surprise our adoption worker had for us. Yup you guessed it, we had been chosen again! This time the birth mother was half Bolivian and had a bunch of questions for us. I served a church mission in Chile and one of the things that would help the birth mom know that we were the right couple would have been if I served a mission in Bolivia. The funny thing is that I was supposed to go to Bolivia, there was an incident one week before I entered my church mission that required a change. Eventually the birth mother was satisfied and two days after her birth our 1/4 Bolivian daughter came into our home.

Our third child came to us via a friend's father-in-law. He is an OB-GYN and had a couple come in and ask if they could help place their child. We were in the middle of moving from Utah to Arizona and I was already spending my time in AZ. The birth couple originally chose another couple to place the child with. My wife thought that it wasn't right. When our third child was born it was determined that he was addicted to Meth. The first couple chosen took some time to think about taking him and decided it wasn't right for their situation. I was in AZ at the time this happened. My wife received a phone call asking if we were still willing to adopt the boy. Her answer was of course. She phoned me (I was at the airport about to fly home) and told me to check my voice mail when I landed to see if we were going to pick him up. Sure enough there was a message when I landed and I met my wife at the hospital. There we saw "Popeye" (the nickname the nurses gave him due to a palsy that happened at birth). We were in the room when the birth parents signed their rights away (talk about ripping out your heart strings). Our third child is full-white and is hyper beyond belief.

Our fourth child came to us through two agencies. We were working with an agency that deals in African-American adoptions. There was a baby available, but there was a chance of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. We initially didn't feel we were ready for this challenge. So we initially declined. The baby was born premature and had to spend a month in the hospital. Near the month's end we were contacted again and told that the baby still did not have any adoptive parents and if we would reconsider. My wife and I did reconsider and after a lot of though and prayer decided that this girl belonged in our family. So off to pick her up. Since this was an out of state adoption we had to stay out of state until Arizona and Nevada agreed that we could take her cross state boundaries. She is full African-American and does show signs of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

Our fourth and 1/2 child (don't worry I'll explain) came to our family through the same agency as our fourth child. He was 14 months when his birth mother decided to put him up for adoption. His 1/2 brother (6 at the time) was also put up for adoption. My wife's sister said that she would be willing to adopt the older child and we would adopt the younger. Unfortunately, there was a paternity issue with our adoption and three months after he was placed in our home we had to turn him over to his birth father. It was heart wrenching and we were devastated.

Our fifth child came to us through the same agency as our fourth. My wife told them after we had lost child number 4 1/2 that they would have a child for us soon and that this child would be of an Asian heritage. They took it in stride and didn't quite believe her as they don't get children of Asian heritage normally. Low and behold about 3 months after the failed adoption we got a call from the agency stating there was a child of Asian, Polynesian, and African-American descent and would we be interested. Of course we were interested (even though I was a little concerned about money). Our third girl came to us the day after she was born. My wife was actually in the delivery room to witness the birth.

So that is how we became a trans-racial family. It has been a wonderful experience that we would not trade for anything. We have so many things to teach our children because of the diverse heritages that they have. We are planning to make sure they know about their family history (as much as possible) and the traditions of the countries their ancestors hail from. Now do we get some funny looks when we are out as a family? Of course we do, but that is part of the fun. It also allows us to educate others on adoption and diversity. I hope that by raising our children with a knowledge of the diverse backgrounds they have that we will raise a family that celebrates their diversity and helps to educate others on it.


shayna said...

Very cool.

N&E5 said...

Amazing story.

SunShyn said...

being a birth mom and birth sister, I can only applaud you...

MapleMama said...

Bravo to you and your wife for giving these children a loving home!

Luisa Perkins said...

Now I'm in tears. How beautiful and inspiring; thanks for sharing.