My husband and I were trying to figure out “what to do with our lives” after our youngest and last of our six adult daughters moved into her own home. We both had good jobs, good health and a little bit more energy left. Our good friends prayed with us about what to do next. “Coincidentally, we were studying The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. So my husband, Bob, and I worked through the usual list that people have when approaching this time of life as empty nesters: cruises, vacations, buying a motor home, moving to a smaller home in a more affordable area, retiring! But, none of these ideas seemed to be “the one”.
So…….one day after church, some good friends introduced us to a couple our own age. Little did we know that God’s plan for us was about to be revealed! This couple also had biological children that had moved on in life, as did ours. Five years prior to our meeting them, they had adopted two siblings from Russia. We listened to their story about how this came to be as we watched their tears of joy stream down their faces. Bob and I walked out of church, looked at each other, said, “We can do that”. The rest is history. Eight months later, after lots of paperwork, we were in China to adopt our son. David is now 15 years old and has been our son for 7 1/2 years. I have never regretted, even for a moment, adopting David.
Each of us has one life to live, to make a difference. We older parents have wisdom that younger parents have not yet earned. Bob and I have found that we have much more patience to offer David than we did to our other children (just ask some of our daughters!); we have a keener understanding of what is and is not important in the big scheme of things. We don’t sweat the small stuff. We know that God put David and us together. David needs us and we need him. Bob and I are much better people now – we appreciate every small blessing; I think we are better role models for our daughters.
It is ironic to think that Bob and I thought we had the experience to raise an adopted son since our daughters turned out pretty well. Little did we know that David would come to us with challenges we had never experienced before. But really, the experience of having parented gave us the insight and patience to deal with anything that came our way. Adopting an older child is not for sissies and I would encourage first time parents to consider infants or toddlers. We experienced parents are better-suited for older children. We older, but wiser!, parents also don’t have any expectations. We simply do the best we can each day and are content. We are a happy family – all 26 of us: Mom, Dad, David, 6 daughters, 4 sons-in-law, 13 grandkids. Think of the family David now has. If he was still in China, he would not know he is worth loving, would have been tossed out of the orphanage and put out on the street to be exploited, or worse, and very much alone. How can anyone say “no” to adoption? No vacation can compare. Consider sharing the gifts God gave you with a child who will otherwise not think he is worth loving. Bob and MaryAnn Ogilvie