Adkinson Family Story
“Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself. It is as if they are showing you the way.” That quote is from a book by Donald Miller that I read many years ago. I can’t tell you anything I remember from the book, but for some reason I have never forgotten the quote.
In the years and months leading up to beginning our first adoption process, I scoured the internet for information. I googled the same things so often that my browser would frequently remind me “you’ve visited this page 5 times” and so on. I was eager to read the stories of other adoptive families and, although I didn’t want to admit it, I was hoping to find what might be our own story in between the lines. In some ways, I suppose we did.
During that time, I poured over dozens of personal blogs and posts on advocacy sites. There wasn’t anything special about one in particular. I believe that the impact was through all of them woven together – reading both the happy and the heartbreaking, the victories and setbacks. Together they create a beautiful tapestry that depicts this thing we call adoption.
Our daughter came home to us from India in 2016 at nineteen months old. She was born with cleft lip and palate. She also has hearing loss and autism. We face many challenges, yet she is a tremendous blessing that words can’t begin to describe. She has taught us so much.
Our son came home to us from India in 2019 at three years old. He has Down syndrome and also had a traumatic brain injury. He radiates tremendous joy and, if we’re honest, a great deal of stubbornness! Down syndrome is something God placed on our hearts specifically. Once again, we began hearing and reading so many stories of people whose lives have been touched by someone with this condition.
There are inspiring videos of people with Down syndrome who can do absolutely incredible things. When you look a little closer, you will also find the less glamorous stories of those who struggle with the challenges often associated with people who have Down syndrome. As with any special need, you won’t get a complete picture by only reading the best or the worst. If we could offer a word of advice it would be to actually meet people who have Down syndrome. You won’t regret it.
I used to read about families of kids with special needs and think, “How in the world do they do it? I could never do that!” Sometimes I still do. And yet here we are. We juggle countless doctor appointments, therapies, and IEP meetings. We advocate. We learn American Sign Language. We keep up with hearing aids, glasses, and ankle braces. We tote around a double stroller, a wheelchair, or a gait trainer, depending on the occasion. This is our story.
The truth is, sometimes you do have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself. Your story will never be exactly like the ones you read, but we encourage you to read them anyways. You may find a passion emerging in between the lines that you didn’t even know you had. To us, adoption is an invitation to join God where he is at work. We are so glad we said yes.
“Special needs adoption” is a very broad term that describes the medical, developmental, psychological or emotional needs of a child being adopted. Those needs can range from the minor to moderate, including, skin conditions, limb differences, cleft lip/palate, atresias, developmental or speech delays, or low birth weight. The more moderate needs could be HIV, spina bifida, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, hydrocephalus, albinism, heart defects, or vision and hearing loss. We invite you to learn more on our website today.