We did not expect Seth to be as severely delayed as he is. Our biological daughter has the same Syndrome and we thought we were adopting a male version of her. We did expect him to be delayed, but we assumed he could talk, drink from a cup, eat with utensils, go potty, put his shirt or pants on. I wish we could have accurately projected the costs of all the therapies. We had calculated costs for all the medical stuff, but really had no idea what therapies would run. Therapies are costing into the thousands of dollars and there is no light at the end of the tunnel. Saying all that, everything we have came from and belongs to the Lord.
The children at one of Seth's therapy appointments
2. What is the one thing you wish you had done before getting on the plane?
I wish I would have ruthlessly purged my house down to bare bones. Mananging the stuff of 11 people is challenging. After being home we have set up a few systems to help me run the house more efficiently.
We purged the kitchen and organized the pantry.
We set up a mini family closet in the laundry room. We have placed all the children's everyday clothing on racks from The Container Store in our laundry room. Ideally clothing comes out of the dryer, shirts and dresses are hung, pants and underclothes are put into baskets on the racks.
We found these great little strips called "Hang Away" on Amazon and installed them in all the bathrooms.
We are bulk cooking and bulk buying. I love Azure Standard for quality organic food.
3. Were there surprises in your children's health, or was what you were told at the SDA appointment fairly complete and accurate?
We have had surprises in that issues the SDA/Orphange said existed, do not. We do have a few long term medical issues that will need to be followed and we are still working our way through all the ologists, but so far, we are blessed.
4. What advice can you give on helping your children (the first 6) adjust?
I don't even want to put it into words, but our adjustment has gone really well. The emotional part of the adjustment has been really smooth. We brought home videos and let them view the children and behaviors (especially Seth's) before we actually brought the kids home. We already had adopted children, have good friends with adopted children and they have cousins that are adopted. I think my children believe most families adopt children (Now, wouldn't that be an awesome truth!?!) and that it is a natural part of being a family. We did explain to them that no one loved the new children and that we needed to show them love and teach them what it is like to live in a family. I am pretty sure Joy thinks Gloria is her baby :)
Teach them to pray for, with and over one another.
5. Do you have anyone who has responded negatively towards your decision to adopt special needs children? If so, how do you respond to them?
To our face, we have not had any negative comments specifically relating to special needs. We do get lots of comments on the size of our family, having our hands full, how they are glad it is not them, how they do not know how we do it and so on. I try to be gracious and respond with a smile, but fail miserably sometimes. Truthfully, my response goes from fighting back tears to wanting to be really ugly. I usually say we are blessed, children are a gift, we are following the call of the Lord, yes I am also glad it is me and not you, that walking in obedience is not easy, but we have been called to be parents of many. No, our life is not easy, not by any means or stretch of the imagination. But did Jesus have it easy? Were we called to follow Him?