Thursday, November 15, 2012

Open Adoption Bloggers: Interview With A Fellow Adoptive Mama

I had the privilege of "meeting" Stephanie and her family through this year's Open Adoption Bloggers' Interview Project.     Stephanie and I interviewed one another on the subjects of all-things-adoption and life in general.  :)   Enjoy learning about Stephanie, and I hope you will stop by her blog and say hello!

Rachel:   Your blog pictures feature your beautiful rainbow family. Give me one sentence on each family member (name, age, and something cool about each person).

Stephanie:  (Ahem … as long as I use semi-colons it is still considered just one sentence, right??)

Pedro is forty years old and has faced life’s adventures with me for fifteen years of marriage; by God’s grace he keeps our family grounded with his calm wisdom and laughing with his great sense of humor.

Stephanie is thirty-six years old and a lover of chocolate, language, music, family, and learning more of God and His intimate work in the human heart and across this wide world.
Eva is eleven years old and every animal is her friend; she has an ear for music and a mind constantly swirling with questions; she is a tender, loving daughter and a typical, bossy big sister.

Isabel is ten years old and our miracle child whose years of therapies and doctor’s visits for mild CP have softened her heart into one of utmost compassion for others; she hopes to be a medical missionary to Haiti one day.

Owen is seven years old and a Daddy’s boy full of energy, joy, athleticism, and the frequent deep thought that gives us a glimpse into his intelligent mind and beautiful, sensitive spirit.
Ian is four years old (five in December) and a curious, busy, friendly little man who has a hard time slowing down and who continues to process life and language with the love of his family.
Alec is four years old with a strong spirit and a bright mind; he is a fighter and a lover; stubborn, sweet, and funny.

R:  As an experienced adoptive parent, what advice would you offer to a person or couple who is beginning their adoption journey?
S:  Make sure you and your spouse are both fully committed to the adventure that awaits you, and then jump in with faith! Don’t let finances or waiting for the “perfect” time hold you back: God will supply, and His timing is perfect. Do be aware that on the way to your child/ren, it is highly likely you will experience adoption loss but trust that God already knows exactly who your child/ren will be. Grieve if necessary, but don’t give up! Follow the stories of others who are adopting from your child’s country (if international) and familiarize yourself with the adoption laws in different states (if domestic.) Compassionately consider adoption from a birth parent’s point of view, and be sincere and trustworthy in your adoption relationships.

R:  You have a large, multi-racial family. What has your parenting journey taught you thus far in regards to adoption, race, and managing a household of many children?

S:  I have discovered that I must be a willing, humble learner on this wild parenting journey because I will never “arrive” and I will always need God’s grace. Regarding adoption, I have learned to be sensitive in creating opportunities for my children to safely and openly talk about their feelings and experiences. Concerning both race and adoption, I have discovered that these topics will always be just under the surface for my children and I must be available and prepared to help them explore and understand their own reality and work through their emotions. Managing a household of many children has its challenges, but most of all it is FUN! There is no greater feeling than having all my “chicks” together and we make it a priority to safeguard our home time, make fun memories, and reinforce the blessing of being FAMILY.
R:    You and your family live what many would consider a rather adventurous and extraordinary life: you live in Chile, you have adopted, you are missionaries. Tell me more about this phase in your life, and where do you see your family in ten years?

S:  We are currently drawing to a close nearly one year living back in the United States for furlough ministry, which has consisted of thousands of miles of travel and reporting in person to over twenty supporting churches in five different states! In January, we will pack up our family of seven and fly back to Chile for another term (4 years) of ministry. We love the life God has given us in a very unique part of the world with its desert, sand and sea and wonderful people. In ten years, if God allows, we will be experiencing that bittersweet reality of missionary life which is having kids stateside in college while we remain overseas. I pray it will be a time of looking back and celebrating all that God has done, and of looking forward with expectation to the dreams He will yet fulfill!

R:  I'm going to ask a nosy question...but I'm sure it's one your blog readers are wondering. Will you adopt again? ;)

S:  If you ask my husband, the answer is a resounding no. But since you’ve asked me, my answer is “never say never!” For the past nearly three years since our “dynamic duo” arrived from Haiti, I have felt that our family was complete. But I do get the baby itch every now and then, and I’ve always loved the idea of adopting from Chile if the opportunity presented itself. Only God knows!

R:  Finally, if you could give the world one message about adoption, what would it be?

S:  Open your heart to loving a child through adoption, and you will never be the same!

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