Wednesday, September 07, 2005
The Birth Child
I don't like to describe my kids as the adopted kids. Often people want to know which are my real kids. All of them.
The birth child is often the over-looked child. the one who stands back while everyone oohs and ahs over all these children who were adopted. Just as the first born child in a family steps back when the new baby comes, Sarah has stepped back 38 times. She spent 14 years as an only child. 14 years when I was still young, fun and unencumbered by the demands of so many other children. We traveled, went to the movies, ate out, spents weeks at the beach, went fishing all summer on a friend's boat, moved to New Orleans for a fun year, zipped down to Florida on a whim often, camped, had free time and grew up together.
In the mid 1980s I started to settle down and look into the challenges of adoption. Sarah went along with this, we went to Honduras and she had 3 new sisters. These three were easy to raise but Sarah had to make a whale of an adjustment and I wasn't always patient about it. She rebelled slightly and went about trying to find her own identity. In many ways she reminded me of me at that age but she was much more level-headed and didn't get married and have a baby fresh out of high school like I did. She liked the university town that we lived in so she didn't move far away as a grown up. She went to college, had a great job and dated a lot.
We've always stayed close, daily and sometimes hourly phone calls, she lives near me now...several acres away with her husband and child.
No one, including me, will know about the emotional sacrifices that she has made in order for me to adopt 38 other children. She's never told me not to adopt and she's never complained about adoption. She's complained about everything else that may have upset her but she has NOT ONCE said a negative word about these adoptions. She's been upset certainly at the crap I've had to endure and she'd been quietly angry at the children who have lashed out and hurt me but she never, ever suggested that I not do this. Sarah is a very opinionated woman and would not hold back an opinion from me.
This journey has been rough on Sarah as well. It is not easy to integrate 38 complicated children into a family over several decades. My children have been extremely needy and demanding and this is what i signed up for. I can deal with it. But could I, would I have been so strong without Sarah's emotional support all these years?
There is emphatically no way I could have done this had Sarah not turned out so well or had Sarah not been there for me. Sarah's inheritance, our property, will be divided up 39 ways. I once felt bad for Sarah about that but she pointed out that we wouldn't necessarily have had God's blessings on us had we not done what we have done all these years for children.
Sarah adores her family. She's involved, concerned and loves each and every one of us. That alone is truly God's blessings on us all.