Tweet Guest Post By Ross at Painfully Optomistic
First of all I want to thank Amy for allowing me this opportunity to share my story here with everyone. When I had read Amy’s blog for the first time I saw that they were adopting and I felt that there was almost this instant connection. The reason for this is that my wife and I have adopted two children. We adopted our first daughter Emily from China when she was 19 months old, and our second daughter Katelyn from Ethiopia when she was 6 months old. When you adopt there is a bond between other adoptive parents that is hard to explain. When we adopted for the first time it was very emotional, and you get to know and rely a lot on other adoptive families to help you through the process. Not only do you rely on others but strong friendships get built because you often travel in groups to go get your child. After you’ve come home with your child then you start joining the adoptive circles and more friendships are formed. In 2005 we started our journey to adopt! We traveled halfway around the world to get our daughter in China and knew the first day that we held her, that God had chosen us to be her parents.
Six months after we got home with our first daughter I was diagnosed with a disease called CRPS which caused me to lose function in my left hand and foot. So now not only did we have to deal with a new daughter who didn’t know us, but we had to deal with all of my health issues as well. It really did seem like life was spinning out of control and my wife was forced to go back to work while I stayed at home with our daughter. Up until that point my wife had been the stay at home mom. CRPS is a chronic pain condition so I am in pain all the time. If you want to learn more about my disease and the things that go on day to day then visit my site at http://painfullyoptomistic.com .
Adjustments were needed in order for us to function as a family. Things like picking up my daughter weren’t easy for me so I had to find ways in which to adapt so that I could. I was really sensitive to noise, suffering from chronic headaches. So we had to find ways to work around that with a 1yr old who cried a lot. There are a lot of other issues that came up but all you really need to know is that it took some adaptation in our daily routines with a child. It was a very stressful time in our lives and we relied on God to get us through a lot of hard times. Over time things became a little easier and things just kind of fell into place. I may have had physical challenges but I was going to get around things and be the best father I could be.
In 2007 we decided to go through the whole process again and adopt Katelyn from Ethiopia. We had wanted to go back to China but when starting the process were told that in order to adopt some of the qualifications had changed. In order to adopt you had to have 4 perfectly good working limbs. I was a little angry because who says that if you have a disability you can’t parent a child. Especially when I was already doing a perfectly good job of it! Anyway we then decided to go through Ethiopia and brought home our second child. Having a second child at home made things even tougher to manage with my disability but I knew I could do it. At that point in time I felt like I had to be crazy for doing this all again, but felt that God was calling us to do it.
Often people ask us how we manage to raise two kids and deal with an illness like this. I can honestly say that it’s a family effort and all of us have done our part. At the same time I’d tell people that I wouldn’t change anything. It has been one of if not the most rewarding things I’ve done in my life!