Adoption is the single biggest quest Charlotte and I have ever undertaken. The roots of this quest could be traced back to the mid-70s, before we were married, when I met Charlotte’s Uncle Leon at a family picnic. He and his wife had adopted a Native American boy into their large family. He and I talked about adoption quite a bit in those days. Then life took over. Cara was born in 1988. Soon after that, Charlotte’s Mom’s health began to fail because of diabetes. She went on peritoneal dialysis which, in those days, was only effective for 3 to 5 years. During that time we watched her condition slowly but steadily deteriorate; Charlotte’s Mom only made it three years on dialysis. On top of that, Charlotte’s Dad died unexpectedly just six months before her Mom. By 1999 we had been through a lot. We began talking about adoption.
So what began as one adoption turned into five. Five times we gathered paperwork, met with family psychologists, got all sorts of medical tests and scrounged up the cash to make each of these trips happen. After nine or so months of that we finally journeyed to the People’s Republic of China for twelve days of more paperwork, getting a passport, some more doctor visits while trying to develop a line of communication with these girls whose ages ranged from 3 to 7 1/2 at the time of their adoptions. None of them had any knowledge of English. My Mandarin vocabulary might have gotten me directions to the nearest restroom (which was an adventure in itself) or maybe a glass of water, or of something that looks like water.
Very quickly we became a very diverse family. Cara, who had been an only child for eleven years, gained five sisters in seven years. We have six daughters each with uniquely different genetics. The girls from China represent two (or maybe even three) different ethnic groups and came from four different provinces in China. They all had some sort of special health need, although we did not know that about the first two until we got back to the States.
Just as quickly, however, we became a close family. All six of our daughters have had an extraordinary impact on Charlotte and me (the Adoption and Family tags will take you to some stories from along the way!) God opened several doors for us during these times and it all worked out better than we ever could have imagined. Today we continue to grow together even as Cara is now married and in a house of her own, and Erin and Jenna are in college soon to be followed by Lain, Laci and Avery. This was the quest that made our life what it is today.
See more ‘quests’ at the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Quest!