Happy Adoption Day from The Guire Shire

It Was Twenty Years Ago today

Twenty years ago today, four kiddos got off a plane with Grandude, and my hubby, Jerry, to come to their new home. They had flown from Warsaw, Poland to Chicago, and then to Pittsburgh.

In a hospital, thirty minutes away, my stepfather, Bud was slowly, silently, slipping away – going on to glory (as he would say). As Dickens so poetically pointed out:

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”

Today, twenty years later, I reflect, rejoice, celebrate, and grieve. Those early days after the adoption were the season of light and the season of darkness all rolled into one. Today I celebrate the addition of my four kiddos, as well as grieve the loss of Bud. It was during this season I learned through experience how joy and sorrow could co-exist.

Joy and Sorrow

I experienced the joy of my kiddos in their firsts:

  • Living in a house for the first time
  • Having enough to eat at EVERY meal
  • Sleeping in beds with relative safety (not being beat up or molested in the middle of the night)

If there was any night time activity it was night terror which we tried our best to comfort. We prayed long and hard because we were out of our depth. Or it was Gregory jumping on a sibling, just because he could.

Grieving and Growing

We were all grieving and growing. My kiddos were grieving their old life. Letting go of the past is difficult no matter what sort of past it is. I was grieving because I felt Bud slipping away. He had been my first link to unconditional love. He died a week after the kiddos came home.

Despite our grief, we were growing together, meals at the table, putting on puppet shows, playing with dolls, tea sets, Legos, and race car sets. Playing, reading, and shared family meal times knit us together even though frayed ends stretched and pulled, trying to unravel us. Hateful words. Meltdowns. Night terrors. Hoarding. Medical issues. Survival mode. Disorganized attachment. Before you think I’m only talking about the kiddos, don’t. It was me too. Totally raising my hand.

If you are reading this and thinking, I can’t adopt. It’s too hard. What if I enter a Job syndrome? May I ask you a question? Did you come into the family of God kicking and screaming? Were (or are) old beliefs still hanging on for dear life? Beliefs that tell you:

  • You don’t matter.
  • You are not chosen.
  • God doesn’t love YOU.

If so, you are worth fighting for. Aren’t you? If you’re not sure, the answer is YES! And so is every orphaned, abandoned, and neglected child. As Jesus said, let the children come to me, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 9:14 paraphrase). Just as you are worth it, so are those children who need a home. Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted, to set the captives (physical and spiritual) free, to open the eyes of the blind, to bind up wounds, and give gladness instead of mourning. We are anointed to do the same. Don’t let the thought of doing hard things stop you from pursuing adoption.

Final Thoughts

If I had a time machine and I could go back to pre-adoption me, would I still adopt? Yes. I’m so proud of my kiddos, who they have become and all the life lessons they have taught me along the way.

Fifteen Years later: An adoption memoir list

It was late, way past bedtime and I was reading three books to my some of my grandkids- Sam, Theoden and Lucy. We sat on the edge of the bottom bunk which always seems like a great idea until sleepy kids lean back on me. Theoden put his little hand on the small of my back and a warmth came over me. Connection. The awe of the moment. Three trusting souls leaning on me. Trusting me.  I was suddenly transported to another time, another place. An orphanage, a world away and fifteen years earlier, I am reading to children who lean on me, listening, Waiting. Not trusting yet. But, there is that hope. That hope of a future together (on my part). Those small bodies. Those small hands.

Fifteen years ago, yesterday, four new Guires landed in the states and we became a family of nine. We had spent five weeks in Poland, during our initial visit, for four of them we lived in the orphanage.

So, things are a little different now. My house was once a bustling center of activity daily and now it seems to come in blips. Holidays find my house bursting at the seams with children, their spouses, grandchildren and extended family. On a daily basis, some days are quiet (weird) and other have short bursts of bustle-college kids stopping by, grandkids spending the night. It is just, well different. So, as I muse on the past fifteen years, I thought I’d make a list of things I have learned over the years about life and adoption.

1. Adoption is positive.  It was God’s idea. All of His ideas are good.

Photo: #createdforcare #adoption

2. Kids from hard places can connect.

3. You are not in control. Step back and let God work.

4. The activities your kids whine and complain about the most will become their favorite memories.

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5. Not everyone understands the work you have done raising your children. Don’t expect them to.

6. You cannot carry your children’s burdens/past. They eventually have to face it on their own, when they choose

7. Your kids have triggers. So do you and you have to deal with your past in order to help them face theirs.

8. Hard is good. Nothing worth accomplishing is easy. Don’t be afraid of hard. It strengthens you.

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9. Your job is not to raise happy children. They have to choose to be happy. Be happy yourself!

10. Life is a box of chocolates. You never know what you are going to get. Financial trouble. Sickness. Heartache. Adopting children does not make your life perfect,  but life is  good with children. They make every day an adventure.

11. Your children are not what happened to them. They are unique and God has a purpose for each them. Don’t tell Him what it is. He will tell them. He is writing their story.

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12. Don’t expect your kids to do what everybody else’s kids are doing!  They have a different schedule. They don’t have to measure up/compare to everyone else. Neither do you!

13. Your best life is the life God has given you. Enjoy it. Hunker down in the moment. Feel the small hand on your back. Let thankfulness overwhelm you.

14. Don’t be overwhelmed by your present circumstances. They will pass. So, before they do, find something good in the moment you can savor as a memory later.

15. There is a season for everything. This season of raising children is going to come to a close at some point. Make sure you have something purposeful for to do while you raise your children and when they leave the nest. Find your bent and follow it.

Want to read more of my story? You can! My book is now available! Click on image below to go directly to Amazon.

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