Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Don't Judge Me

Adoption is near to my heart. We are in the process of adopting a child from Haiti. Our case is different. It seems my husband and I don't do things the way they are "normally" done. For example, my husband decided to get his Master's degree through a distance program. This was many years ago and not many people were doing it that way. He eventually got through and all is good now. I married after my sophomore year of college requiring me to transfer schools. I transferred from a college that was on trimesters to a university that was on semesters. That created some problems and I ended up with way more undergraduate hours than I needed when it was all said and done. Maybe that is why I am so smart. (joking!) Recently, we moved and we have yet to sell our house in Orange City. Some people own two homes, but it certainly has complicated things for us.

Our adoption case is so different because the child (Josie) we are hoping to adopt is living with us. Yip, she has been living with us for over two years now. She has multiple disabilities and special needs. She is here on a medical visa. Our paperwork was in Haiti for WELL over two years and then, you guessed it, the earthquake hit. I was hoping this would help our case and the U.S. would just finalize this adoption. To make a long story short we found out that our adoption must be completed in Haiti. This makes me really mad. We have had to keep up our paperwork, homestudies, and fingerprints while welcoming and loving this girl into our family. At first it was no big deal, but with each expired document comes a renewal fee and simply staying on top of it all has been very difficult for me. Have I mentioned that she is living with us? Most families that have children with special needs get help such as respite, or a case manager to give the family the support they need. Families also get waivers to help with the cost of the doctor's appointments and therapies (physical, occupational, and vision therapies). We don't get any of that because of Josie's status. I get extremely frustrated by this and quite frankly, I need help. But, we have to wait until her adoption is final and now that is again in the hands of the country of Haiti.

This brings me to the point of this post. Recently I read about a mother who adopted a child from Russia and ended up putting him a plane and sending him back. This is a terrible thing and I am horrified by this mother's actions. However, I do understand how she could get to this point. I am not saying what she did was right, but I will admit I have wanted to throw in the towel and be done. I would never put Josie on a plane and send her back to Haiti, but I do understand how this mother must have felt. I want to be done with this process. I don't know the circumstances that drove this mother to do what she did, but I have felt so overwhelmed and so alone in this process. Adoption is hard - the process is hard, the paperwork is hard, and welcoming an older child into your family is hard. Nothing can prepare you for it.

I judge people everyday. I judge people by how they look or how they act. I judge people I know and people I don't know. This is wrong of me. I also know that people judge me everyday. Some people let me know how they feel and most don't. What I am saying is that the next time you judge someone, take a moment to imagine what it would be like to walk in their shoes for a day. Try to think about things from their perspective. I need to be reminded of this everyday. Perhaps there would be less judging going on and more loving and understanding.

Until next time...


  1. Great post, Shelly!
    I am so sorry you have to continue to deal with all the frutstration with your adoption. I too am trying not to judge the woman in Tennessee. While her actions were wrong, maybe, just maybe, some US eyes will open to how they give these kids a home and then run. They fail to offer support and resources after the fact. I watched a woman on CNN say that this woman was inexcusable and there are resources that adoptive families just choose not to use. I was so frustrated as she bashed families not knowing about all these resources.
    Anyway, there are two sides to every story, and its not our place to judge.
    Praying for you and I miss you!

  2. I think of you and Jon everyday and marvel at the way you have handled everything in your lives; i.e. taking a step of faith to move back to the DSM area, adopting beautiful Josie, and the beautiful way Mary, David and Hannah have welcomed her into your family. I believe in the quote "the will of God will never take you where the grace of God will not protect you!" We all judge and it is something we all need to work on. I promise I will never judge your decisions.

  3. Shelly- your words were well-said and powerful. I have tried to remind people of that with this whole story of the failed adoption - do I agree with how she handled it? No! But when we walk a mile in someone else's shoes it helps before we jump to judgement. Although I have probably none of the problems she had, on some level, I relate to her - being given something you had no idea you were getting. I agree - some days it is only by the Grace of God!! Hang in there friend - I pray for you often - it is a high calling, but not easy.