With the addition to Alyssa to our family, adoption is close to my heart. When I tell people she’s adopted they are usually surprised because she looks just like our family. (And is starting to act like us!) They also want to know about her birth mom. We just say she’s an amazing woman who gave us a great gift. No one needs to know all the details.
I’ve had people ask if it’s an open adoption. Yes.
Some have said they would hide the truth and not tell her she was adopted. Personally, I don’t agree with that idea. I know Alyssa will benefit from knowing her birth mom and birth sister. We are a loving family unit and when we adopted Alyssa it didn’t just grow by one, but by three.
Recently I had Gayle Roper on my radio show, and we talked about the adoption of her (now grown) sons. You’ll want to listen to the whole program here, but here is a glimpse into our discussion.
Tell me about this important event in your life and how did it affect you?
Gayle: Adopting our kids was one of our defining moments as a family. We got Chip when he was 2 months old and Jeff when he was 4 months old. It was an adoption through our county agency, and it made us a family in the truest sense.
Meeting Chip’s biological parents has been quite an interesting situation too. “I met my birth father and mother,” Chip said about four year sago. “I’d like you to have them to dinner.” So we did. Very nice people. Very nice evening.
What was the saddest moment?
Gayle: Perhaps the saddest moment was realizing we’d never have any biological kids due to my being surgically sterile (endometriosis and cancer). I almost write never have any kids of our own, but Chip and Jeff are our own as surely as if they’d been born to us.
What was the happiest moment?
Gayle: There are multiple happy moments through the years, but getting the kids was at the tops of the list. Bringing these little guys home was very special.
Also happy was the meeting of Richard and Barbara, knowing they were going to have the chance to know Chip and his family.
How did you experience God during this event?
Gayle: We had always told our boys that when they were 18 we would help them find their birth families if this is what they wanted to do. We determined never to put ourselves in competition with these people. Everyone loses that way. And we owed our family to these unknown people.
We knew as believers that God’s love stretches to include the world. It stretched to caring enough for us to send Jesus to die for us. The least our love could do was expand to allow our kids to care for others besides us. Love is like that: it grows without lessening the affection that’s already there.
I acknowledge that Chip is fortunate in that his parents were a good find. Not all situations are this good. Some kids find family that is disappointing or hurtful. Of course he wasn’t looking; it came to him. And he wasn’t expecting these people to fill all the holes in his life. That’s putting too much expectation on anyone. Only the Lord can fill the holes in us.
What hope or encouragement do you have for others who may be facing the same situation?
Gayle: Everyone in the adoption triangle is hurting in some way. They wouldn’t be involved in adoption if they weren’t. It’s important to acknowledge this fact.
It’s also important to acknowledge that finding a birth family or a child given up for adoption will not fix all problems. Questions may be answered—or not. You may find people to love—or not. You may find a place you belong—or not. You may find new worries or problems—or not.
Thank you, Gayle! It’s wonderful how God has blessed your family through adoption.
You can listen to the rest of Gayle’s story—and hear about her new novel!–here.