By Ann Martin, Lifeline Adoptive Mom (Costa Rica Program)
“Yes, we’d like to know more about those two children.”
That was our first “yes” in our adoption journey. Some wonderful old friends, who themselves have already adopted 7 children and thought it might be somebody else’s turn, had posted online about a sibling pair waiting to be adopted from Costa Rica. So we said, “Yes, we’d like to know more about those two children.”
But of course, saying “yes” to adoption is not only saying yes once. It is an avalanche of yeses – starting with that one, single step and plunging you deeper and deeper into a story, a life, and an adventure – none of which, maybe, you were expecting. One “yes” turns into a thousand yeses, and with each one, we went deeper and deeper into this adventure.
Our adventure began with a blurred-out photo of a sibling pair from Costa Rica and the following report: “Girl, age 16, deaf and special needs. No language skills. Sweet and helpful with the younger children. Biological brother, age 5. Gregarious, energetic, and charming.” The report continued, “These are waiting children – ready to be adopted – and they must be adopted soon or the older child will age-out of the system and the two cases will be separated to make the younger boy ‘more adoptable.’”
We believe greatly in the power of family. Someone needed to say “yes” to these kids, not only to welcome them into a new family, but to keep what was left of their fractured family intact. In this case, two forever families would be able to be together all with a single “yes.”
I suppose whether or not we say “yes” to something depends a great deal on who is asking. For us, we felt strongly that it was not only an agency asking, not only a Facebook post asking, and not just these kids asking for parents – it was God Himself, asking for our “yes.” These kids were His kids, and they needed a “yes.” However, through time, prayer, and careful consideration, we knew this “yes” was ours to say. If He is asking, how could we say “no?”
“Yes” begins commitments, promises, adventures, and families. Saying “yes” to adoption begins all those things at once. And we have had to say “yes” to many, many things. It meant saying “yes” to extra adoption paperwork for older children. Saying “yes” to these kids meant welcoming two children with hard backgrounds – and all its challenges, some of them unknown – into a home with three young, biological children. It meant saying “yes” to learning a completely new language (ASL) for our entire family, and saying “yes” to forever being a bilingual family (with a short-term stint as a tri-lingual family while little brother was learning English). It meant saying “yes” to shuffling bedrooms and making our modest home fit for 7. And it meant saying “yes” to considering all the realities and practical applications that the term “special needs” could mean…without really knowing the full extent of her challenges. But if He is asking, how could we say “no?”
Some yeses were beautiful. Some were heartbreaking. Many were (and still are) hard. All of them were necessary… because when you say “yes” to two children, you say whatever yeses you have to say in order to bring them home. And the avalanche keeps going – destroying some things in its path (comforts, naive plans, old ways of doing things), but also clearing the way for new life, new adventure, and greater obedience.
Our avalanche of yeses also triggered something else: a song. You see our “yes” was not (and couldn’t be) a solo “yes.” We simply did not have the money to do this alone. In order for our story and our song to continue, we would need other people to say “yes,” too. We would need a chorus of yeses. It’s sort of like starting to sing “Happy Birthday” in a room full of people; nobody starts that song hoping it will be a solo. You start the song as a way of inviting everyone else to sing along because that special person in front of the cake deserves it.
Our “yes” became a beautiful choir of family, friends, (and in some cases complete strangers) all singing “yes” together, and all for two very special children on the other side of the world that none of us had met – because, intrinsically, they deserved it. They all sang “yes” with generous donations, volunteer time, hosting fundraisers, prayers, babysitting, and so much more. In our story, a solo never would have accomplished it. We absolutely needed hundreds of other people to say “yes,” too. And they did. It sounds beautiful and overwhelming. And it’s loud enough to encourage us, even when it has been hard.
Our children may never understand how much it took to bring them home to us. Our friends and family may never understand how much their generosity means to us (because we just don’t have the words to express it fully). But there is power in the “yes” – of that much I am sure. And there’s even more power when we all say “yes” together.
For us, it was an avalanche of yeses beginning with a single yes. It was the first line of a song asking for others to join in. In both ways, it started with one “yes” and grew to be so much more. And it ended with our family growing by two and all of our lives being changed forever.
The Martins are just one family forever impacted by your generosity. Help us to change one life together, this holiday season.