Notebook > Lifestyle

The adopting lifestyle

"The adopting lifestyle" Continued...

Issue: "Babies are back," Jan. 29, 2011

The strains of adoption

When families don't sufficiently consider the strains of adopting older or special-needs children, Bob and Ramona Edwards of Huntsville, Ala., step in. They have adopted eight of their 11 children, and their specialty is adopting older children (ranging in age from 8 to 14). Their experience helps them to counsel other families who struggle with older adopted children: They hope, Ramona says, "to avoid dissolutions and keep families together."

The Edwardses have also adopted children whose previous adoptions have dissolved: "Parenting a child from an adoption dissolution brings tremendous emotional challenges (more so even than the three teens we had previously adopted from Russia), as the adopted child has gone through the process of having been rejected at least twice, once by biological parents, once by adoptive parents." Ramona tells the story of her daughter, one of a sibling group of three sisters from Vietnam, whose adoptive mother realized soon after bringing them home "that she was ill equipped to handle parenting these young girls, whose ages were approximately 3, 6, and 11."

The adoptive mother contacted TSC to help her find another home for these children, resulting in an urgent message to the email list. The Edwardses contacted the adoptive mother and learned she had decided to separate the siblings, with the two younger girls going to another adoptive family and the older girl going to a state agency. The Edwardses "pleaded to adopt all three of the girls, but when it became clear that this would not be possible, we set out to adopt the older girl, sight unseen."

The process to adopt went quickly. Within a week of hearing about her, the Edwardses had guardianship of their new daughter. About 10 days later Ramona and her daughter flew home to join the rest of the family: "Our daughter was deeply traumatized by having been separated from her siblings, but by the grace of God we were slowly able to win her heart and truly have her as a part of our family."

Susan Olasky
Susan Olasky

Susan pens book reviews and other articles for WORLD as a senior writer and has authored eight historical novels for children. Susan and her husband Marvin live in Asheville, N.C. Follow Susan on Twitter @susanolasky.

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