ADOPTIONSHARE May 2014
A word from our founder
By Anthea Ramirez, Chief Sharer In his recent blog post, Gary Thomas reframes a powerful perspective on having children. In it, he writes how often individuals and couples postpone parenting because of this age old excuse:“time.” Although Gary makes it clear that couples struggling with infertility have moved well beyond deciding whether or not they are ready to become parents, I feel his message can still apply to prospective adoptive parents, especially when considering whether or not to adopt again. Regardless of how you plan on expanding your family, a very real hurdle must first be overcome, and that is typically answering this question: “is now a good time?” This question and the very real answers that follow are undoubtedly difficult to navigate. Things like career, savings, present life circumstances all come into laser like focus when trying to determine identifying the right time. Undoubtedly, having to truthfully evaluate whether or not our schedules and life plans include children can create tension. Its a conversation that often is not necessarily resolved in one or two discussions.
In Creating Time, Gary talks about his life before children. As a successful author who has traveled the world as a speaker, counselor, and writer, hindsight is in fact 20/20. Its easy to look over your shoulder in your later years when you have the knowledge that everything worked out. But for Gary, this is exactly his point. Becoming a parent means your accomplishments, your dreams, your goals, even your possessions grow with the size of your family. By becoming a parent, you are not only expanding your family, you are expanding your life through the generations that will follow. It’s a pretty powerful perspective actually and one that is usually lost in the Buzzfeed quiz culture known for its 5 question surveys that somehow can determine my personality, perfect job, and even what city I am destined to live in. Its a paradigm shift, calling us away from our self and instead outward to our impact and influence on others. And in a very ironic twist, it is this perspective that takes us into a life that accomplishes more, influences more, and becomes more through each generation that follows. May this perspective encourage you as you wrestle with the decision of expanding your family.
ADOPTIONSHARE May 2014
“Why Not?” Pat Williams On Adopting 14 Kids Meet Pat Williams, Senior Vice President of the Orlando Magic, devoted husband, active father, inspirational speaker, renowned author, and doting grandfather. Pat’s career path into professional sports team management has evolved over the course of his nearly 50 year career. Despite managing an entire enterprise, Pat is the proud father to 19 children and 12 grandchildren! In our interview with Pat, he shared that among all of his life achievements, nothing makes him more proud then his role as father in chief to his large and growing family. Adoption-Share: Why did you and your first wife Jill decide to adopt? Why so many? Pat Williams: First and foremost, it was Jill's idea. The first 10 years of marriage, Jill talked endlessly about adopting children that "didn't look like us," and at the 10 year mark, it became an issue in our marriage. I started looking into adopting and found that at the time, South Korea was the country you could readily adopt from. I located an agency. We were sent pictures of two little girls. We had a pow wow with our 3 birth kids and made the decision as a family to adopt. In September of 1983, 2 little girls arrived at the airport, escorted by two off duty airline officials. And that was that. I caught the bug. These two precious children convinced me that adoption was in fact what the Lord had called my family to. Over the next 10 year period, we adopted 14 children. As to the why? I have no fancy reason...I guess, "why not?" Adoption-Share: Our society is fascinated by large families. Meet the Duggars, John and Kate Plus 8, and there was talk that the woman who had octuplets was going to have her own reality show. Why do you think our culture is fascinated by large families? Do you think this is a fad or are we seeing a re-emergence and acceptance of large families? Pat Williams: No I don't think having large families will become a common thing in our society. First of all it's expensive. I have made a lot of money in my lifetime but having a large family is the quickest way to spend it. I think society is fascinated by these families, families like mine, because its not common. They are fascinated and intrigued with these supposed "super parents" who have so many kids.
ADOPTIONSHARE May 2014
Adoption-Share: You and Jill began adopting way ahead of this fad we are seeing on television (the interest in large families). What was the reaction of your friends and family as you continued adopting? Were you ever concerned with what people would think or thought about you? Pat Williams: I can't really remember the reactions. I think most of it from what I recall was supportive, some intrigue, but not a lot of criticism. I remember my oldest son Jimmy came to me one day and said, "don't you think you should get some other families to help you with this?" (laughing) Ah, he was so cute. I mean he was genuinely concerned Jill and I were going to adopt every single child who didn't have a mother or a father. I don't believe I was ever preoccupied with other people's opinions. I guess we would not have adopted if we really were. Adoption-Share: You talked about this concept of what you coined, "the red thread." In synopsis, it is the summation of a child's gifts and abilities and how as parents we are responsible in exposing our kids to as much as possible. We should encourage them to continue on in the things that bring out their God given talents and abilities. As a father of 19 children, how were you able to do this? Pat Williams: Well, first of all adoption is not for everyone. I tried really hard when my children were young to be present. I worked my schedule out so that I could be there for them as much as I could. Most of the things my kids were concerned about were things like, "dad, are you going to be at my game tonight?" I didn't miss many of their activities. My kids wanted me to be present. Fortunately I was not a golfer or stamp collector. My kids were my focus, my number one priority. Adoption-Share: Some people are afraid to begin the adoption process because they are afraid their marriage won't last. What would you say to those people? Pat Williams: I would say, you better be sure you have a strong marriage. Lots of issues you never imagined come up when you have a house full of children. I am not saying adopting my kids led to our divorce, Jill left the marriage. I am saying if there are weak spots, kids will exacerbate these areas of your marriage. You have to make sure you have a strong marriage. Connect with Pat on Twitter and Facebook!
ADOPTIONSHARE May 2014
Calling all home study approved adoptive families living in the following states: ALABAMA, ALASKA, and ARKANSAS. Join adoption-share.com today and save 50% off your annual subscription! Write in 50 STATES when asked who referred you during registration.
Click here to read more from renowned author Gary Thomas, our inspiration behind this monthâ€™s letter from our founder. Gary is an award winning author, tackling complex subjects like parenting and marriage with grace and precision. To read more from Gary Thomas, click here to go to his blog!
ADOPTIONSHARE May 2014
Divorce After Adoption: Myths and Facts Dr. Rita Laws Adopted children have, by definition, suffered previous loss. There should be special attention paid to meeting their emotional needs during this time. A little extra sensitivity goes a long way. Divorce is one of the most stressful events that human beings can go through.... Myth: The divorce will make the adoption null and void automatically, and we will lose our child. Fact: No. Divorce can and often does affect the status of a foster care placement, but it has no legal effect on a finalized adoption. Once adopted, a child is your child legally just as if he or she had been born to you. If your adoption has not yet been finalized, it will be up to the court to decide if one or both parents should be allowed to finalize the placement as the marriage dissolves. The recommendation of the adoption agency will be an important factor in the decision. If you wish to finalize the adoption as a single parent, make sure the agency knows this. Myth: Adoptive parents are more likely to divorce. Fact: There is no evidence to support this and in fact, there is reason to believe that the opposite is true. Adoptive parents undergo a great deal of scrutiny individually and as a couple during the home-study process. If a marriage is on shaky ground, the agency will recommend against adoption and reject the application. Further, most adoptive and many foster parents have experienced infertility and have longed for and struggled emotionally and financially to become parents. If the marriage survives the stress of infertility, it is logical to assume that the adoptive parents will work very hard to keep the marriage and the family intact.
â€œMyth: Adoptive parents are more likely to divorce.â€?
Myth: The non-custodial parent can pay less child support if the child is receiving an adoption subsidy. Fact: No. Federal law says that assistance is the child's entitlement based on disability and has nothing to do with parental income or support. The adoption subsidy program is designed to help offset some of the costs associated with special needs. It was never designed to be a substitute for typical parental support during or after marriage. NACAC, the North American Council on Adoptable Children, offers free literature on this subject. Myth: If I divorce, I won't be able to adopt again. Fact: Generally, this is false. Single parents, and people who have been married more than once are not denied the chance to adopt again for those reasons alone. As long as the agency feels you can be a good parent, your marital history is not a major factor. However, some countries will not allow international adoption by any single or divorced or re-married persons. If adopting internationally, ask your agency for a list of countries that do not practice this type of global discrimination. About the Author: Dr. Laws is mother to 12 children both biological and adopted children. She is the author of several books on special needs adoption. Dr. Laws survived single parenthood, watched her children grow into responsible adults and spends her time spoiling her new grandchild and fostering dogs.
ADOPTIONSHARE May 2014
Have you joined THE adoption network? Adoption-Share.com is an online networking platform and support group. Adoption-Share is not like most adoption websites and it is the ONLY online community exclusively for networking crisis pregnancy centers, licensed agencies, home study approved adoptive parents and birth parents. Let our online family enhance your knowledge, expand your network and help you achieve your adoption goals efficiently and effectively. Visit us online HERE.
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