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Some thoughts on Adopting an ‘Older Child’

Last night, Andrew went to go play drums at TNL, “Yeah, just go babe, you’ll have fun.”


Elijah was being the pickle of all pickles during dinner time, and when the big two were finished, “It’s ok mama, Finley, you wan come play my room?”


“I want mama!”


But, look, look at these!” 


He toddled into her room right behind her and I heard them playing sweetly on their own, as I finished feeding little ‘lijah.  When I peaked in, they had gotten out the letter flash cards and she was helping him practice.



And as I wrapped up with Elijah, who ended up having a nice, big dinner, I heard, “Mama, look Finley, baby!  Play baby.”


She even gave him her doll’s pacifier

“Finley, is Elijah your best friend?” I asked him the other day.
“No.  ‘aria” -Finley


I haven’t seen him with a pacifier in more than a year, it’s so darn cute!  No seriously, just look at this picture.  Stick a fork in me…

It’s these moments that I remember our feelings when God asked us to adopt an ‘older’ child.  How I actually felt a bit sad, yet resigned to following God’s will for our life.  “Why not someone a better fit for our young family?  Why not someone closer to play age with Finley,” which I remember as I see Finley play better, more tenderly, creatively and apparently even educationally with Maria than with anyone I have ever see him play with.  And this girl gets to live with us, and we get to call her daughter, and my boys get to call her sister.

There is not only one way to add a child to your family, there are beautiful, life saving, wonderful ways that will change and alter for the better those involved.  As people line up, one after another, waiting for a perfect 9 month old baby, older children wait, they hurt, they are told to leave the only home they know when they become 17 where many, or most, find destruction or worse.


Which is when I remember,
//Provide justice for the needy and the fatherless;
uphold the rights of the oppressed and the destitute.
Rescue the poor and needy;
save them from the power of the wicked.//


Proverbs 82:3-4
We didn’t know what we were doing, who adopts an older child?  But those moments we spent with those ‘older’ kids, up in some hole in the wall room, the light of afternoon filling the space, a little hand slipping into my palm, hopeful eyes reaching mine, a head on my shoulder, a young boy hoping for a spot on our lap, joy on their faces, thankfulness over the offering of stickers, gentle, kind, one thing in my mind was concreted, and it’s that I would have taken any of them, we couldn’t offer much, except ourselves, which is all they wanted.



Precious, wonderful, created to be loved, but told otherwise.



But the thing I just can’t get over it what a gift it all is, to us.  It seriously is not what we were looking for.  And now I know, and now we experience how much it is a gift to be a piece in God’s plan for their redemption, to show and tell them that they are actually of value, and worth, and worthy of love each day.  That stuff that used to crowd the space in our minds sometimes tries to come back, but meanwhile you are living the truth daily with these little ones, that service and love and God are best of all.


 And when you are part of it, and you see them grow, nothing will compare.  We didn’t even know before we started, just naively said yes, trusting God’s goodness…


Trust worthy guy I tell you.


Maria’s answer on her bsf homework last week…


Playing dress up
Music Lesson
We don’t know much, but Andrew and I know that our kids, all three of them need love, much love, despite the way their ages make them act, despite their fears and needs, which is so darn good for Andrew and I.  Love is hard work that takes so many forms, grace, discipline, laughter, lots of time, but it causes us to push ourselves aside and offer love–freedom from self, so good, cause we’re not that great.

And aren’t we part of a group of people who are about second chances?  Are we a people of redemption, who will go to those hard places and find the little ones and chose to be a part of God’s plan of their redemption?  Because, I know, and I feel, and it is our greatest honor to be the ones to bind up their broken hearts.  To proclaim their freedom from the darkness.  To give them clothing of praise instead of ashes.
And I am constantly reminded that their growth is not in our strength, but oh my gosh God’s strength, who was the one who planned this whole thing to begin with.  Two people, much too young, much to broke, much to inexperienced to adopt, let alone parent the one we already had, but in the midst of that still seeing their thriving.  And a kind God who allows thriving in our own hearts as well, pushing us towards our ultimate goal which is always to love God more and love others better, all others.  Even the ones who don’t treat us how we want, or the ones who cry when we try to feed them, or who we feel like having an attitude with when the answer is grace.   All of ’em, and that’s what we are growing to do, and for that we give big thanks.

“We bend. I bend to sweep crumbs and I bend to wipe vomit and I bend to pick up little ones and wipe away tears… And at the end of these days I bend next to the bed and I ask only that I could bend more, bend lower. Because I serve a Savior who came to be a servant. He lived bent low. And bent down here is where I see His face. He lived, only to die. Could I? Die to self and just break open for love. This Savior, His one purpose to spend Himself on behalf of messy us. Will I spend myself on behalf of those in front of me? And people say, “Don’t you get tired?” and yes, I do. But I’m face to face with Jesus in the dirt, and the more I bend the harder and better and fuller this life gets. And sure, we are tired, but oh we are happy. Because bent down low is where we find fullness of Joy.”

Katie J. Davis



I’d say, if you feel like God is leading you to adopt an older child, don’t feel crazy, go for it.  Seriously, what a huge need you are filling, we wouldn’t only just support you but stand on our chairs and cheer, and give you big kisses, *on the mouth.*  You can even just host them for a bit.


Also, Elijah loves biting into food when he’s outside, go figure!  We’ve been picking a lot of oranges from the tree in the empty lot.



Goodbye, love, kisses!


Adoption, bravery, love, big kids, yes to love!





Don’t be afraid, there’s kids who need just you to say yes.
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  • Katie February 20, 2013, 11:44 pm

    I had to stop in the middle and comment because I can’t go another minute without saying it… when I read Maria’s answer on her homework, saw her sweet little letters… “God Maria home”… I just cried. She doesn’t take the gift of a family for granted like most of us do. She’s not thankful for something worldly like a toy or candy like most kids would be… she’s thankful to have a home. That’s the most beautiful and heartbreaking thing I’ve ever heard. Oh please, oh please, Church, bring these older kids home! Give them the chance they want so badly… the chance they DESERVE! Give them a chance to bless you too…

  • Chelsea February 21, 2013, 3:36 am

    I can not tell you how much your story has inspired me. My husband and I have had adoption planted in our hearts for the last few years. Every situation that we have looked into has just not felt right. I came across your blog from RR and the answer was there. An older child! That was the answer! My heart burned with joy and I could feel that God had finally been able to tell me his will in a way that was loving, not threatening, and encouraging.
    I so wish we could proceed with Adopting Kate. I even spoke w Andrea from RR. I pray that God will move our mountain and soften the hearts of the Russian leaders that we may someday (hopefully soon) be able to start the process of bringing her home.
    Please continue to share your beautiful experiences with your family. It has helped so much ease the fear, concern, and uncertainty of foreign/ older child adoption for me and I’m sure, many others.

  • Carla February 21, 2013, 5:04 am

    I love this post. We have been home for just a couple weeks with our “older” child…I’m absolutely overwhelmed with what a treasure he is. I’m completely humbled that God chose us for this child…and that despite our fears, doubts, and inadequacies I get to see redemption happen each day, in my own home. Thankyou for your words, encouraging older child adoption! p.s i’m totally jealous of your oranges right now…we used to pick them when we lived in North Baja…now we just live surrounded by snow drifts. haha…enjoy your sweet kids and oranges!

  • Miriam February 22, 2013, 12:10 pm

    You have another one for #TeamIris! 🙂 I came to your blog because Reece’s Rainbow mentioned on FB. I’ve been sitting here reading your blog for nearly 2hrs with more than a few tears trickling down my cheeks! How could I say no to little Iris?! I’ve donated on RR & will remember her in my prayers. I’ll be following your blog to hear how it all goes. Thanks for sharing your lives, advocating for these children & encouraging us with stories of God’s faithfulness.

  • votemom February 22, 2013, 2:48 pm

    i’ve been following your blog for a while –
    thank you so much for sharing so vulnerably.
    i love your utter dependence on HIM.
    my husband and i adopted two little precious girlies from russia almost six years ago. they came to us in our older years, and joined 3 much older biological children. it wasn’t what we were expecting or looking for – but, of course, becuz it came from His hand, it was most excellent.
    two years ago, my husband left us for his head start into eternity. a horrific year of tests and scans and drugs and treatment and finally, death. and now, i parent alone. definitely not my vision of how it was all going to turn out. and yet, God. He is trustworthy and incapable of being unfaithful. i must remember, each day, we are His and He is faithful to finish the job.
    i love seeing how God builds families. His ways are so much better than anything we could dream up! may You see His fingerprints all over your day today.

  • Terra February 24, 2013, 4:48 am

    This post is beautiful and I love how you are encouraging people to adopt older kids, and how they are a great blessing to the family they are part of.

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