>Last weekend we traveled to Spokane, WA for an adoption seminar Kingdom Kids makes mandatory when adopting an older child thru their program. It is not an easy place to get to from Montgomery, AL and not exactly on our list of destinations for weekends away with no kids, but if this is what we had to do to bring our daughter home, then we will do it. This was not something we were excited about and I bet some families have gone with another agency based on the requirement alone, but it was WONDERFUL! There were eleven families there and we were the only one adopting only one child. Everyone else was adopting 2-4. I reminded Cole that our paperwork approves us for 2 🙂 It was amazing to listen as each family told about themselves, there family, how they were let to adopt, and about the children they were adopting. We stayed in tears throughout the weekend. It was amazing! Michelle and Steve Gardner (in the picture on your right) run Kingdom Kids and are parents to 12 children, 9 of whom are adopted. As I type this they are in Ethiopia bringing home their latest 3 children they have adopted from Ethiopia. They were so open and honest with us about all their adoption experiences, both good and bad.
The reason they are so passionate about his training is because they have seen first hand the devastating effects on a child when parents aren’t prepared for attachment issues, adjustment issues, etc, involved with adoption and especially with the adoption of older children. Many adoptive families enter into an adoption thinking it will be a fairytale experience, that they child will be “thankful / grateful” and when the child arrives and that isn’t the case they call the state or their agency and tell them to remove the child because its not what they thought it would be. The Gardners adopted a precious 11 year old girl almost a year ago who had been adopted by a family in New York. They were not prepared for the issues she posed and asked for her to be removed. Can you imagine what she must have felt. When she came to live with the Gardners she acted out and was very disrespectful and disobedient because she was thinking the sooner she made them mad, they would get rid of her and she would move on to another family, etc. They let her know that this was the end of the road and that she was stuck, like it or not. They had to work thru issues, but she seemed so happy and well adjusted now. We had the opportunity to meet all of their adopted children (with the exception of those she is picking up now) and they shared each of their experiences with us and allowed us to ask them questions about their pre adoption lives, their adoption experience, their daily life, their view of their large family…. It was great!
Another family from Seattle also came to share their experiences with us. They are also currently in Ethiopia bringing home 4 children they are adopting from Ethiopia, giving them a total of 22 children. What I wouldn’t give to be a fly on their wall for one day 🙂 I can’t even imagine! They had a video they showed where they had interviewed their children adopted from Ethiopia, and it was wonderful as well.
We ate Ethiopian food, learned about their culture, discussed school issues, attachment issues (with a social worker), parenting styles…..
We had a wonderful time and learned so much. I don’t know how Steve and Michelle do all that they do. Only God could sustain them, this ministry and their family! I am so thankful they are obediently following Christ on this journey and at the same time being such a living witness to so many.