When You Know Who Your Family Is, Even If You Look Different Than Others

Adoption from overseas can mean your family doesn't look like others and that's okay.

You’ll forgive my cousin.

She’s a little weepy today.

Her Facebook feed popped up one of those anniversary photos that remind you where you were a year ago.

What a photo.

What a year.

Amanda and her husband, Adam, were in Ethiopia.

Meeting their son for the first time.

In person, that is.

They met him in their hearts years before.

So, you might want to make this “What a three years!”

Amanda holding her son, Sam Bedane, during one of her first visits to his orphanage in Ethiopia. The beginning of a adoption family. Amanda holding her son, Sam Bedane, during one of her first visits to his orphanage in Ethiopia.

Amanda holding her son, Sam Bedane, during one of her first visits to his orphanage in Ethiopia.

Ask anyone who has adopted, Dear Reader.

They’ll tell you it’s like that.

That you know before you know.

That you know before some people get it.

Adam and Amanda knew after they had created three biological daughters.

Their family wasn’t yet complete.

They headed for adoption.

Which led them to Ethiopia.

Which led them through a maze of applications, documents, procedures, delays, disappointments, and frustrations.

Enough to fill a hundred columns.

Enough to give some folks the feeling they could ask questions.

Questions like, “Why adopt?”

“Why not make another one of your own?”

“Why go overseas?”

Maybe there’s something about making a family that gives people the idea they get to offer their opinions.

Their doubts.

Perhaps you’ve gotten your own raised eyebrows about your family.

“Why would you have only one child?”

“Why would choose to have no children?”

Seems to me some folks are so busy making opinions about the way certain people’s families come together, when maybe they could better spend that same energy working on their own.

So, here we are a year past that day Amanda and Adam met their son.

“I still remember what it felt like to walk around the corner, look up the stairs and see my first glimpse of that little boy,” she shared. “I still remember what it felt like to hold him in my arms for the first time. How the tears just started pouring down uncontrollably.”

It’s been a beautiful thing to watch.

Adopting from Ethiopia.

Sam Bedane meeting his big sisters for the first time in a Kentucky airport.

This first year with Adam and Amanda’s son, Sam Bedane.

From a shy boy dressed in mismatched clothes, his brown eyes big and wide as he met his three sisters.

To today.

Rough and tumble boy, asking for “chocolate miiiiilllk,” like a proper Kentucky kid, turning milk into a four syllable word.

Adam and Amanda can’t imagine life without him.

You’d think the questions might stop.

Truth is, some people don’t get it.

Never will.

“People still ask me, ‘Why Ethiopia?’” Amanda shared.

Amanda, classy, awesome mother that she is, simply replies, “Well, that’s where my son was.”

Who doesn’t understand that?

It’s what a mom does.

She brings her son home.

And makes memories.

I can’t wait to see what pops up on Facebook next year.

I have some tissue standing by.

Adoption from overseas can mean your family doesn't look like others and that's okay.

Sam Bedane a year after joining his new American family, surrounded by his sisters, Jilli, Lucy, and Claire.

(((Please catch my column each week in The Atlanta Journal Constitution, The Dayton Daily News and other Cox Newspapers across the country.)

And if you like my column about figuring out this marriage thing, you might like my book–

“Hope Possible: A Network News Anchor’s Thoughts On Losing Her Job, Finding Love, A New Career, And My Dog, Always My Dog.”

final front cover

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When You Know Who Your Family Is, Even If You Look Different Than Others

by DarynKagan time to read: 2 min
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