Family Spotlight: The Schuler Family
Shireen R. Dadkhah
We're so proud of and thankful for each and every one of our families, we're giving them the chance to show off a bit. Each month we'll be shining the spotlight on one family by letting them introduce themselves and tell us a little about why and how they got involved with adoption.
This month we're letting the Schuler Family tell their story.
Introduce your family:
We are Andre, Amy, Ava, and Tyson Schuler from Indiana.
What led you to adoption and international adoption?
Adoption has always been a part of our lives through both immediate and extended family members, and we became interested in international adoption – specifically Africa – through our time spent volunteering and working oversees. It was on both of our hearts to expand our family through adoption.
What country did you choose to adopt from and why did you choose that country?
A few years back we spent ten weeks working in East Africa at a hospital and orphanage. We were so moved by the experience that we stopped passively contemplating adoption and began actively seeking out information and opportunities. After learning of the overwhelming social and political situation that so many children in Congo find themselves faced with, we just knew that it was the right place and the right time and the right way for our family to grow. It just felt right.
Why did you choose to work with MLJ through your international adoption process?
As our church was starting their adoption ministry there was an opportunity to attend an adoption seminar led by a member of the MLJ staff. We attended and appreciated their passion for children and personal approach. After meeting with the program director we felt confident that MLJ was the right fit for us and the right agency to move forward with.
How long did the adoption take you?
Our entire process took approximately twelve months. We received our referral for our daughter five months after signing our initial contract and our daughter was home seven months later!
How has international adoption been different than you expected?
We didn’t really know what to expect when we started the international adoption process, but through it all we grew closer as a couple, and eventually as a family. It added a whole new meaning of love to our lives!
How has international adoption impacted your family?
International adoption has given us the opportunity to share our story with family, friends, co-workers, and complete strangers while checking out at Target. It’s a story about love, God, hope, patience, struggle, togetherness, and family. It’s about how our family is just like everybody else’s and at the same time like nobody else’s.
What was adjustment like for your family?
Overall our adjustment was wonderful! In a broad sense our adjustment was similar to that of any first-time parents, with the focus on sleep schedules, feedings, soothing, etc. It was also different in that when Ava came home she was seven months old. She had likes, dislikes, and definitely her own personality! So it took some time to get to know her as a little person. Later, it became an adjustment because of the outward appearance of our family, and the added attention we were getting when in public.
What do you wish you could tell other families that are adopting or considering international adoption?
If it is in your heart to adopt please take that first step, you will never look back. Yes, it will be difficult. Yes, there will be lots of paperwork. Yes, it will take a lot of time. Yes, at times you will feel overwhelmed. But then it happens and your family is finally together, and all those things that once seemed to matter so much are quickly forgotten. It is definitely a rollercoaster ride filled with many ups and downs. But unlike any other rollercoaster ride, trust us when we say it ends with a very big “up.”
Is there a special story about your adoption that you would like to share?
We sent a special care package to our daughter while she was still in Congo with a few shirts, pictures, and toys. A few months later we received a picture of our daughter and in it she was wearing one of the shirts we sent! Not one with bright colors or flowers or animals. Instead it was the one we picked out with an ironic twist. A simple shirt with one word: “Homegrown.”
Photo used with permission.
For more information about MLJ Adoptions' international adoption programs, please click here. If you would like to be featured in our Family Spotlight please email Shireen@mljadoptions.com.
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