Adoption and the Empty Nester


For the most part, friends and family have been extremely supportive of our adoption of a special boy from Ukraine. However, a few times, someone questions us about the timing. They ask why in the world we would choose to bring more children into our home, when ours are beginning to spread their wings and fly out of the nest. It is a time of change in our home; this coming year, our two oldest will be getting married and starting families of their own; while our youngest, is a sophomore in college. One person looked me squarely in the eye and asked, “Don’t you want more time together?” Of course I want more time with my husband, and I don’t plan on going anywhere without him. We realize that one challenge of bringing younger children into our lives might possibly mean fewer moments with just the two of us, but we believe the blessings far outweigh that concern.

Actually, we feel better equipped and more confident now than the first time around, when we were young parents with lots of energy but really no clue what parenting would bring. The way we see it, we’ve gone through potty-training, drivers-ed., public school, home school, adolescence, broken-hearts, broken bones, a frustrated teenager slamming doors, and the blossoming of young-adulthood. We know we haven’t seen it all, but we have certainly experienced a lot raising three children.

We are much more relaxed, which can often make for more relaxed children. I think age and the wisdom that should follow allows us to really consider what is important. When my children were young, I worried way too much about keeping the house tidy. It saddens me to think of moments I might have wasted playing with them because I was too worried about the kitchen floor that needed to be mopped. I still like my house clean, but dust doesn’t bother me much anymore. The threat of dirty dishes on the counter or a laundry basket of clothes needing to be folded nowhere near compare to spending time with my family.

I think we enjoy the “wonder moments” of a child more too. In our first round of parenting, we could often by annoyed at the fact that the kids simply wanted to observe life. For instance, getting into the car one day, our kids were fascinated by an ant hill on the patio, while I was more concerned with getting them strapped into the car. Our days were often peppered with words such as: “hurry up", "not now", and "maybe later.” The older my husband and I get, the more wonder we realize the world holds. We aren’t in such a hurry any more; we too, want to stop and admire the things in life that we often rush by.

What better example could we give our young adult children than that of being willing to adopt? We have always desired to teach our children the ways of the Lord. We wanted them to see and experience in their own home a beautiful example of compassion, hospitality, and loving others as yourself. Already, we are seeing the fruit of this example. Our oldest daughter, after her marriage next winter, is hopefully heading down to Mexico to work with the orphans there and hopes to one day adopt lots of babies. Our oldest son, now in seminary has a heart for children and his wife-to-be has an especially tender heart towards special needs children. Our youngest, still in nursing school, is always caring for others and she cannot wait to wrap her arms and heart around her little brother.

While there will come a day when my husband will retire from his job, we don’t necessarily believe in retirement. We love golf, but we don’t want to be about our scores, or migration trips south, or playing cards every night. There is absolutely nothing wrong with any of these things, we just want to be about everlasting, relational and eternal things. We are so grateful that the timing for our adoption came later in life. We might not have been the best for that child had it happened sooner. Besides, I might have the wonderful opportunity to ask my children to babysit before I do any babysitting for them.

MLJ Adoptions is a Non-Profit, Hague-Accredited adoption service provider located in Indianapolis, Indiana, working in Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Pacific Isles. We are passionate about serving children in need.