Written by Heather Avis
Zondervan Publishers, 2017
“As parents we can only do what we know while continuing to learn.” If “knowing it all” was a prerequisite to adopting children or even having biological children, the human race would quickly disappear! Heather shares her family’s story in an honest, transparent way and most importantly, what they have learned along the way. It’s not a sugar-coated, eewy-gooey, love-at-first-site adoption story. It’s a family’s reality of loving little ones who others are scared to love and a story of deep sacrificial love on many levels. In that sacrifice, love overtakes fear, and many lives are changed for the better.
Josh & Heather Avis never set out to adopt a baby with Down Syndrome, let alone two babies who would both need open-heart surgery. Their plan was to adopt two boys from Liberia. In fact, accepting that God kept whispering for them to adopt at all took much stirring in their hearts. Once they made the decision to adopt, their plan was – healthy, because “healthy seems easier; healthy seems normal; healthy seems nice.” After adopting three children, two with Down Syndrome and a Guatemalan baby from foster care, Heather shares, “I didn’t know then that easy and normal and nice would do little to build my character or make me a better or more complete person.”
I appreciate Heather’s honesty about some children being easier to love that others. What adoptive mom hasn’t beat herself up for not “feeling” warm fuzzies about each and every child? I know I have felt like a complete failure when I am brave enough to admit that one child just hits all the wrong buttons! Heather’s answer to that is those undesired feelings do not determine the kind of moms we are or the love we have for our children. She says, “As the months and years have gone on, I’ve discovered my lack of emotional warm fuzzies toward (my daughter) have in fact created a stronger, more meaningful love for her.” Yes, that’s it! When we admit our shortcomings, we can focus harder and more intently on meeting that child’s needs and connecting with them. It makes us work harder as moms. And, the truth is, that’s just plain good advice for parenting all kids, adopted or biological.
The friend who lent me The Lucky Few added a warning that once I started reading, I would not be able to put it down. Skeptically, I rolled my eyes and internally said, “Sure.” She was right! Heather’s honesty about the windy road of the adoption process, balancing the demands of daily living with special needs children, relationships with birth parents, and her need to depend on God make this book an engaging learning tool for all adoptive families. In the end, a woman in the grocery store says to Heather, “Oh my, you have two of them. You know, they’ll be with you forever.” Heather responds, “Gosh, I hope so.”
Camie Schuiteman ~ blessed mama of 6 kids, 3 through adoption
Family Resources Specialist for MLJ Adoptions, International