ABCs of Adoption – Part 8

November is National Adoption Awareness Month and I’m still blogging about the ABCs of Adoption. Today I’d like to share a bit about our oldest adopted child, Josiah.

I’ve often said that he would be the perfect poster child for older-child adoption. He joined our family when he was eight years old and he has debunked many adoption hesitations. I am choosing the term hesitation because, I believe many more people would adopt if it weren’t for things they don’t understand that cause them hesitate.

I want to show you a few pictures of Josiah with his brothers. One of the four of them is related by birth. Some folks would refer to him as Josiah’s ‘real’ brother. But I wouldn’t say that to Josiah if I were you, he would not agree. They are all his real brothers and nothing will change that.

I want to tell you something else about Josiah! Today is his birthday and in ten days he is getting married! This is the youngest photo we have of Josiah. He was six years old and cute as could be.

I’m not going to say we didn’t have some rough days. He had to learn to trust again. There were some moments of frustration for him and for us as well. But he was worth every difficulty that accompanies adopting an older child. He is a treasure.

Now, he is a hard-working, well-adjusted young man who is a talented musician and a minister of the gospel. He shares his testimony of healing and Hope often. And in ten days he will marry! I’m so very happy that he is happy.

I’m so very happy that we took a chance on him and even more importantly, that he took a chance on us. Older child adoptions have a factor that others do not. The child can choose too. They have a voice and must agree to the adoption. We chose each other.

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ABCs of Adoption – Part 7

November is National Adoption Awareness Month and I’m the mother of seven adopted children, five of whom are presently teens. So, let’s talk about adopted teens. Surely that can’t be as simple as ABC. You’re so right.

They test you and rebel against boundaries and are stubborn and have emotional outbursts sometimes…just like any other teen, adopted or not. And that’s the truth.

But it isn’t necessarily because they are adopted, it’s more likely because they are trying to figure out growing up…just like any other teen.

As parents, we hold on tight to the knowledge that ‘this too shall pass’ and we buckle in for the ride, praying all the while.

Can adopted teens have unique challenges and special issues. Yes, just like any other teen can. Will some of these issues result from past hurts and disappointments? Yes, just like any other teen, or any other human being, they will need to learn to forgive, move on and heal.

I think sometimes we are too quick to attribute a teen’s struggles to his or her adopted status. Raising teens is about as complicated a task as you can tackle. About the time you think you’ve figured it out, a curve ball reminds you that you haven’t.

Too many times, we over scrutinize our children and ourselves because our family was formed through adoption. We might feel that we have something to prove to the world of onlookers, perhaps people who didn’t approve of our decision to adopt in the first place.

If you are determined to get it all right all the time, as a parent, you are setting yourself up for failure. If you think you have control over choices other people make, including your teens, you are bound to be sorely disappointed.

Whether your child is a toddler in the midst of potty-training, a sassy-mouthed young child, a teen with an attitude or a young adult struggling to find their place in the world, don’t take the delays, the stumbles, the carelessly flung words personally.

We all want the very best for our children and hopefully we’ve done our best to give them every opportunity. But the bottom line is they get to choose whether they will take those opportunities or take a more difficult path. It doesn’t mean we have failed as parents or that ultimately, they will fail when all is said and done.

Take courage, keep trying and cling to hope. Don’t let moments of confusion, angst and upset define your relationship with your teen. There are far more good moments than bad. Do your best and trust God with the rest. Take advantage of every tool and resource available. And don’t give up, whatever you do, don’t quit trying.

So, yes, I guess it actually is as simple as ABC. Actions, Bravery and Consistency. That’s the ABC’s of parenting adopted teens.

Not Necessarily

November is National Adoption Awareness Month! I’m adding this as my ABCs of Adoption -part 6!

If you think you know what Adoption is all about, you may want to remind yourself and others to keep an open mind. After all, you might be 100% right in your opinions, but not necessarily!

Stephanie Rodda

The thing about adoption is that every story is it’s own story that is just as unique as the people involved. People seem have this uncontrollable urge to box people up and categorize them. For some folks it’s a simple method of skin color. Further divisions include gender or education or economics. It’s really quite amazing the methods people can develop to separate and judge and criticize other human beings.

I never realized how much I detested this common practice until I became a mother. “Do NOT try to fit my child into a box!” I wanted to shout to the world! Do not attempt to determine who they are now nor who they will be in the future by your definitions and limitations.

This applies to adoption as well. I’m constantly seeing opinions concerning the people in what is referred to as the adoption triad. This would be birth…

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ABCs of Adoption- Part 5

Relationships are so very complicated. People can have personality clashes, old wounds that haven’t healed, memories that haunt or resentment and unforgiveness. And then sometimes people just don’t care or won’t even try. 

On the other hand relationships are so basically simple. People who are willing to tolerate differences, who have forgiven, grown, healed. People who care a lot and won’t stop trying no matter what. 

Whether it is marriage or adoption or siblings or in-laws, relationships can be complicated at their worst and as simple as ABC at their best. 


Two of my sons are marrying this fall season. One of my new daughter-in-laws uses the hashtag #tistheseasontobemarried and I believe she must be right! These young couples are committing to love each other and prefer each other and to be in a binding, legally and spiritually, relationship. 

Adoption is that same sort of commitment. We commit to love and protect and provide and prefer our children. It is a binding, both legally and spiritually, relationship. So what if it doesn’t work out?

It is a terrible tragedy when relationships fail, marriages end in divorce or adoptions are disrupted. There is sure to be plenty of pain and hurt. But we all know that these things do happen. Love is risky. People are people. Relationships can be complicated. 



So why in the world would we even try? Why would we marry, adopt, love or commit when there is such a great risk involved?

Because there is also such great hope! So many great possibilities! So much potential!  Relationships, people, marriage, family, adoption and love are all worth every ounce of any risk involved. 

Family is a relationship of commitment, both legally and spiritually. Family begins with two people, who are not related by blood or biology, committing to one another, both spiritually and legally. And sometimes it grows by the birth of children, and sometimes it grows by the adoption of children and sometimes it grows because we choose to open our hearts to people we love and cherish, just because we want to. 



Many times people hesitate when considering adoption, wondering if they can love a child that is not biologically theirs. What if it doesn’t work out? What if the relationship fails? What if there are personality clashes? What if a million things?

If you are going to focus on the ‘what ifs’ you’re going to live a life full of fear and that’s no way to live. If you are going to avoid any emotional risks, you’re going to live a life of loneliness and that’s no way to live. If you refuse to see the possibilities, the potential, you’re going to live a limited life and that’s no way to live. 



Whatever you do? Whatever you choose? Whatever you decide? Don’t let fear, regret, past experiences or failed relationships cause you to give up on love. Love has never and will never, give up on you. 

ABCs of Adoption part 4

Today my little corner of the world was very hectic. A tire puncture on the way to church which caused us to be very late and then after church being locked out of my husband’s vehicle that he had loaned me  after rescuing us from the tire debacle. 

I could feel my temperature rising. I don’t know how you handle interruptions and delays, but well, I can fuss and fume a little bit. I often say, let’s just stick to the plan. 

As I sat waiting for my hero (husband) to rescue me again, I watched some of my kiddos in their hip hop small group. It was both entertaining and distracting. And that was a good thing. 

When it come to adoption, you may have to do a bit of waiting yourself, possibly even have some doors closed in your face and maybe at times, feel as if you are taking two steps backwards for every one step forward. That’s just how life can go sometimes and adoption is no exception. 

Oh how I struggled with the loss of two pregnancies (a boy and a girl), the roller coaster of infertility (testing and charts), a failed private adoption (that left us in debt) and the delay of my dream (to be a mother). 


I’ve been writing blog entries this month about the ABC’s of Adoption because November is National Adoption Month. Adoption was the way God filled my empty arms, brought me my children, created our family and fulfilled my heart’s desire to be a mother. 

Almost without exception, little girls plan to grow up and be mommies. Unfortunately plans don’t always work out like we expect them to. I read that 12% of women experience infertility issues. That’s twelve out of every hundred.

Chances are those twelve are also struggling with shame, depression, discouragement, confusion and brokenness. I wrote once in a journal that my own body had betrayed me and was sabotaging my efforts to have a child. I honestly felt forgotten and betrayed by God. Infertility is a cruel task master. 


Here’s what I want you to know about infertility and adoption. One often leads to the other, that is true. But I can assure you that when those hopes are fulfilled and that judge declares legally what your heart has already declared, you will not in any way feel that you’re getting your second choice. 

Try, take the tests, rule out the possibilities. Mourn the loss of a Dream, but then if your plans don’t work out just as you hoped, take hope because hope can be found through adoption. It’s true! And once you choose hope, anything truly is possible. 

ABC’s of Adoption – part 3

November is National Awareness Day for both Adoption and Prematurity. It seems only right that I spotlight our son who was born prematurely and also became our first adopted child. 


We had only been foster parents about six months when we received a call just days before Christmas that would forever change our lives. I’ll never forget that phone call. I was so excited, I literally jumped for joy. 

The social worker explained the situation. A premature baby boy, now weighing five pounds was ready to come home from the hospital. I fairly flew to the hospital that very day. Oh how my heart rejoiced. 

Everyone loved Jesse. How could we not. He was a delight right from the beginning and brought us so much joy. Of course, he was our foster child and although we loved him with all our hearts, we knew the day might come when he would leave. 

Two and a half years later, we had the great privilege of adopting him. Our first adoption of seven, we truly thought he would be our one and only. We were so thrilled to stand before the judge and know that Jesse was our forever son. 


I hear so often the concern that foster-care adoption is risky. While it is true that we didn’t know exactly what tomorrow would hold, may I remind you, that neither do you. Regardless if a child is fostered, birthed, or adopted, there are no guarantees. Love is risky business. 

Love is also worth the risk. Jesse was worth the risk. Each child that is waiting in the foster care system this very day, is worth the risk. Are you willing to take the risk? I’m so very glad we did. 

ABCs of Adoption – part 2

Continuing my ABCs of Adoption in honor of November being National Adoption Month! Celebrate with me. 

Today is the day we go the Dream Center downtown and minister to those who are there for food and fellowship. It’s always a blessing, but today was even more so. 

One of our sons, Jeremiah, has a birthday coming up this weekend and one of the ways he wanted to celebrate was to give the message today in my stead. He worked so diligently and prayed and prepared all week. He normally does the music and worship with my two daughters. Today he was to do both the music and the message. 


His message was about the Good Samaritan, being one and finding one. He shared from his heart as well and referred to a number of scriptures. I could tell he was a bit nervous, but he was also so happy to have the honor of speaking to the precious Café family. 

To say he has come a long way in his young life, is hardly appropriate. He has conquered mountains. He recounted this true story from his childhood and I’d like to share it with you. 

Jeremiah had some learning differences and one of the biggest hurdles was reading. He just could not get the hang of it and it was years later that he was diagnosed as having dyslexia. 

We often had (and still have) family devotions. He could not read, but I was determined he would be included. So, he would hold his Bible and point to the words as I read and he repeated them. This went in for some time and one day I encouraged him to try and read a few words on his own. 

That was the day we made a discovery. Jeremiah could read the Bible before he could read other books. We were astounded and he was so proud to be able to do so. I can not explain it, but it is the truth. 

So what does this have to do with adoption? In his message today, Jeremiah said God puts people in our lives to help shape and form us. He said these people are Good Samaritans and they take action when they see a need. Then he pointed to me and said, my mom is a Good Samaritan, she never sat back and looked away from a person who needed help. 

That was such a beautiful thing for him to say, and it made me want to declare on the hill tops, that adoptive parents aren’t rescuing someone else’s children, they are discovering their very own children in a unique way. Jeremiah is such a blessing in our lives and I can not imagine our life if had not had the great honor of being his parents. Adoption made that possible.