Our journey through the adoption process and our entry into parenting has not been without bumps in the road, but the fact is that our eight-year experience with adoption has been the best experience of our lives.
When my husband, Keith, and I married in 1987, we knew that the chances of our having a biological child were remote. When we finally were ready to pursue our dream of bringing a child into our family, we began to talk seriously about adoption.
When we began talking about adoption, we read a newspaper article about a couple who had adopted three children from South Korea. The day after reading the article, I wrote to the adoption agency mentioned in the newspaper and asked for more information. As Keith and I read the information and talked more about international adoption, we decided to pursue this option.
We filled out an application, wrote our life stories, collected letters of reference, got fingerprinted at the police station and had physical examinations—all in a week’s time. We were excited about the possibility of having a child in our home!
On April 26, 1994, we mailed all the material to our adoption agency. We thought we would wait a year before we had a child. Much to our surprise and delight, in July, just three months after we had filed our application for adoption, we got a picture and information about our little boy. He had been born April 25, 1994—the day before we sent in our formal application to adopt.
One month later, on Aug. 30, we stepped off an airplane at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport with our son. Keith’s mother and brothers along with my parents and my three pregnant sisters met us. That airport experience is one of my most cherished memories—the balloons, tears, laughter, camera flashes and hugs. It is an experience I will never forget.
We named our son Michael, and since his arrival he has brought much laughter and happiness into our home. Michael is kind-hearted and loving. He has an incredible imagination, an endless curiosity, and he asks more questions than a prosecuting attorney. He is the joy of our lives.
When Michael joined our family, Keith and I learned about parental responsibility, sacrificial love and sleep deprivation. Despite the lack of sleep and the overwhelming sense of parental responsibility, by early 1996, we were ready to start the adoption process all over again.
We sent in another application on Valentine’s Day, and we requested a daughter. We knew the wait would be longer, but we had no idea how much longer it would be. Between delays by the Korean and American governments, we waited 19 months for our daughter to come home. The wait was well worth it, however, when on Sept. 26, 1997, we had another airport arrival with our family and friends there to greet Alexandra Kate as we brought her off the airplane.
Alex was 8 months old when we finally brought her home, and the most memorable part of our journey home from Korea is that this child did not sleep. The trip from Seoul is unbearably long, and it was nighttime during much of the flight, but Alex did not sleep. Instead she climbed. She climbed up my arms and stood on my shoulders and waved at all the people around us. She climbed down to the floor and crawled around, and then she climbed back up. I should have realized on that plane trip that I was now the mother of a very busy little girl.
Alex has not changed much. I often tell her that our furniture was not meant to be used as gymnasium equipment because her favorite activity is climbing up on the sofa and the tables and jumping off. Today Alex is in kindergarten, and she is absolutely beautiful, hilariously funny and incredibly smart—just like her brother.
Michael and Alex have taught us what it means to be blessed by God. We prayed for children to love, and God answered that prayer by giving us two wonderful children. Our journey through the adoption process and our entry into parenting has not been without bumps in the road, but the fact is that our eight-year experience with adoption has been the best experience of our lives.
Pam Durso serves as assistant professor of church history and Baptist heritage at Campbell University Divinity School in Buies Creek, N.C.
President of Central Seminary in Shawnee, Kansas.