Archive for May, 2010

Around The World In Five Adoptions

Around the World in Five AdoptionsBy Charles and Pam DoughertySome homeschooling families stand out because the kids all look amazingly alike. We stand out because we don’t. We are a family with five children from four different races with two very pale parents. Our homeschooling family is so distinctive through the miracle of adoption. Our kids are Jonathan (16), Matthew (13), Joy (12), Faith (10), and Hope (6). Our first child, Matthew, was adopted as a newborn in the U.S., as was our next child, Faith. We thought our nest was full so we assumed we were done adopting. God challenged us with the desire (and resources) to adopt an infant from China. Pam took Matthew, then age eight, to China to get Hope. Hope had a hard time bonding with Mom at first, but she and Matthew developed a mutual admiration that lasts to this day. (Hope is now glued to Pam as well.) That trip opened our eyes to how many children need families. The decisions to adopt our last three children were made with input from the whole family after lengthy discussions about capacity, relationships, personal needs, spiritual fruit, and eternal rewards. We have seen these discussions foster empathy in our children and expand their worldviews. About a year after going to China, we decided to adopt again—this time because there was a child who needed us. We knew there were many baby girls in China to adopt, but we were surprised to discover that there were older boys who were seeking adoption as well. Few Americans want to adopt them, so many of these older boys simply wait indefinitely for a family of their own. God called us to adopt Jonathan, who was twelve and a full three years older than Matthew. Matthew and Pam traveled back to China and brought Jonathan home.Just as every child has different needs, each adoptee has his own issues. Adopting a twelve-year-old from another culture, who didn’t speak the language, was challenging. It took about a year to feel like Jonathan had always been part of our family. We worked through many, many issues that first year. The homeschool can provide a customized academic program that is heavy on language study, in a nurturing environment, with an emphasis on Christ. Many of our strongest friendships and favorite activities involve other homeschoolers. Their quick acceptance has provided ready friendship for all our children, regardless of how long they have been acquainted. Homeschooling is wonderful for bringing the family together, and it was especially so for Jonathan. We were able to concentrate on teaching English and filling in the gaps in his math. The spectacular part was that we could show him what “family” is all about. Homeschooling allowed us to show him what it was like—all the time, and he really needed that investment of time and love. We gave Jonathan a Chinese-English Bible soon after he arrived. Partially due to boredom and for lack of other options, he started reading. About a year later, he decided to follow Jesus. Since then, he has just amazed us by his spiritual growth. Not only was he starved for love, but he also was starved for a relationship with God. Now he truly has a passion to tell others about Jesus and to memorize God’s Word. He cares deeply about the many in China who have never heard of Jesus.Jonathan’s transformation changed us too. We were incredibly struck by what an eternal difference adoption can make. Our family Scripture has become Matthew 6:20–21: “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn also deeply moved us.After four adoptions we felt the call to adopt once again, but we had run out of extra money. We started praying that God would provide the needed resources if this was really His call for our lives. The money, almost down to the dollar, appearedunexpectedly, so we started the process once again.In March 2007, we found a twelve-year-old Indian girl’s profile on an adoption website. Within two weeks we had the pre-approval to adopt her. We had considered a younger girl but felt God was calling us to adopt this one. In November Pam was able to travel to India to bring Joy home. She has been a welcome addition and blessing to our family. We were surprised to learn that she already had accepted Christ. We had no idea beforehand that God was putting a Christian girl in the Christian home she desperately wanted. She is now learning more about Him and what He means in her life. While in India, Pam was encouraged to spend the day at the orphanage and meet the people who work there and the other children. That experience was unforgettable. The children were so friendly and eager for attention. Although they shed some tears as they said good-bye to Joy, they were truly happy for her and anticipated the day when they, too, would leave with a family of their own. Experiences like that stay with you forever.While we have been challenged by some of the learning gaps of our older additions, they serve as a reminder that our true goal of homeschooling is to raise children who know that God loves them and has a special plan for each of them. While they still have squabbles, they have learned to get along amazingly well. Each time we have adopted, the other children have been very enthusiastic and welcoming to each newcomer, and we are very proud of them. We enjoy the diversity of our family. It is fascinating to ponder what our family tree will look like in twenty years!Charles and Pam Dougherty have been married for twenty years and live in Central New York with their five children and four cats. We would be delighted to encourage others to consider adoption. You can contact us at Copyright 2008. Originally appeared in TheOld Schoolhouse Magazine, Summer 2008.Used with permission. Visit them all your homeschool curriculum needs visit the Schoolhouse Store.

Another great resource:Homeschooling ABC’s