Connie has a pretty simple answer to the question, why did you adopt? Her response, “We have big hearts and we have big hope.”
Over the last 25 years, she and her husband Blair have adopted eight children through foster care and private adoptions. Their growing family doesn’t stop there—they are now grandparents as well.
“We also keep in touch with some of our kids’ original families and foster families. Our eldest daughter has been in contact with her birth siblings,” explains Connie. “I think open adoption can be really healthy for the kids.”
With a large family, you may expect their household to be bustling. “Our house is really pretty quiet most of the time now that our kids are in activities,” Connie clarifies. “But school days are busy—getting everyone up and ready.”
Their daily routines include some tasks that other families may not experience. “Most of our kids have special needs, so they need more support,” says Connie. “Any parent of a kid with special needs is trying to juggle appointments and field phone calls from professionals on most days.”
“Some of my friends are talking about going to concerts or going out, while we’re making dinner and going to appointments,” Connie shares. “For us, going to see an adoption trainer is a date night.”
These “date nights” are one way the couple prepares themselves to make a big impact. “When you have a child who has a medical need or trauma, you realize they aren’t going to be able to do the things a typically-developing child can do,” explains Connie. “Once you develop the skill and ability to care for a particular special need, you want to continue to share that with other kids who need it. Some of these kids are hard to find homes for, and we have the experience and skill to help them reach their potential.”
They have advice for families who are considering adoption. “Do your research,” says Blair. “Really look at the different options out there. Meet with the different agencies and find the program that you are most comfortable with. Also, be sure to research reactive attachment disorder and trauma.”
“Our children need a lot more than love,” interjects Connie. “Love helps, but they need more.” To prepare, she recommends education and connecting with other adoptive families.
“Being a parent is life changing. I’m so proud of each of my kids,” says Connie. “One of the biggest things I’ve learned is just to count and praise all of their accomplishments. No matter how simple they are, because to our kids, they are a big deal. You learn to look at the little things and really appreciate them.”