As you know from earlier this week, Amy and I will be doing a domestic adoption in the next couple of months. An update of this magnitude begs a number of follow-up questions. So here goes:
1. Why now? Fair question. Some people know exactly how many kids they want to have, they have that many, and then they stop. Others are constrained for some reason, whether health or finances, and so they know that’s it. For us, we never quite knew. For us, it kind of boiled down to the question, “Are we done yet?” Or, more directly, “Does God have any more for us?” Amy in particular felt we were incomplete. I was less sure, but open. And, the more I thought and prayed about it, the more I realized that as happy and full is my life, and as satisfying and all-encompassing are my pursuits outside of the home, at the end of the day the thing I felt was most important, most rewarding, most impactful, was being a dad. And what if there are others I can be a dad to? Why wouldn’t I be willing, open, and excited at the possibility?
2. What does this mean for the Huang family? Everything, of course. Amy gets to be a stay-at-home mom for a season (the length of that season TBD, but at the very least three months). Jada and Aaron get to have a stay-at-home mom and a little sibling; they seem more excited about the former because they don’t quite know what the latter means. I become the household’s sole breadwinner, no pressure there when I have a job whose paycheck depends on my ability to get and do enough business to pay everyone and then myself. The grownups are now outnumbered by the kids, and will soon gain new relationships in the form of people whose kids are the same age as our baby. And, we reset the clock on our retirement, in that our last college tuition payment goes from being 14 years away to being 22 years away, and we have three sets of those payments to fret over (and only one income to save against).
3. Why a newborn? We will never have the experience of pregnancy and childbirth. And even though we got Jada and Aaron relatively young (7 ½ months and 4 ½ months, respectively), we missed out on their first days and weeks and months too. I realize many parents will jokingly say that they could do without the sleepless nights and unending feedings. But, honestly, if you had a choice, would you prefer to have your child right at birth or meet them for the first time a few months later? I thought so.
4. Why domestic? This is related to the question above, because it’s really the only way to do a newborn adoption. It’s been a new experience for us, since our previous two were international. This whole process of creating a profile, waiting for a match, having potential opportunities fall through, getting picked, following the birth-mother’s travails, gleaning information here and there…I must say that it has been way more expensive, way more time-consuming, way more nerve-wracking, way more emotional, and way more uncertain than I anticipated. And bear in mind that while I handled most of Jada’s and Aaron’s stuff, Amy’s been largely in charge on this one, so I haven't even borne the brunt of the whole roller-coaster. Amy’s been an absolute trooper from Day One, and has been the spiritual rock between the two of us throughout. Many men are lucky to make a baby with the love of their life; I am lucky to adopt another one with mine.
5. Why African-American? The short answer is that black lives matter. The long answer is…there is no long answer; does there need to be? I can say this: we are neither thrilled nor scared about the extra things we’ll be learning and doing – learning how hair works, figuring out how to respect and connect to that part of his story, having “the talk” about law enforcement when he gets older. These are just things that parents do, and we’ll do them, and we’ll be richer for it.
6. What’s the birth-parents’ situation? Unlike Jada’s and Aaron’s situation, we know a lot about where this baby is coming from, although the information is in many cases incomplete and unverified. I’d rather not say much here, except to say that there are potential complications for the baby in the immediate and over the long haul, which is of course the case with any child but nonetheless cause for worry and prayer. There is also the question of how much of what we know about the birth-mother and birth-father that we want to tell this child. He has a right to know if he wants to know, and we know how to be appropriate and open if that day comes. But, it’s also complicated, how he came to be and who he came from and why he was put up for adoption, and it will be a challenge to help him understand that he can be defined by much more than these things.
7. Why "Asher"? From the beginning, this process has been incredibly spiritual. We entered with hearts open to God’s leading, we have drawn closer to Him and to each other as we excitedly pondered things in theory, and we have been brought to our knees by the difficulty of the process and the potential challenges that this child may face. Once we learned we were having a boy, it became important to Amy that his name come from the Bible, and that it mean something. Asher was one of the 12 tribes of Israel, and it means “happy” or “blessed,” and that really resonated with us. So Asher it is.
8. Could we use help? Uh, yeah! We’d appreciate your prayers and encouragements as we give this a go. If you have particular familiarity with some of the unique challenges we will be facing, we’d welcome your insights. And, we’ve never had a newborn, and even the stages we did do we’ve given most of that stuff away, so if you’re in the Philadelphia area and have baby stuff you’re trying to get rid of, we’re interested.
10. Why? Why? Why? After all the questions above, this is the one I keep asking myself. Our lives are awesome but crazy. Why crash a baby, with brand new challenges and potentially special needs to boot, into the craziness? The short answer is that we think God is leading us so. But, we don’t know for sure; there has been no bolt of lightning, no hard-to-miss confirmation. At the end of the day, all we can do is be led by the following questions: (1) What do we want our lives to be about? (2) What are we willing to bear time and money for? (3) Will we be worse off going for it and having it be a disaster, or not going for it and forever wondering what if? I’ve been alive a long enough time but still haven’t figured out if this is the right way to make a life-altering decision. But it’s what we’re doing. By God’s mercy, we will proceed.