Barbara Johnson Kerr
How has adoption changed your family?
We learned it was okay to be selfish in your choices in how to make your family. Two common misconceptions held by the general public (and reinforced by the media) are that adopted children are somehow "lucky" to have found a family, and that adoptive parents are humanitarian super-humans who swoop in and rescue children out of purely altruistic motives. That's so not our family. For us, adoption was a selfish act. We didn't change who we were - we just knew that adoption was right for us and that we could be a better version of ourselves with adoption. We went from just the two of us to a family of five in just a few years with bumps and lumps along the way but still a family learning to live with one another.
What is a lesson from your family¹s adoption experience that could be life changing for all families?
We adopted to satisfy our needs, our desire to have a family, our choices in choosing the children we wanted. They brought laughter, love, joy and happiness to our home. They were happy where they were in China and Russia. They didn't know anything about us. They were growing older and living the life they knew. Although many envision all orphans as children devoid of love, care, and essentials, we know that our children were in relatively decent situations. They weren't starving and were getting medical treatment and care. In my heart I know that if anyone is "lucky" it is my husband and me. We were chosen to be parents to these beautiful kids. If anyone is "wonderful" it is the people in China and Russia who gave us their greatest resource: their children.
Is there anything you would change about your family¹s adoption experience?
I sometimes remember something my youngest daughter told me when she was 5 or 6. While sitting on my nap, she looked into my eyes and said “You should have found me sooner Mama. I was looking for you.” Oh little girl, I was looking for you, and your sister and brother, too. I simply found some of them sooner than later. One thing I would have changed about our adoption experience would be having my children with me the moment they were born - not at 4 years old or 4 1/2 years old or 12 1/2 years old. Looking for them took too long but we never gave up.