Our House: The “Here we go again” family

The Surfaces had grown-up kids and were on the brink of retirement, but they knew they had more than they needed while so many children had so much less. It’s our final adoption story for National Adoption Month.

“You were so close to having time for yourself, why would you want to start over?” everyone said. They were right. We were close to having all the time in the world and yet, we just knew in our hearts that our family wasn’t complete. We already had two older biological children, we had adopted a little boy when we were in our forties, and still we were so aware that there was so much need while we had so much abundance. In our early fifties, here we were, starting the process all over again. It’s no wonder more than a few friends thought we were crazy.

So at fifty-two, we found ourselves volunteering at a foster care fair. This is the kind of event that draws foster kids of all ages–especially the older ones–out for a day of fun. It also provides a low-stress environment in which potential adoptive parents can meet children in need of a family. Our assigned post was the hula hoop booth, something neither of us could actually do, but we had creativitiy on our side. The kids laughed harder watching a couple of adults demonstrate the hula hoop than they did trying it out for themselves!

At some point, my husband saw him, a small boy of five or six standing over to the side all by himself. “Can you handle the booth for awhile?” he asked me, as he made his way over to the young boy. After about an hour of playing Wii and cutting out more foam and construction paper than he had ever thought possible, my husband returned all smiles. “I believe that little fellow might like being a part of our family. Why don’t you go meet him and then find his social worker and ask about him. I’ll hold down the fort this time,” he said. And after meeting David myself, I agreed.

Our house natural bridge

Our homestudy was up to date, so within a few weeks, David was living with us. Within a year, we had adopted him. That was over five years ago, and life has been at warp speed ever since. Our older children are married, and we have five grandchildren with one more on the way! Life with grandchildren and two middle schoolers is loud and active. Friends still make comments like “I could never do what you do” or “I don’t know how you do it,” but I can’t imagine life any other way. They keep us active and show us life through a different lens. We no longer think about retirement or how we will fill our days, because we are much too busy living life each and every day as it comes.

Life is not all fun and games, and things aren’t always rosy. Adopting an older child who has experienced real trauma in his young life is not always easy. No matter the age, all adopted children have experienced loss–the loss of their biological family. Sometimes they struggle to understand the difficult choices grown-up people make. Sometimes life is hard, but like how the memories of the physical sensations of giving birth give way to memories of unparalleled joy, the blessings that come through walking out life together make the pain that we sometimes experience seem to fade away.

Adopting two boys in our later years has been the greatest blessing we could ever have imagined! Life is fast and furious. Boys are active! Even though we never envisioned this kind of “outside of the box” life when we married almost thirty-five years ago, now I can’t even picture a life any other way. Adopting is an amazing experience. It brings blessings to your life that you could never predict on your own–you just have to live it to understand it. Every single day, I’m so grateful for my boys for who they are as well as their contribution to this crazy bunch of people that we call family!

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Other Our House adoption stories you might like to read:

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November is National Adoption Awareness Month. Special thanks to Children’s Home Society of Virginia for putting us in touch with the Surfaces. Children’s Home Society of Virginia is a private, nonprofit 501(c)(3), non-sectarian licensed child-placing agency, and one of Virginia’s oldest adoption agencies. Since its charter by the Virginia General Assembly in 1900, CHS has been guided by the fundamental belief that every child deserves a home. In its 115 years, CHS has placed more than 13,000 children into safe, permanent families — that’s enough to fill 160 school buses! Their number is 800.247.2888.

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Jan Surface

Jamie and Jan gave up the quiet empty nest preretirement days when they adopted their two boys from foster care. As the holiday season draws near, they are looking forward to the joyful noise that will fill their home as they spend time with all of their children and grandchildren.

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