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Adoption Awareness Month

Micah Pederson by Micah Pederson Additional Needs

Micah Pederson

Micah Pederson

I am a mom to two children biologically and many children through foster care. My husband and I have been married three years. Our foster home is a...

From the time I was a tiny girl I have been passionate about living life alongside those who are different than myself, specifically individuals who happen to have diagnoses or “additional needs.”

During my college years, I grew to love the most wonderful man who God gave a passion to match my own.

Newly graduated from college and freshly married, my husband and I dove headfirst into the life we felt called to: parenting children who had severe medical or developmental disabilities.

While we felt that we would adopt sooner or later, we became just as passionate about minimizing the need for adoption as much as possible.

Through specialized foster care, we have the beautiful gift of caring for children with disabilities and partnering with families who need extra support to bring their children home.

It is an immense blessing to be on the frontlines as we see families reunited and able to carry on stronger and more supported.

However, reintegration is not always possible.

In those cases, we step into the role of becoming or helping to find an adoptive family for the children who need it.

When I was young, I certainly viewed adoption through rose color lenses. I saw adoption as a rescue and the greatest gift.

Thankfully, in the years just before and during the process of becoming a foster and adoptive parent, I was lucky enough to be exposed to so many more sides of adoption.

While I wish adoption could be neat and tidy and tied up in a bow, the truth is it is complicated. I am committed to allowing my views to be challenged and remembering my perspective presents only one angle.

Children who are adopted have families, cultures, genetics, and a million other pieces of themselves that must be remembered, honored, and fought for.

As a parent of children who have additional needs--including communication difficulties--I must strive all the more to make way for their story and perspectives to be told in their own words.

I refuse to assume that because my children are unable to ask certain questions and express specific grief and losses that those thoughts and wonderings simply don’t exist.

I cringe when people comment about how “lucky” these children must be to have been adopted by us.

These children lost their first families—that is hardly lucky.

My children love our family and are thankful to be here. But they also love and miss their biological families.

My children have every right to feel thankful some days and overwhelmed by grief other days.

Adoption can be beautiful. Adoption also means great loss.

Some people believe that my children are extra lucky to have been adopted because of their medical needs.

This belief breaks my heart and turns my stomach. My children are human. Simply human.

Their identity is formed by endless aspects and their disability is not at the top of that list.

Just as their disability is a single piece of who my children are, so is their biological background—in fact, I believe it is a much greater piece of their identity than their diagnoses are.

As an adoptive parent, I am not a savior.

Adopting children who have medical needs does not make me special or amazing.

A need arose that my family was able to meet and so we did that.

Does adoption have beautiful benefits and blessings? Absolutely.

Is adoption necessary and best sometimes? Of course.

But the most beautiful things are hardly ever one-sided or simplistic.


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