Q. When did you first realize what it means to be an orphan with special needs?
A. I remember that I didn't want to think about it at first. Mandy wanted me to watch a news special about orphans with special needs and I kept putting it off, because it wasn't something I wanted to face.
It's one thing to hear about the reality of orphans with special needs, it's another thing to see it.
Q. What did you think would happen if you really looked and saw the need?
A. That I'd have to realize the truth, which is that there are children out there that need families, homes and love. I knew I would feel responsible to do something, if I was capable of helping, but I didn't want to have to, so I tried to ignore it.
How did you make the leap from "maybe one day" to "the time is now?"
Well, I don't know that I went from "maybe one day." I went from, "No, I'm not doing that."
Once I realized what was happening and that I could do something. I still didn't want to make the life long commitment, but I asked myself what if this were Eli or Julie, would I have turned them away?
I've always loved children, but I wasn't sure about down syndrome. At first, I wanted it to be a different special need, something I was more familiar with, because I wasn't comfortable with down syndrome. I got Godly advice from our Pastor and talked with other people who knew someone with down syndrome. I did some research online, too. The more I learned about down syndrome, the more comfortable I became. I went from, "No" to "Why not two?"
I still wasn't sure how comfortable I'd be until we went there. After meeting our boys, I realized they really are no different than any other child.
Q. Why 2 boys?
A. I honestly don't know, now, because I wish we were bringing home a girl, too. I think we chose boys, because boys are easier.
Q. How did you choose?
A. We picked em out online. The short and sweet version is we picked Samuel, quickly. He fell into the country, age, sex, category we were looking for. We looked at so many other little ones and then Joseph. I just knew he was ours. I don't know how to explain it. He was just ours.
Q. Did you have any questions or concerns from family, friends, or co-workers about your adoption?
A. Yes, lots. Most people didn't question the adoption part. People were concerned that we were adopting boys with down syndrome. Family mostly, I think, because of how they were raised and what they were taught about children with down syndrome. They were worried about the amount of time and effort it would take to raise a child with down syndrome. Overall, we haven't had a lot of negativity and we were worried that we would.
Q. Do you have concerns about bonding with the boys once they're home?
A. No. Personally, I feel like our boys are going to want love and attention and we have that. They're going to love us! (Marty's words, not mine)
Q. Do you worry about the future for your boys?
A. I don't worry about their futures, but I do think about it. I think about whether they will go to college, get a job. I don't really think about what they will do as much as I think about what we will be able to do for them. Like, can we provide them with the life skills they need to leave home. If they never leave home, that's okay, too.
Q. How did your faith play into your decision to adopt?
A. God's always provided for us and I knew this wouldn't be any different.
Q. Does the lack of involvement in orphan care from the church in general concern you?
A. I think the church as a whole should be doing a whole lot more than they're currently doing, but I'm glad for the few people that are answering God's call for the orphans.
Q. Why is it (normally) harder for men to agree to adopt?
A. We typically have our lives planned how we want them to go. For me, I have goals of things I want to accomplish and adoption feels like a wrench thrown into the plan, making it harder to reach those goals.
Q. What's the one thing you would tell a Dad who's hesitating to begin an adoption of a child with down syndrome?
A. Maybe we men need to stop thinking about ourselves and think about what God has planned for our lives.
Q. Will you adopt again?
A. Yes, I will consider adopting, again. Next time, I'm hoping for a girl.
I'm so thankful Marty took the time to do this. If you have any other questions, ask in the comments and I'll try to get him to answer them, too.
Mandy and Marty