How Do You Know?

One of the common questions about adoption asked of us is, “How do you choose your kids, um like, how do you know?” The simple answer is that we don’t, we just do! It started like this:

“Hey Amy, what do you think of adopting a kid with Down Syndrome?”

Her response: “I don’t think about adopting a kid with Down Syndrome!” Mike drop – DONE!

Several weeks later, something moves in her and she hands me this picture:


“His name is Ivan, he’s seven years old and I love him”, Amy says to me. I look at her and see this isn’t the kind of love like my, “I love creme filled donuts”. Instead, this expression is like the moment a mother’s just-born child gets placed upon her chest. Her passion transforms a two-dimensional picture into love with length, breadth, depth and height in my own heart. It is the kind of fatherly love that moves me into action. The kind of love that becomes this:


Our family grows in the years following as this scenario repeats itself.

Sometimes it’s seeing adorable pictures of kids like Luke, Blair and Maddie:

It’s a slam dunk in saying “YES” to being their mom and dad.

Other times, desperate, pathetic pictures present themselves. The kind where you know an invisible but ominous clock is ticking. The kind where delay is not an option. Pictures of Albie and Irina came to our attention in this manner:

A daily existence of trauma and neglect were the thousand words these pictures yelled at us. Sure, saying yes to these two was scary but, the consequences of failing to respond outweighed our fear. Many of our fears were realized in the process of healing through love. This side of it, though, is worth the blood, sweat and tears.

Can you see this in these pictures?

Sammy is the only kid not to come to us in a picture — he came in person! The “danger” in adopting “at risk kids” is exposure to more and many of them. We saw Sammy in the play yard of the Ukrainian orphanage incarcerating (their word, not mine) Luke & Irina. Stuck in a baby stroller due to Spina Bifida, he did everything possible to get our attention. His confinement did not limit his authority over the other inmates (again, theirs not mine) and I soon recognized he was the orphanage godfather. He’d signal to the other kids and they’d come, get their orders and do Sam’s bidding. His command and control at age three impressed me!


Sam tried to get my attention and compliance as well. Every time our eyes connected, he’d give me a little wave and try to get me to come talk to him. The orphanage matrons would bark at him in Russian each time he did. At one point, I attempted to take his picture and caught the full wrath of a senior matron. (I’m convinced she was a USSR Shot Putter Gold Medalist -Men’s Division in the 1980 Moscow Olympics!). Something about Sammy broke our hearts and we left that first trip intending to find him a home — it turned out to be ours. In the end, the circumstances that made Irina and Sammy orphanage roommates united them as brother and sister.


Then when we thought we were done, that guy sitting next to Sam in the picture above came into our life via this picture:


He definitely fell into the “slam dunk” category in our hearts but in the mindset of his country there were several checks against Yul being ours. First, they didn’t like the size of our family. Second, they didn’t like all the “disability” of our family. Third, an unspoken but evident taboo regarding intellectual disability existed that made Yul a less valuable citizen in his homeland. His value to us, by their understanding, was near incomprehensible and raised suspicion to our intent. Nothing short of God’s intervention slayed these Goliath barriers. Our purpose was to give this boy a family but more than that happened — his unconditional love gave us the joy of a son.


Now for the big news! The second most asked adoption question of us is, “Are you done?”. The answer is we’ve learned not to answer. To this end, a new picture, the desperate kind, presented itself to our family last week — I’m excited to announce we are expecting!


A nine-year old girl needs a permanent home; ours will be her fourth. She is medically and emotionally fragile — her situation is dire but nowhere near impossible. I’m very limited in the specifics I can provide about our daughter until she is ours. We’ve examined her records and prayed. Our conclusion, God provided Amy and I with gifts that mirror this child’s needs and so now, we must act…

…but I’m going to ask you to act as well! The costs associated with rescuing this child are sizable — I’ll need you to trust me on this instead of asking the “Why?” question (the third most asked!) — It just does. Additionally, quicker action will lead to better outcomes for our new daughter.

Four Ways You Can Help

First, please keep us in your prayers specifically for wisdom, endurance and patience. We cannot get through this without being lifted up by others!

Second, I’ve set-up a YouCaring fund –  Make Dad Just Happened Again Fund to help us fund our adoption. Click here to go to the site and donate. Any donation is greatly appreciated! If you have a blog you can “grab” our widget and post it to your site!

Third, this blog is monetized which means the ads above and below generate revenue by simply clicking on the links. Just click each time you visit Dad Just Happened and it’s money in our bank. We’ll use 100% of proceeds from WordAd revenue towards adoption expenses!

Fourth, please share this post — many hands make light work! It is always amazing to see $5 to $25 donations become $10,000. We saw this happen with Yul’s adoption and, it happened in 72 hours!

We’ll keep you up-to-date as things progress via this site and the DadJustHappened FaceBook page.


Adam and Amy

PS: The Philadelphia Inquirer just published a piece on our family. Click here to see the article and feel free to share it (like 2000+ Inquirer readers have already done)!


2 thoughts on “How Do You Know?

  1. Pingback: Not necessarily a nursing theme but I wanted to share this dear-to-me post from my other blog – – A Patient Nurse

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