Sunday, October 9, 2011

10 People in 10 Days: Day Five - Our Families

Sunday, October 9, 2011
10 People in 10 Days
Our Families           

We keep getting asked when we are coming home. I’m glad everybody misses us! I really wish I could give a concrete answer to that question, but I just can’t. Our court resolution will be on Tuesday the 18th. After we get our decree we will spend the day running around like mad men doing paperwork. “What paperwork?” you ask.  Well, we will need to go get Sterling’s new birth certificate, which will show us as his birth parents, we need to go get his passport picture taken and apply for his passport and we need to close out his bank account and donate that money to the institution. That will mean at least two trips to his village (unless someone in the village can do a passport picture…) Once this paperwork day is done and we actually can go apply for the passport, I will have an answer (or at least a guess) to the question of when we come home. It will depend on how long the passport takes. My best *GUESS* is somewhere around the 26th of October. That is a *GUESS*! I do not know. I know that coming home before then is UNLIKELY. We will have an overnight in London as one plane arrives to London in the evening and the other doesn’t leave London until the next morning. So, all I can tell you is that we should be home before Halloween. I know that isn’t what you want to hear (and trust me we just want to come home) but it is all I have to offer. I did figure out today that instead of counting in weeks – days sound so much better. So, we *could* be home in 17 days. That doesn’t sound too bad does it?

Ten people in ten days continues. Today is day 5 of our ten day wait! We are half way there (even though we really have a two week wait…ugh). I realized the other day that if you are reading (the number of people reading the blog every day has plummeted recently) you are pretty much hearing the start to finish story of our adoption. That is very cool. What’s even neater is that I have typed them all in Word first so I have the ability to print them out and save them for Sterling’s book!

Today we recognize:

Our Families

Sounds like another cop out…I know. But I can’t spend a day on each person and if I leave someone out I’m likely to hear about it. So, we are going to do the best we can like this.

After we had committed and there was no turning back (at least – not in our minds) we told our families about our decision to adopt Sterling. I think telling someone (especially a family member) that you are adopting a child with special needs puts them in a difficult situation. They don’t know whether to be honest with you or put on the fake smile. I think it took time for people to realize that this is truly what we WANTED to do.  We were not bullied, it was not a last resort, it certainly was not “cheaper” or “easier” and I think when the shock wore off people could really see that.

I’d be lying if I told you were weren’t questioned. I’d be lying if I told you that people didn’t try to talk us out of it. I’d be lying if I told you that everyone has accepted it. But I am NOT lying when I say that everyone has at least figured out that this is what we want and it is happening and I can also tell you that I am NOT lying when I say that all but one of our family members is totally on the Sterling bandwagon.

A lot of the fear that surrounds the adoption of children with special needs is fed on STEREOTYPES. You know, those evil, falsities that perpetuate social misunderstandings. Unfortunately, they abound. Once we were able to eliminate some of those stereotypes, some of the fear subsided. Once the fear goes away it’s a little easier to let your guard down and once that happens – love can grow. Until you fix the root of the problem – you are pretty much on lockdown. Our parents grew up in the 40s, 50s and 60s. Our grandparents grew up in the 20s and 30s (no I’m not kidding). The perceptions that they had of children with special needs was very different from the realities of today. But I can honestly say it has been a blessing sharing lots of information about Down Syndrome with them. And, for the most part, everyone has come around. The one holdout will melt when they meet Sterling (I’m sure of that) – and I’m also ok with it.

Our Moms

My mother and me on my wedding cruise (Both moms came along! We actually took 6 people with us!)

My mom was a public school employee. She has been around hundreds of children with disabilities and she knows that my deepest love has always been for children with special needs. She watched me get my degree in special education while simultaneously doing multiple internships, volunteer opportunities AND working at a preschool for children with special needs. If I told you she wasn’t surprised by our decision – I would be lying; I think it shocked her. But she certainly wasn’t bothered by it. I think once the initial “wow” wore off she kind of knew I would pull a stunt like this. ; ) It’s very…me.  Now she is in full on excitement mode. She went shopping yesterday (with my Aunt Bonnie) and I’m told they spent WAY TOO MUCH MONEY buying stuff for our little man. Obviously she is in thrill mode right now. She will be driving from Tennessee to meet us at the airport and we are excited that she is willing to do that (it’s a long drive.)

Brian his Mama (teary eyed) at our wedding.
Brian’s mom I think was a little more surprised. Remember Brian had never really had contact with children who had special needs. However, his mom is probably THE MOST genuinely loving and Godly person I know.  As much as it surprised her, the shock wore off quickly because she realized she was going to be a Grandma! Sterling is her first grandchild and I tell you that boy has already changed her. She went from being the least technically savvy person I know to Skyping with us in a matter of 3 weeks. Who knew one little boy could bring people into the 21st century so quickly! She too is in full on excitement mode. Brian went to a private Christian school for all of his education. His mom manages the thrift store run by the school. She has been on the lookout for bargains to help us prepare for Sterling and she is so super excited about him joining the family. She prints the pictures out daily (in 8x10s – so GLAD I haven’t had many pictures of me taken since I look HORRIBLE) and she has started putting them into a picture book. She just can’t wait until we get home with him.

Our Siblings

I think the "twin" comment came about say...45 seconds before this picture...and was made by the woman in the back....And yes - my sister walked me down the aisle :)

I only have one sibling – a sister named Lesa. An older sister. I think when I told her she was more surprised than the moms. I remember an audible, “OK. Wow.” LOL. She definitely did her fair share of questioning – but not in a bad way.  At the time, I think her questioning hurt my feelings; but, now I think it came from an older sister standpoint. My sister and I have a HUGE age gap! We are 13 years apart. (You wouldn’t know looking at us – on my wedding day we were asked if we were twins…great for her...I wanted to smack the lady!) I think her shock came from life experiences and from the fact that she has 4 children of her own. We are also very different people. She keeps telling me she couldn’t do it…but I disagree. She is just as strong and stubborn as I am. She’d make one heck of an advocate. We had a few really good chats that challenged both my thinking and hers (chats in which I became overly defensive – that’s just me.) Now, she is all systems go. She is thrilled to see Sterling with us and very stoked to see him come home. She thinks he is adorable (which he is…) and I think, even though we were close before this, this process might have brought us closer. We rarely disagree on things so having differing thought processes on this whole situation made us talk more. Neither of us readily enjoy opening up – to anyone.  I have always sought her approval for everything (I think that’s a younger sister thing) and I’m really glad she is happy for us.

Paul went with us with on the cruise too...the boys had too much fun!

 Brian, Mama Hinz and Paulie Jo (on the wedding cruise)

Brian has one sibling as well – a “little” brother named Paul. I use the term little lightly (mostly for fun!) because he is about 3 inches taller than Brian and weighs probably 50 more pounds. LOL. I’m not sure Paul knew what to think. I’m not even sure Paul reacted. This is probably because Paul is one of those go with the flow guys. He is a free spirit. Paul is doing us the BIGGEST favor ever while we are gone. He is watching our house and our dogs. You should actually read that as he is living in our house and watching our dogs. This is saving us close to $3000 on boarding them. Unfortunately for him – I’m not buying him $3000 worth of chocolate.  He too is super thrilled about Sterling. He’s not an overly emotional guy - Emoticons are the farthest reach of his emotions… So, I know he’s happy when he Facebooks “That’s my NEPHEW!!! =-D” I don’t know how thrilled he is to have to stay at our place for 6 weeks (I’m sure he isn’t super thrilled when he has to drive 3 hours one way for class on Tuesdays) but we very grateful that he was willing to do it.

Our Extended Families

Us with both of our grandmothers at our wedding!

Have come out of the woodwork!  We have had a ton of support from our extended families. Our Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles have been great! Everyone is excited! My Aunt Bonnie went shopping with my mom yesterday (and spent WAY TOO MUCH!) and for that we are more than GRATEFUL. Brian’s family was great and helped us out so much with donations in the beginning. Our Grandmas are super thrilled (and super cute) about having a new great grandson.

You can see that without our family support (in the many different ways it has happened) we would not be here! We are so very grateful that our families that our families have been supportive and we cannot WAIT to introduce Sterling to all of them!


  1. LOVE!!! Family support is such a blessing

  2. Gonna try to be at the airport too..not sure if I will be working or not..I'm also flying to Pat's on my birthday weekend,so hopefully it will be before then!