Posted by: Kristin W | February 24, 2010

Q and A

When you tell people you are adopting two children from Ethiopia, you get a lot of responses.  But mostly, you get more questions.  There are definitely two camps.  The first is people who are enthusiastic and truly interested to learn more.  The second is the group of people who feel that we’re crazy, and ask questions to see if we’ve really thought through what we’re doing.  So, whichever camp you fall into, I thought I’d share some of the more concerning questions and my answers to them.

Q : Aren’t you worried that they will have health problems?

A:  Yes.  But no more so than when I was pregnant.  As many of you remember, when I was pregnant with Eleanor, I was on bed rest for eight weeks.  During that time, I laid in bed and thought of the 2.4 million things that could be wrong with my child if she was born severely prematurely. Fact of life…you just never know what you’re going to get.  In Ethiopia, most of the kids have experienced some level of malnutrition, but in most cases, once they are receiving proper nutrition, they rebound quickly and catch up to normal growth curves.   We will hope for the best and deal with whatever comes.

Q:  Aren’t you worried that they will have emotional problems?

A: Yes.  Many of the kids in Ethiopia have lost one or both of their parents to AIDS.  That’s a tough thing for a toddler to witness.  I would expect them to carry some baggage about that.  But, in speaking with our pediatrician, she said that most kids under age four who experience that kind of thing carry it with them always, but it is just a part of their history.  Something that happened to them.  Something that makes them who they are.  But not something that affects their day-to-day lives.  Again, we’ll hope for the best, and if not, take them to the therapist.

Q:  How will you handle the chaos of having four kids?  I can barely keep up with my [insert number of children the person has].

A:  I don’t know.  But we’ll figure it out.  When I look at my life now, I feel like I’m pretty busy.  However, I don’t even remember what Andrew and I did in the evenings before Sam was born.  And I don’t even really remember what we did when we only had one child.  And I only vaguely remember what life was like before both kids were in elementary school and had homework every night.  I figure that families go through stages and this will just be a new one.  (Although, to be completely honest here, the laundry scares me to death.)

Q:  Where will you put all those kids?

A:  Well, that’s a tough one.  We don’t have a large house.  We have a 3-bedroom ranch that doesn’t even really have a separate living and family room.  But, we’ve made a decision that it’s more important to us to grow our family through adoption than to move into a larger place.  So, for now, we’ll just pile them on top of each other and find a way to make it work.  When you think about the fact that our Ethiopian kids may have never had a bed, or even a house that keeps out the elements, I don’t think they’ll mind that they have to share a bedroom with a sibling.

Q:  How will you afford them?

A:  One word – Costco.  Just kidding, actually this is a very real concern.  But, Andrew and I both have good jobs and we make more than what we need to survive.  We are making a conscious decision to live our lives differently than some of our peers.  We don’t go on expensive vacations (well, at least not too often).  We don’t eat out a lot.  Our kids wear Target clothes.  We have the most basic cable package you can get (and we don’t own a DVR).  We don’t drink Starbucks.  Date night is often a cheap bottle of wine and a Netflix movie.  But, these are sacrifices that we’re willing to make in order to have the family we want.  I would much rather play a game of balloon volleyball in the living room than be able to afford a more expensive activity with the kids.  Our economy is a mess because people in my generation (including for a while, us) lived beyond our means.  Hopefully we can teach our kids that the love of their family is more important than the newest, flashiest toy.  We will never live in the nicest house on the block or have the fanciest car in the driveway.  But we’ll have four smiling faces when we walk in the door at the end of a long day.



  1. Love your answers!

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