Friday, January 11, 2013

Special Needs Spotlight: The Green Family, part 2


Hey you guys--I know it's been a while but here is part 2 of our spotlight with the amazing Green family! You can read part 1 here.  Also, the intro below is the same one from week 1, just so you're not confused.   

Hello there! We are excited for a chance to share our beautiful children with you! My name is Christianne Green, and I am so blessed to be the mother to nine amazing children in our home and two precious spirits in heaven.  My husband, Jeremy, and I are sitting in our hotel room in Xi'an, China, as we answer these questions!  We are here experiencing such a beautiful week as we have added the most angelic 12-year-old girl to our family!  She is our sixth adoption from China-- all amazing kiddos, all with special needs.  We also have three incredible biological children, and together these children have blessed our lives in the most perfect way.  Our life is full of ups and downs, twists and turns, challenges and blessings, heartache and hope--and we wouldn't have it any other way.  Jeremy will answer the questions for part one, and I will take part two.  Thanks for taking the time to learn a bit about our family and this crazy, beautiful road we have taken!  :)

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Miggy:  Christianne, in part one we met your children and talked a little about your journey to adoption and special needs.  Now I'd like to ask about the hard stuff--what are some of your biggest worries and fears when it comes to your kids?

Christianne:  I think I worry about the same things most parents worry about—Do they have enough friends at school?  Are they happy?  Am I helping them discover their potential?  Are they well-adjusted?  Am I doing all I can to meet their needs?  Of course, I always worry about their medical needs and that brings an extra dimension of concern.

I think one of my biggest concerns has always been to make them feel passionately loved and cared about individually even though they are in a family with many brothers and sisters.  We make great efforts to make sure that they don’t “feel lost in the shuffle” but there are still times when at the end of the day, I’m left thinking, “I didn’t give ‘so and so’ the attention she needed today,” or “I really need to be more aware of what ‘he’ is going through and be more patient.”  It’s always a struggle to make sure that each of them has their emotional, physical, and spiritual needs met in the best way that we can.  But we are giving it our all, and if nothing else, I do know that each of them feels very loved.  (:


Miggy:  Again since you have such a wide range of experience with different special needs, what is the best way for others to approach you and your children?  Is there something you wish other people knew so as to avoid awkward or hurtful situations?

Christianne:  First of all, know that we understand if your kids stare.  Our kids stare too!  We also understand when adults stare.  It’s impossible to not want to watch Sophi particularly, as she is quite fascinating even to adults.  I think that “staring” from a distance is fine.  But if you are up close enough to interact with the kids, teach your children to just ask questions if they have them, and then try to treat them like typical kids.  It also doesn’t hurt to teach them to “stare” with a pleasant look on their face.  I have found that Sophi doesn’t mind people watching her at all, unless they have a grumpy glare type of look, at which point she gives them the grumpy glare back and gets very self-conscious.  (;  A smile or compliment goes a long way in making her feel good about herself!  Also, everyone always comments on her missing arms—I’m sure she would love to be noticed for her big beautiful eyes or impish smile as well! 

We understand as well as anyone that our family is unique.  I love when people approach me with questions rather than being afraid to ask them.  I am not easily offended when people don’t phrase things “correctly” and I always try to understand their intent.  That being said, and since you asked, (; I will give you a link to a post I wrote about how to avoid phrasing questions in a way that can be uncomfortable for adoptive parents or more importantly, their kids.  It can be found HERE.


Miggy:  I think a sense of humor in life is important so I always ask my moms about finding the humor with special needs--I would imagine you might have some great stories!  Have you ever had any funny conversations/moments you never imagined due to your special needs situations?  


Christianne:  Yes, humor is SUPER important when dealing with special needs.  Sometimes other people don’t quite get our humor, but we love to watch people’s reactions when we say things like, “Yeah, when Lexi or Elli misbehaves, we just rearrange the furniture,” or, “Sophi, do you need a hand?”  We think that teaching the kids to have fun with their special situations can make a big difference in their lives!  We have funny conversations with them all the time, like earlier this week when Lexi was wanting to come into our bedroom.  She was told firmly that she needed to stay out of our room because there were Christmas presents in there.  She immediately replied, “I can’t see!  I'm blind!” Duh, Mom and Dad!



Miggy:  What would you tell a family who is thinking about adoption a child with special needs?  Is there a good place to start or even a person or agency they can contact just to ask questions?

Christianne:  I would tell them that they are on a beautiful path.  Begin by learning as much as possible from other people who have traveled that same path and to brace themselves for ups and downs, highs and lows, and ultimately an amazing and life changing adventure.   If the family was religious, I would tell them to pray whether it was right.  Ultimately, if it is right to adopt, you can be assured that everything that is heart-wrenching, difficult, or seemingly impossible will not matter in the end.

Obviously our experience lies with special needs adoption from China.  If someone were to go that route, I would unequivocally say, “Go with CCAI!”  Their website is www.ccaifamily.org and they are the most wonderful agency in the world.  We LOVE them.  Their website will answer many questions and link to other families who have adopted and want to share their stories.


Miggy:  What is the biggest lesson you've learned since becoming a mother of children with special needs?

Christianne:  Tough question.  I’ve learned a thousand lessons.  I continue to learn every day.  I suppose I might say the biggest lesson I’ve learned is perspective.  I’ve learned what’s most important in life.  I’ve learned the things that really matter.  I’ve learned to have an eternal perspective and know that in the end, everything will not only be ok, but be beautiful and perfect.  The perspective the kids give me daily makes me a more grateful person-- I have eyes.  I have arms.  I have a sound mind.  That means that a messy house to clean or another meal to cook really isn’t that big of deal, right?!




Miggy:  What is the biggest lesson you've learned in regards to adoption? 

Christianne:  Family is not about DNA, but about who loves you and cares for you.  Kids with special needs are just KIDS. 


Miggy:  Lastly, is there anything else you want people to know about your family and your life?  Is there's one thing in particular you want people to take away from this spotlight?


Christianne:  If I could have the wish of my heart, it would be for other families to consider adoption.  I know it’s not right for everyone, but I also think that it IS right for many families who just don’t know it!  If you are even slightly considering adoption, perhaps you are wrestling with many of the same questions and concerns we have had.

How will we come up with the money?
What will it mean to the children we already have?
How in the world will I meet the needs of everyone entrusted to my care?
How will I know if it’s right for our family?
Wouldn’t a mother with less on her plate be a better fit for this child?
How can I adopt a child who I cannot even communicate with?
Can I love another child as much as I love the ones I now have?
How can I consider special needs I know NOTHING about?
How can we fit another child in our home?

The short answer to all of these questions is the same.  And it has everything to do with God.  A God who has billions of children, yet knows each of them perfectly, loves each of them perfectly, and meets each of their needs perfectly.  It is about a God who so desperately wants each of His children to know the love of a mother and a father.  It is about a God who, if can move mountains, can surely show you how to make adoption work, if it is His will. 

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I want to thank Christianne and Jeremy again for their wonderful spotlight.  I love hearing about each of their children and the journey to becoming the family they are today.  I respect these two so much and the choices they've made for their family and their children.  They have given me a lot to think about...so thank you.  Read more about the Greens on their family blog here.  They also have a fundraising blog a family friend started for them called Puzzle Them Home.  

As always if you or anyone you know would like to participate in our special needs spotlight series please email me--or have your friends email me directly--at thislittlemiggy at gmail dot com.  I'm just now getting back to people who emailed me before or during Christmas!  So please be patient!

Have a great weekend.  

5 comments:

  1. The kids are all so wonderful and lovely. Kids are God's gift and will always be a treasure.

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  2. They are so awesome! I saw a post about their little Sophi connecting with Tisha Unarmed (not sure if you've seen her youtube videos, she is amazing!) and I was so thrilled they were able to make that connection! Love it.

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  3. Hey Miggy - I had the pleasure of meeting Jer, Taylor, Parker, and Graci in Guangzhou PRC during the Green's adoption trip for Graci - and I have to admit that Jer and I "bonded" like brothers in the first 5 or 10 minutes of that meeting! We were Blessed to spend several days together - and have been in "communications" since. There's a deep connection there that defies language.

    You did a great job capturing a part of the Green's - but just in case it didn't come through - the whole bunch of them are among the finest folk I've had the pleasure to meet during my time on this Earth - there is a "spark" there that can only be experienced to be understood!

    Finally - during the adoptions we've made I have to say that there is a "connection" between adoptive families - a kind of a "comfort" that they seem to all share. I guess I've always considered that to be an unexpected "value added" benifit to being an adoptive family - we have a HUGE extended family that we knew nothing about!

    Great profile of our friends!

    aus and co.

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  4. Just like you said in Green Part 1, I must have a lot more time and energy than I thought. What a truly inspiring family! Christie's link to her post about how to not be an idiot when talking to an adoptive mom (although she didn't-- and would probably never-- say it that way) is also a great read.

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  5. I absolutely love this family! I appreciated part 1 and 2. I love how it talks about adoption and special needs. I am constantly worried that I will not be able to bear children, so it comforts me that even if I won't be able to birth them, I can still raise kids. This family is amazing!

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