Almost everyone that wants to adopt a child is hoping to adopt a baby. There are a lot of people that would be flexible and adopt a child as old as five or maybe six, but you'd be hard pressed to find someone who says they are hoping to adopt a teenager. I'm not making that up. It's not for dramatic effect. Teenagers in foster care are labeled "unadoptable" because no one wants them. They've seen too much, have too many issues and have too much trouble acclimating into a family. Think about it: Hello Kitty was adopted on her 3rd birthday. In the first three years of her life, she lived with her biological mother and was removed to a foster home where no one spoke English, then to my parents house, then back to her biological mom's house. By the time she was adopted, she had been exposed to a lifestyle most of us hope our children never see, and she was only three. It lends to reason that someone four times her age would have seen four times the garbage. To say they could go through all of that without baggage is just plain naive. To say they can't be helped to a better life is just plain quitting.
You're jealous of her hair. Admit it.
I'm not 100% sure of her history. Honestly, social services isn't the most forth-coming agency, and some of the stuff I've heard sounds so crazy that I'm not sure if it's true or just gossip. The things I know to be true are these: her biological father killed himself and at the risk of sounding overly harsh, her biological mother is the kind of woman that makes people think that screening people before you let them procreate is a good idea. She gave birth to six children, none of which she ever took care of or even lived with. She has managed to pop in and out of their lives when it suits her. Mostly, she disrupts the normalcy they have found and leaves them reeling.
When Gisele came to live with our family, she showed the effects of her previous life. The life she had been exposed to promoted self-indulgence, laziness and a belief that society owed you something even if you didn't bother to earn it. These are not the character quailities of a good woman, let alone a Godly one. The task my parents undertook when adopting Gisele was a steep one: undoing thirteen years of life to build up a better woman. Could a task that generally takes at least eighteen years be accomplished in five or is it impossible?
We are fortunate enough to know that with God there is no such thing as impossible or unadoptable. We are the direct beneficiaries of His love and mercy. In Romans 5:8, it says,
"But God demonstrates His own love towards us that while we were yet sinners He died for us."And He did it so we, the spiritually unadoptable, could be a part of His family regardless of our histories. It is this knowledge and the faith that God's plan is at work here that enables my parents to continue on this path.
In the past three years Gisele has grown in an amazing way. She went from a little girl that my parents were certain would never be able to take care of herself into a young woman who is hard working and capable of setting life goals for herself. My mother often refers to Gisele as her right hand man because she is always willing to help. She is delightful and I am grateful to be able to call her my sister.
Gisele at her sixteenth birthday party. (There was no princess dress. We don't roll that way.)
Internet buddies, Gisele. Gisele, Internet buddies.
Next week I'll introduce you to the Blond. We refer to her as Diva (when she's not within earshot)