Grant Garris and Paul Witmer are the proud parents of two amazing kids through the miracle of adoption. Grant is the founder of A Village to Raise, a website providing support, education, and resources for families.
Below are excerpts from my interview with Grant, where he talks about the adoption process and adopting older children.
1. What led you to adoption?
With the evolutionary process of our relationship, the desire to expand our family was very strong. The natural progression in our minds was to adopt.
2. What was your adoption process like?
With our oldest son the adoption process was a bit more challenging. We were presented with several children initially and had to decide what type of child would fit best into our home. Once we finally identified our son and a match was made we didn�t know what to expect. We found the process was challenging because we had to travel four weeks in a row, driving 10 hours one way to spend weekends with him due to the inefficiencies of the system and a difficult social worker in Ohio.
The experience with our second son was a lot different. Once we were matched to him, we still had to deal with the system in Georgia and wait for the paper work to be processed to allow him into Georgia. Once the papers were signed we were flown up to Oregon to meet him, visited for 5 days and flew back with him to stay forever. His social worker was amazing and worked tirelessly to help him acclimate to our home, including flying to Atlanta on multiple occasions to spend the weekend with us.
3. How did you come to the decision to adopt two older children?
We realized early on that our life was too active to put an infant into the mix. After months of discussing what is best we decided to adopt an older child.
4.What challenges did you face in your adoption, either during or after the adoption process was complete?
One of the challenges that most people do not understand is that when you adopt you live in a glass house until finalization. The most difficult challenge was complying with the demands of the visitation process, medical evaluations and state-to-state transitions.
5. What advice do you have for other people who are considering adoption?
My best advice is to tell them that there is a HUGE misconception about the ages of �imprinting� as it relates to children that have been in and out of Foster Care. The logic that imprinting has already happened (before you get an older child) is illogical because there has not been anyone to imprint on them who is consistent in their lives and once an older child comes into your home, it is like watching a sponge fill with water as their imprinting finally starts.
6. Describe your life before children, and your life now now.
You never know how your life is until your situation changes and as your situation changes you adapt. Before adoption life was about us, our wants, our needs, our desires. We could be spontaneous if we wanted without effort. Now that we have kids we realize how important structure in their daily life should be which forced us to become predictable and maybe viewed as dull by our single friends.
7. What are your greatest joys as parents?
Watching your child achieve something that they thought would never be possible and hearing the words �I love my family!�