May 9, 2012
Crazy that is took more than a month but as you might be able to guess I (the mom who generally puts the energy behind such endeavors) am (STILL) exhausted. Could you tell from all of the attention I've given this blog?
Anyway the picture was taken for the local newspaper to use in a Mother's Day article this weekend, The reporter who interviewed us asked for a family photo but rut row, a month home and still no full family of eight photo.
No problem-o, at least not one our handy dandy tripod couldn't fix.
PS; my shirt says Blessed Mom. I am.
UPDATE: Here is the article from the Stow Sentry. It was a full page story on page 4 with a front page banner and a full color photo. There were typos that made me cringe but overall it wasa positive adoption piece and that's what I hoped for.
May 13, 2012
by Mariana Silva | Reporter
Stow -- Parents, brothers and sisters and a very happy family. That's all you see by looking at the Printys' family photos filled with laughter, hugs, love and children.
Parents of six, three sons by birth and three daughters by adoption, but all their own, Lori and Dart Printy of Stow have more than blood ties supporting their family.
The couple was in their 40s and had already three sons when Lori told Dart she really would like parenting a daughter. They talked about it and in that same year they decided they wanted to adopt. They started the process and a couple years later in 2009, their first daughter, Nina, arrived from Kazakhstan, from where she was picked up by her new parents and brothers.
"This has been the best project we could have ever had," says Lori. "It makes you tired and invigorates you all at the same time."
And without planning, the family just grew from there.
In the last 39 months, following Nina, 5, Lori and Dart adopted Macy, 5, from China, and recently brought home their youngest daughter, Mia, 4, also from China. Along their big brothers, Kiefer, 21, Aidan, 17, and Nolan, 12, the eight of them are just another happy family.
"People imagine that this is something that they can't do," says Lori about adoption. "We are just a typical suburban family, and it is not as hard to adopt, or as strange to do as it might seen," Lori says.
The Printy family is not alone when looking at adoption as a way to form a family.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families estimated in a 2004 report about 127,000 children were adopted annually in the U.S. in 2000 and 2001, including domestic and international ones.
Looking at international adoptions, between 1999 and 2011, 233,934 children and teens were adopted from foreign countries, according to the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs. That means there was an average of 20,000 so-called intercountry adoptions each year in the last decade.
Although Lori and Dart's choice of adopting three children who required special attention -- Nina didn't talk, Macy had a cleft lip, and Macy was believed to suffer from a severe case of cerebral palsy -- adopting from foreign countries is not unique to their family. It is not even unique to Ohio families.
In fact, more than 9,000 foreign children and teens made Ohio their home in the past decade, according to the bureau -- but that doesn't avoid the innocent but inappropriate reactions the Printys get when they tell people where their daughters are from.
"We either get this sort of sanctified response [...] 'Oh, you are such good people' or 'they are so lucky.' But then the other reaction we get is sort of negative," Lori says. "People say: 'Why not adopt here? Why do you have to go to China? Why do you have to go to another country?'"
To Lori and Dart, adopting a child is just like having a baby.
"You don't say the baby is lucky, you say the parents are lucky," they say.
And after seeing orphanages and institutions in Kazakhstan and China, Lori, Dart and their sons know that it doesn't really matter where one adopts their sons and daughters from, as long as children are getting out of institutions and are given a chance to have a family.
"The truth is, while people have these visions of infant girls, healthy, in China, who all have been sort of tossed away because of the one child policy, that is not really what the orphanages look like," Lori says. "Really, China is doing better economically and the healthy children are being adopted domestically, and less and less often they are being abandoned in the first place. But that is not to say there aren't a lot of orphans there."
The difference, Lori and Dart say, is that the orphanages are filled with older orphans, siblings, many with special needs, all of whom, just like their daughters, are needing a family. And having spent weeks in orphanages and institutions in the countries they adopted from during missions and the adoption process, the Printy family has seen up close what life is like for orphans.
Laughter, giggling, and running around are not common sights in these places, they say.
"You can't go over there and not be haunted by the kids you live behind," Lori says. "And I don't think there is an adoptive parent who really turns their back on what they see there."
So every time the family travels for an adoption or mission, they make sure to take supplies of diapers, formulas and even coloring books, crayons and Christmas cards, which help not only put a smile on many children's faces, but may also offset costs to allow for a cleft lip surgery or medical care.
In their last trip to China to bring Mia home in March, the family filled their checked bags with things to take, including pounds of repurposed medical supplies from Medwish International.
Bringing home an adopted child it is not easy. But neither is bringing home a biological newborn. Lori and Dart would know.
"When you come home with an adoptive child, it really doesn't matter what age they are," Lori says. "Just like the family that goes to the hospital to give birth: Come make dinner for them, bring them a covered dish. Help them out because [they] are exhausted from the travel, but also exhausted from this dramatic change that the whole family goes through."
Lori says when adopting older children, parents have to work on medical, bonding and trust issues, which most parents don't have to worry about when raising their children from infancy. Older children may also have memories of their days in the orphanages, and they will most likely miss those who were around them many for years.
The family has gone through that when Nina and Macy came home, and they expect it to be no different now that Mia has joined the family.
"I always wonder what is going through their heads. They are old enough to understand they are being taken away," Lori says. "So we are prepared, we expect almost everything. Sometimes kids grieve hard. They have already lost their culture because you don't really know your culture from inside an institution. But she is going to lose familiar smells, food, adult caregivers that have been in her life.
"And like any good parent, you help your children to work through whatever challenge they have. It is not perfect -- if it were, she would have stayed with her birth family in an environment that they could care for her, and that family would stay intact."
Riding their little pink toy vehicles, Mia, Nina and Macy look like any other children their age hanging out with their friends in a sunny afternoon.
"No one can believe that these kids had anything but a perfect start," Lori says. "And it is just a testimony of how resilient kids are and the potential that they have and what just an average family can mean to a child in need."
Mia, who has been living here for less than two months, is still working on her English vocabulary, but she is doing great, Lori says.
Nina and Macy, who are just four months apart in age and do everything together, were excited to have another sister to play with. And they will also get to be big sisters and maybe even teach Mia how to swim, which is one of their plans.
Mia, thought to have severe mental disability, was diagnosed with a very mild case of cerebral palsy, and will just need physical therapy.
"It is just one of those amazing blessings," Lori says.
The couple will have to help Mia cross the trauma of living in an orphanage, but they know she will be just fine.
"My biological children each had something that we had to help nurture and develop," Lori says. "It is not any different."
To those who ever thought about adoption, Lori gives this advice: Take the next step, and don't be afraid of adopting older children or children with special needs.
"And really," Lori says. "We weren't out there looking for babies to save. It just happened that my kids lived in a different country."
"We are not just having kids," Dart adds. "We are making a family."