He Can Make You Smile Even On Your Worst Day

He Can Make You Smile Even On Your Worst Day

In honor of November being National Adoption Month, Portrait of an Adoption is running a special series called 30 Adoption Portraits in 30 Days.  Designed to give a voice to the many different perspectives of adoption, this series will feature guest posts by adoptees, birthparents, adoptive parents, waiting adoptive parents, and foster parents-turned-adoptive parents.  Painful and beautiful, these stories will bring you a deeper understanding of what adoption looks like, allowing you to appreciate the many brushstrokes that comprise a family portrait.

He Can Make You Smile On Your Worst Day

By Josh Graham

Our adoption story started four years before our son was born.  Like many families, we chose to adopt after surviving a challenging pregnancy with our first son (who was induced seven weeks early, if that says anything).

Our newest son came to us when he was six weeks old.  He had just been released from the hospital after suffering from RSV.  We were told by the Department of Children’s Services that he was a healthy baby boy.

Well, he is a baby boy.

It turns out his biological mother consumed several illegal narcotics while pregnant, and he was born in the bathroom of a condemned home.  Needless to say, this type of prenatal care is not optimal for a baby’s development.

Our sweet baby boy attends various feeding, physical, and developmental therapies weekly.  He has been admitted to the hospital several times and we have logged at least seventy long nights in hospital rooms.  He has endured multiple major surgeries, and he takes a daily regimen of medications.

Even with all of his challenges, we don’t mind.

Everyone says he is blessed to have parents that can “deal” with all of his “issues.” We selfishly state that we are blessed to have him as a son.

We are blessed to have a son that can take over the hearts of everyone in a room.  We are blessed to have a son that can make you smile with his incredible smile even on your worse day.  We are blessed to constantly be in the presence of a little boy who refuses to give up and teaches us daily the meaning of perseverance.

I have learned a few things over the course of the adoptive process:  First, everyone thinks you are adopting a child from a foreign country.  Our son came from Nashville.  Second, we are constantly asked if we have any other children of our own.  Both sons are our own.  Lastly, our six-year-old son believes babies come from social workers coming up the driveway, and I am glad I can avoid the ‘origin of babies’ conversation for several more years.

We finally had a court date on November 2nd to make the boy that is already physically, emotionally, and truly ours, legally ours.

Oh yeah, one more thing.  We did not pick him out nor did we see him prior to his arrival.  With that said, he still looks like me, and that’s pretty cool.

Josh Graham


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  • What a blessing to be grateful for, this Thanksgiving. Congratulations on finalizing your adoption!

    Your boys are SO cute - and yes, the younger one looks exactly like you! Our county (in California) only shows you a picture of a prospective adoptive child after you have agreed to adopt, based on a "telling" - and it certainly would be very frowned upon if you meet a child and then say "No," especially with an older child. It is so important to watch out for the physical and emotional well-being of these children. Bless you for giving your son such a wonderful home and care.

    I am also charmed by your story of your older son thinking "babies come from social workers." :) Have a wonderful Thanksgiving - certainly an inspiring one for me after all the stories in this series.

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    Thank you very much. We didn't even see a picture of our little man before we agreed to love him. In fact, we didn't even know if he was a boy or a girl. The voice on the other end said, "Tonya, do you want a baby." I said, "YES!!!" Then, we got VERY LIMITED details. He was a preadoptive (at risk) foster placement. He turned 2 yesterday. So, we have A LOT to be thankful for this year!!

  • In reply to Tonya Graham:

    We didn't see a picture of our little guy either, until after we had agreed to adopt him (but they did tell us it was a boy because we had had a failed adoption with a girl and our hearts had been set on a girl). We finalized his adoption on January 5, 2010, and we have been on Cloud Nine ever since!

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