When people hear that we adopted a teenager, they often ask, “Wasn’t that hard?” The answer is, “Of course!” Dawn had all sorts of emotional baggage from her previous life, and it would manifest itself in many ugly ways. In addition, Kathleen and I were completely unprepared for the task ahead of us. We had no experience as parents, but suddenly we had to become the parents of a teen whose previous childhood had been nothing short of miserable. However, the Lord tells us that we can do anything through Christ who gives us strength (Philippians 4:13).  

Did we have our share of troubles? Of course! Dawn and I used to have arguments that could only be described as “epic.” I remember one specific time when I got so angry with her, the only thing I could do was leave the house in the middle of our argument and start walking around the block. Kathleen and Dawn often had a hard time relating to one another, which led to all sorts of tension and heartache. I could go on and on.

Are we glad we adopted Dawn? It is difficult to find words that are strong enough to answer that question. Just thinking about the fond memories the three of us have made together over the past 18 years fills my eyes with tears. When Dawn came into our lives, the Lord began molding our hearts around her. Now that the job is complete, I cannot imagine our life without her.  

Not long ago, I read a quote that describes how I feel about adopting Dawn. As far as I can tell, its origin is unknown. I am sure it was written about someone finding his spouse, but when I read it, I immediately thought of Dawn:

And then my soul saw yours and kind of went “Oh, there you are. I’ve been looking for you.”

Dawn came into our lives when she was 15. Now she is 33. She is a happy, healthy, and successful adult. She is a fine Christian woman with a good job and a great life. From my perspective, however, here is the most important thing you need to know about her: She is my little girl.

Dr. Jay L. Wile is best known for his award-winning “Exploring Creation With…” series of junior high and high school science textbooks. He and his wife of more than 25 years, Kathleen, homeschooled their daughter, Dawn, from the time they adopted her until she graduated high school. You can visit Dr. Wile on the web at www.drwile.com.

© 2013 by Home Educating Family Association. All rights reserved. Used with permission. Originally published in 2012 Issue 4 of Home Educating Family Magazine, the publication with the most meaningful discussions taking place in the homeschooling community today. Visit hedua.com to read back issues and for more articles, product reviews, and media.

Publication date: August 21, 2013