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November is National Adoption Month: A Family Says "Yes" to Adoption

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November is National Adoption Month. During this month, USCIS strives to raise awareness about the adoption of children, both within the United States and abroad, and celebrates the citizenship of hundreds of children in special ceremonies across the nation. The Beacon will feature three separate blog posts this month to share the unique stories of children and families who have bonded through intercountry adoption. This week we feature Gerald and Amanda Hostetler who adopted their daughter, Naomi, from China.

Adoption has changed the world as we know it. We never imagined what saying "yes" to adoption would mean to us as a family. In 2006 when we traveled to China to bring home our first daughter, Naomi through adoption, our minds were full of uncertainty. Would adoption truly be a positive impact on our family? Would we be able to love her "the same" as we loved our biological children? Would we remember this time as the critical decision that created more "risk" than our family could handle?

Looking back, we remember those worries, but we shake our heads at how ridiculous those concerns were. It could be said that opening our minds and hearts to adoption was the best decision we ever made. Through adoption our family has grown in compassion, in joy, and in unity. Our biological children are the most enthusiastic ambassadors for adoption you could ever find! We have discovered the secret that love does not divide, it multiplies. We know now that family is not defined by blood, but by love and commitment. Inside every child is a soul that their families love and cherish. Our life overflows with blessing. When we look at any one of our now six adopted children (one girl and five boys), it takes our breath away to consider what our life would be like without them. We have never regretted this path. We consider ourselves the most blessed people we know!

Above: The Hostetler Family
Above: The Hostetler Family

It should be said that there are many who have helped us along our journey to adopt our children. Trusted "midwives of adoption" who have held our hands, encouraged us, answered countless questions, and navigated the course. One such essential person is USCIS Officer Cynthia Jones. Over our last four Hague adoptions, Officer Jones has been a source of constant professional responsiveness. I know there is a commonly held belief that working with government agencies can be frustrating and that civil servants can be cold and dispassionate. This has never been true of Officer Jones. We are thankful that the Hague Unit of USCIS remembers that this is a very human journey where anxious parents cannot wait to be united with their children, many of whom are in need.

USCIS seems to understand that every day matters in the adoption journey and that every day of waiting is painful. Officer Jones always remembers it should always be “people before paper.” We are forever grateful for Officer Jones’ service to our family!