It was ten long years and an endless amount of tears later when adoptive mom Jennifer McQuillan was finally able to become a mother to two adoptive twin boys.
Owning their own preschool, Jennifer and her husband Lance McQuillan had always loved children and desperately wanted to have a family of their own. They spent the first 15 years of their marriage traveling and being adventurous. 10 of those years were spent trying to have a biological child of their own to no avail. When they realized this was not going to work for them, they began to start their adoption process.
In 2016, the McQuillan’s stated that they felt that the Lord was calling them to adopt and make a difference in the lives of young children. They prayed about it, sold their preschool business that they loved so much, and headed back home to South Africa. This is when they began to talk with a private and recommended social worker to see about adoption.
On the day they met their wonderful twin boys, she recalls it being a beautiful bright and sunny Wednesday. The twins were merely one year old at the time. The four of them then went into a garden so they could all spend time getting to know one another. She immediately knew that these boys were sent from the Lord to be their sons as their bond was formed immediately.
From that day onward, the adoption process was very quick and within a short while, the boys came to live with them permanently. She also recalls instantly forming a bond with the twin boys as soon as they came home as a family for the first time. They were officially a family of 6 with the other two members being their basset hounds, Benji and Toby. McQuillan also adds that their fur babies were very quick to bond with the twins as well.
Remarkably, one of the twins remembers their first encounter in excessive detail. He remembered them walking into the garden and said “Mommy, you took my hand., Daddy, you took my brother’s hand. And then we were talking in the garden, and walking in the garden and looking at flowers”. McQuillan says they were completely taken aback at how he could remember this day with such detail. She also says that we can never underestimate what a child will remember and comprehend. It’s important to remember that the first 1,000 days of a child’s life are some of the most important.
In an interview with parent24, Jennifer stated,
“My wish for my children is for them to grow up with empathy and love for themselves and others around them. Not exposing children enough to the world is doing them a disservice as we need to help prepare them for this life, laying crucial foundations in their early childhood. Their early years are the most important years where their characters and outlook on life are being formed and moulded. Our job as their parents is a highly responsible one, and we need to do right by them.”
It has now been about four years since the initial adoption and McQuillan says she still feels delighted every time she hears them say the words “mommy” and “daddy.” The twins learn about Jesus, God, and His creation every day. They feel it is essential to have this solid grounding from a young age. She also added that she is eternally grateful that the privilege of adoption has enabled this. Adoption may not also be an easy journey, but it is an incredibly worthwhile one.
Advising adoptive parents beginning this journey, McQuillan says to “Be grateful for each new day, which brings a new opportunity. You only need to take the considered risk of reaching out and capturing it!” Learn to appreciate every good and bad moment. Children grow and develop so quickly so it’s important to live in each and every moment. She also says that it is essential to have family support when you begin the adoption process. Adoption is a huge and permanent life change and she believes that no one else can make it work. Only you can, and it all comes down to what you make of it.
She also states that support groups are super useful when adopting. “Finding support among other adopters is critical, where you can discuss your daily challenges, practical issues you have encountered, and lean on each other for advice. One example of a support group on Facebook is Passionate about Adoption.” There are also several other support groups and services that can prove to be supportive of this process.
One more essential advice that McQuillan has is to have complete, open communication. “You need to be open with your social worker, your family, your friends, your spouse (if you have one), your biological children (if you have) and your support network about this process,” says McQuillan.
She also advises that adoptive parents need to have those hard conversations with their adoptive children as well. She added,
“We live in a country where poverty, stereotyping, racism, inequality, hunger and human need is so evident, and even at their tender age, we talk about these authentic topics in frank and age-appropriate conversation.”
She believes that telling the child their adoption story from a young age will cause less issues as they get older, such as the feelings the child may have when they first find out they’re adopted.
She added that adopting parents must have knowledge, strength, fortitude, prayer, patience, an open heart, and preparedness for when the child has arrived.
If you or a loved one is considering adoption, head over to Adoption Network or MentalHealth.net for summaries on how the process is established.