Recently I had the chance to “interview” author and adoption advocate, John Simmons.
I write “interview” because I didn’t actually speak with him, although that was my choice. I wrote out some questions that I then emailed to his publicity person and she emailed them to him. I chose to go this route because as a stay-at-home mom of two young boys with three dogs in the house…it’s a bit noisy. So if you’ve ever tried to talk on the phone with all this action…you’ll know why I chose to email my questions.
Who is John Simmons?
John Simmons is the father of 9 children. The first 3 are biological children, then they adopted a boy with Down Syndrome from the U.S. and then they adopted 5 children from Russia (not all at once).
As you may, or may not know, my husband and I are currently waiting to be matched with a little girl whom we will be adopting from China. So when I got the chance to have a “conversation” with someone who has walked the adoption road, repeatedly, I jumped at it.
John’s first book, Marvelous Journey Home, is an amazing story based on his own experiences of adopting children from Russia. He will release a second book based on his journey through adoption this summer titled To Sing Frogs. I’m looking forward to reading them both.
I was very touched by my experience with “interviewing” John Simmons and I think that y’all will be too. I want to share more of this “conversation” with you than will fit in this post. Over the next few weeks, I will post some of the questions and responses. Hopefully you will find them as enlightening and endearing as I did.
John’s Letter to Me
Background info: I sent a one page document with a little note about our impending adoption and 10 questions. He sent me back a 6 page document where he answered my questions candidly and with humor.
Let’s start with the little note he wrote me:
Congratulations on your pending adoption. The elation, disappointment, happiness, frustration, excitement, and bewilderment you have been experiencing will continue. In fact, it will only increase. Pull your hair back in a ponytail because you’re going for a ride! And your use of that word… SH!T… it’s only going to increase. (I laughed my head off because I always tell people there are three tools you need to be able to deal with adoption; Tylenol, caffeine, and profanity, not necessarily in that order.)
Unwittingly, you and your husband have just made a decision that will turn your two boys into unbelievable and outstanding men (perhaps sooner than you intended). They will empathize with a little sister who will need to come to deal with feelings of abandonment and self-worth. (In fact, I would recommend the excellent book, Beneath the Mask, by Debbie Riley as a starting point to help your daughter-to-be.) Your sons will teach your daughter, stick up for her, and carry her along with them. They will abhor well-meaning statements from others that make their sister feel uneasy, about how lucky she is to have someone rescue her, about how great her family is to give her a home (as if she wasn’t worth it, as if she isn’t just as much a part of the family as they are). Metaphorically, those boys of yours will carry that little girl on their shoulders and they will place her on a pedestal. And the higher they try to lift her, the taller they will grow. In years to come, your sons will amaze you. And so will your daughter when you witness where she comes from, what she rises above, and what she becomes. You will also come to see that those things that make your family different are the same things that will make it awesome.
Again, congratulations, congratulations, congratulations.
Your new friend, John
Be sure to come back and check in on our “conversation” next week where he talks about the process of adopting, the first days with your child, Russia’s recent decision to ban U.S citizens from adopting from Russia and both his books.