My views on adoption have usually focused on me: How do I feel?  What do I need to do?  How many more papers do I sign?  How much longer do I have to wait?

Get the picture?

Since bringing our adopted daughter home over seven months ago, I have settled down enough to be able to see adoption through the eyes of my other two girls with their new baby sister. It is precious and eye-opening to realize how much our girls paid attention and learned as we travelled this adoption journey.

My girls can tell you about the adoption process. They have been inquisitive and even offered their opinion sometimes, but my favorite is to watch their minds soak up every new and important lesson they have learned from adoption.

So, what has adoption taught my kids?

1. Adoption brings lots of people to our house.

My girls have learned that since we began the adoption process, there have been a lot more people visiting our house.

We started out having several home visits from adoption professionals. Our girls enjoyed meeting new people and sharing with them our family’s desire to adopt.

Even after our home study was completed, we invited other families into our home many times who were contemplating adoption and needed more information about how to get started. People also came by our house to donate items for fundraisers we were doing.

Our girls saw adoption as a big family.

2. Adoption is not always easy.

Our girls saw that making the decision to adopt was  natural and exciting, but they also saw the stacks of papers covering the kitchen table that had to be completed, the many phone calls, countless fundraisers, and even heartache from not being chosen for several situations. They have heard worries and witnessed tears.

But through every situation, we were given opportunities to talk to our girls about how special the whole process of adoption is, even during our temporary struggles.

3. Adoption can happen at any time.

Our family was matched with a prospective birth mother in November and told her due date was the end of February. So, our girls began to prepare for the arrival of their little sister.

However, on Thanksgiving morning, we received a call that the prospective birth mother had gone into labor three months early. Along with the shock and timing of our daughter’s arrival, we had to explain to our daughters how their sister came early, and Mommy and Daddy would have to travel 1,000 miles away to go be with her.

They saw that we had no control over when their baby sister would be born and that we needed to be flexible when that day came.

4. Adoption takes sacrifice.

There are so many kinds of sacrifice that my girls witnessed while our family journeyed through adoption.

They saw that our family sacrificed our budget or our wants at times to better prepare for the financial costs that adoption would bring. We also sacrificed a lot of time to manage fundraising efforts for this cause.

Sacrifice also came after we received the phone call that our daughter had been born. She was born three months early and was in the NICU, 1,000 miles from our home. So, our family made many sacrifices so that I could be down there with her.

My parents sacrificed many nights with my big girls, taking care of them and making sure they were given extra love while sometimes both my husband and I were gone. My husband sacrificed the comfort of having a partner to help with household chores, schedules and his job while I was gone for two months. My older daughters sacrificed their mom to another baby, because they were taught the love this baby would bring home with her.

They didn’t see sacrifice as easy, but if you asked them now, they would see that it was worth it.

5. Adoption is love.

As a mom of two girls before we adopted, I was worried that, when we brought home our adopted daughter, jealousy and resentment may grow in their hearts as attention would be more divided.

I prayed for their hearts as I sat in the NICU with this tiny baby.  I prayed that they would see the love they could have for this little girl, as well as the love that would be reciprocated. I prayed that having another sister would grow their compassion and make them excited about their growing family.

We were able to bring the girls down to meet their new sister in the NICU. They even saw love as the nurses cared for this baby girl so that they could bring her home soon.

When they returned home, still awaiting the arrival of their sister, they shared with everyone they saw how eager they were and how much they loved someone who wasn’t even home yet. We were able to set that example for them through adoption, and they shared how adoption is love.

I pray that all my daughters will one day tell of all they learn through adoption. Through their eyes, they can change the world of adoption for others to see.

Jill is a 34-year-old wife and mom. She has been married to her husband, Brannon, for 10 years and has three daughters; her newest addition was added to her family through adoption. Jill and her husband were in the adoption process for over 900 days before being matched with a birth mother. When they received the call that their baby girl was born, she was 1,000 miles away and three months early. Now she is thriving and home with her Mom, Dad, and two very excited and loving big sisters. Jill lives in a small community in Kentucky. She has her bachelor’s degree in psychology and Spanish and obtained her master’s degree in Christian Ministries. Jill’s passions are her faith, her family, writing, playing sports and eating good food.