“Ms Whitney, Ms Whitney, do you wanna play Barbies?!” “Girls, Ms Whitney is here to talk to you about adoption, remember. You can play Barbies with her later, but now she needs to ask you a few questions.”
Yesterday I walked into a familiar sitting room in Central Uganda, leaned back on a comfortable couch and cuddled up with few of my favorite girls. You see, my relationship with the Via girls began over 2 years ago when I timidly knocked on the front door of their North Carolina home and began interviewing a very special family.
If you haven’t been following the Via’s family to #BringHomeToChloe, then you can (and should) click here, here and here. Go ahead, come back when you’re done, I’ll be here waiting with the rest of the story :)
The Vias have five daughters. When we met they had four, three living in the states with them, birthed from Kelly’s body, and one living in a babies home half way around the world. Since our meeting in February of 2013 they have moved to Uganda to live with Chloe (hence the hashtag: Bring Home To Chloe) until she can legally come to the states and welcomed a new little one into the world this past January.
We’ve gone from strangers who documented their move around the world to friends who witnessed their family uniting as one behind our lenses and now to life long friends (sorry Smooth and Kelly, you can’t shake us!). Through this friendship progression, one of the things I’ve cherished the most is their wonderful children. They are gentle and wise, fierce and sassy. They care for each other deeply and never, for a stinkin’ second, missed a beat welcoming Chloe in to their sisterhood bond.
A part of our storytelling is sharing follow ups with families so that you can be encouraged by their stepping out in faith through adoption. Whether the road is rocky or like dancing on white, fluffy clouds, we want to share it with you. So after our 1 year follow up that you can see here, we wanted to share a few words from the Via girls about adoption and their views on family.
Our interview is as follows :)
Me: Hey guys, can I ask you a few questions?
Karis: Okay. (if you could hear Karis’s little voice you’d probably melt.)
Chloe: I’m not gonna be good. (said shyly looking for affirmation).
Me: I bet you will, you know why? Because you’re so smart. You ready? Okay. Do you know what a mom is?
Chloe: Someone who takes care of us. I like it when she paints my nails and does my hair. I like coloring with her.
Me: How does it make your feel when you see children without a mommy or a daddy?
Chloe: Sad. Because they can’t take care of themselves all by themselves.
Me: Do you know what adoption is?
Cana: It’s when we don’t have to take Chloe back to the babies home and can take her to America. It’s when you take care of someone and bring them into you family because they don’t have a family.
Chloe: People should take care of those kids. Sisters should take care of those kids too because its really fun to play with them and paint their nails.
Me: Do you know what a daddy is?
Chloe: He’s really fun. He brings us treats. We go out on date days and, and get ice cream and I go out with daddy for lunch. And I get to get my nails painted.
Karis: Everyone should have a mommy and a daddy….And a God. A real God, not a fake God. (#stuffkidssay haha)
Me: What’s your favorite thing about having 4 sisters?
Chloe: I get to play with them.
Karis: We like to sleep in the same bed.
Me: Karis, is there a difference between your Ugandan sister and your biological sister?
Karis: Yeah, one is black and has black skin and the others have skin from my mommy.
Me: But is there any difference in the fact that they’re all your sisters?
Me: Cana how old are you?
Me: What’s your favorite thing about having an adopted sister?
Cana: My favorite thing is thinking about the experiences she’ll have when we take her home.
Me: Do you remember coming over here to meet her?
Cana: I was really excited. We drove to the babies home. I didn’t know what was happening and neither did Chloe and she started crying. But she really warmed up and everyone said that they had never seen her show her personality to anyone. So there is the result of caring for kids who don’t have moms and dads.
Me: What has it been like living in Uganda?
Cana: It’s been really fun. In fact I don’t think I really want to move back.
Chloe: I do. There’s snow!
Me: Cana, what would you say to the mommies and daddies out there thinking about adopting?
Cana: I would encourage them to do so. Because as Chloe was, she wouldn’t even talk to anyone at the babies home. She was so upset at the babies home. We really changed her life when we adopted her. So I would really encourage others to do so because they could change a child’s life.
Chloe: I once was an orphan but I’m not anymore. I’m so happy I have a mommy and a daddy…
Well, there you have it folks, words from the mouth of babes. Babes directly affected by adoption, living in the reality of their family changing through welcoming in a child that wasn’t birthed by ‘mama’.
We ended our time together by playing hair salon (my favorite game because they play with my hair!), and had a fun photo session jumping on the bed :)