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'Family is a Choice': The Richardson Family

Editor's note - November is Adoption Month

Richardson Family“He wanted 12 children, I wanted four. So instead of compromising, we ended up adding those numbers together”

With 16 adopted children, you could say the Richardsons have a full house – full of laughter, love and healing. Jaime and her husband have been married 18 years, and Jaime always knew she wanted to adopt. “He wanted 12 children, I wanted four. So instead of compromising, we ended up adding those numbers together,” Jaime said. Their adoption journey began while living in New York when a friend introduced them to fostering. As they fostered, they started to adopt the children that could no longer be reunified. Before they made the move to Indiana, they had adopted nine children. However, they knew they had more love to spare.

After moving to Indiana, they continued to take all the necessary classes and trainings so that they could continue to expand their family. That’s when Avram entered their lives. At first, they declined to take another child as they were in the process of adopting children from Ukraine. Eventually, they were approached once again about adopting Avram, and later, a little girl named Cordelia, and they decided the two children would fit seamlessly into their lives. As they went through the individual adoption processes, they didn’t encounter the same hurdles as when they did international adoptions.

The Richardsons decided to adopt both children virtually, since both Avram and Cordelia have autism. They didn’t want to overwhelm the children with an in-person celebration at the courthouse. Instead, they celebrated amongst their family. But that isn’t the only celebration. The Richardsons make sure all their children have an annual celebration on their adoption day anniversary. Jaime described the celebrations by saying, “They get to do all the things that they would like to do on that day.”

Richardsons King IslandBoth Avram and Cordelia entered the Richardson family with their own unique personalities. Their first adoptee from Indiana’s waiting children, Avram immediately loved the big family life that the Richardsons offered. “Avram is very funny,” Jaime remarked. Avram has autism and several other medical conditions. He loves to tell stories, and since he’s nonverbal, he uses sign language to communicate his humorous stories to his family. His brothers have similar needs, and they love to hang out with each other. Cordelia, on the other hand, wasn’t used to a large family, so the Richardsons provided a space for her to be alone but have the freedom to venture out into common living spaces whenever she craved socialization. After adopting Avram, Indiana’s waiting children approached the Richardsons about adopting Cordelia. Cordelia, like Avram, has autism and other medical issues. Both have nurses to assist them at school and at home. Since being adopted, Cordelia’s made great strides in therapy and coming out of her shell.

“To me, family is a choice. And it’s choosing daily to love each other and be committed to each other.”

The Richardsons consider themselves blessed beyond all measure to be able to have the family they have. However, they recognize that adoption comes with some loss and heartache for children. While they gain a family, they also have a past that needs to be acknowledged and supported. The Richardsons make sure that their childrens’ pasts are always honored – whether that means writing a letter that never gets sent or keeping in contact with their birth family. Jaime always makes sure that her children feel emotionally supported and have the freedom to express all their feelings. When asked about what family means to her, Jaime stated, “To me, family is a choice. And it’s choosing daily to love each other and be committed to each other.” We couldn’t agree more, and we’re always thankful for families who to love and commit to each other.

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