Terry Jacobsen was adopted at age 5. Today, he and his wife, Robin, are the parents of seven children, three of whom are adopted.
“The story that we always want people to understand is that we had several adoptions that fell through and they were heartbreaking,” said Terry, of rural Lawrence. “Had those adoptions gone through, we would not have these children, and these children are our children.”
Having attempted to adopt in both the international and domestic arenas, the Jacobsens welcomed home their first adopted child in 2002. Jeremy, 7, was followed six months later by Emily, 6. Tony, 4, was introduced to his new family in 2005. All three were born in the United States.
The Jacobsens’ other children are ages 12 to 21.
The family is participating in an Adoptive Family Potluck and Play Day, which gives adopted children a chance to meet each other. The event is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. today at the Lawrence Free Methodist Church, 3001 Lawrence Ave.
“I think it’s really important to get the kids together because they develop a sense of community,” said Cherri Walrod, an event organizer who is also an adoptive mother. “Sometimes the challenges that face adoptive families are a little bit more stressful or unique than just a regular biological family.”
The Jacobsens’ four biological children say each new brother and sister has provided a unique touch on the family.
“Jeremy is really, really athletic,” said Travis Jacobsen, 18. “I was the athletic one until him, but he can pretty much do anything.”
Emily was a welcome addition for Katrina, who feared she might be the only girl in a very large household.
“I cheered, ‘A girl, I am not the only one!’” said Katrina, 14. “We have slumber parties a lot and she enjoys sleeping in my room.”
Robin, the mother, said it’s the family’s belief that a child is the best gift anyone can get.
“Our skin color is a little different, but we tell them they were born in our hearts instead of mommy’s tummy,” said Robin. “Other than that, there really are not any differences really. They are my children and they are meant to be ours from the beginning I believe.”
National Adoption Day is Nov. 21.