Doug Cameron ’70 and Ginny Shannon Cameron
’71 of Grinnell, Iowa, recall “the struggles, joys, and soulsearching”
they experienced when adopting 10-year-old Kim
through Iowa KidsSake and the Department of Human Services
(DHS). “This was a family decision. Mom and Dad asked us
what we thought and we all agreed to do it,” recalls daughter
Leslee Cameron Cruz ’00 of Eau Claire, Wis.
Doug: I’m an elementary
Ginny is a
librarian. The year
Kim entered our
lives, our three older
children were in college
or would be
within a year.
Adoption was the
farthest thing from
my thoughts when I
served on a team
gaps in learning. She
was a student in my
school who had
been in foster care for four years. One day Ginny asked me if I
knew this little girl who had been looking for books on adoption
in the library.
When Ginny suggested adopting Kim, I was stunned. Each day
I would go to school, look at Kim and think, “That child could
be my daughter.” Then I examined my motivations, asking if I
was doing this just to “save” someone, or because we would
have an empty nest. After prayerful consideration, I decided I
could and should adopt this child. She needed us.
Kim can be impulsive, which sometimes leads to problems and
concerns. However, having Kim has been a beautiful experience.
Every day I look at her in wonder and awe that she is the
way she is—fun, active, outgoing, and respectful of others. She
has ample reason to be otherwise.
Ginny: One of the most important lessons we learned in our
DHS training is that we will never replace the original family.
We accept that Kim has two important families. Also, because
kids can be typecast quickly, I have set my expectations for
Kim a little higher than the caseworkers. She can rise to challenges
and gets good grades. She’s now on a swim team, plays
the piano, and is in dance lessons. In terms of my extended
family, it has many adoptions, including my sister and grandfather.
When I mentioned the idea of adoption to my 90-yearold
mother (now deceased), she said, “DO IT!”