To adopt a newborn baby through relinquishment means that you are chosen by a birth mother who is willingly giving up her baby for adoption. And praise the Lord for this option! I am so thankful for the women out there who have chosen not to abort their children. Though a birth mother may not feel adequate or prepared to raise a child, she is giving some parents an opportunity to build a family. It’s amazing! But it also means that adoptive parents will most likely be covering all of her medical expenses…to the tune of WAY more money than Clint and I have available! International adoption wasn’t something that Clint and I have ever talked about and didn’t feel like the Lord was leading us toward, although I greatly admire the parents that choose this rout as well! It is time consuming, lengthy and expensive but what a need there is! And then there is foster adoption, the rout Clint and I have chosen to take.
At the information meeting we were reaffirmed in our initial decision to foster adopt. It is not only the most affordable for us at this time but also the most commonly done at this particular agency. We would very much like to add to our family through adoption, but we are not interested in being “foster parents” with children in and out of our home. I just don’t think my heart could take that. What we like about this agency is that they make a priority of not placing children until the parental rights of the biological parents are on track to be terminated. It seems like such a lengthy and daunting process, yet even after knowing all that is involved we still feel pulled in this direction. The more we learn about the foster care system the more we want to adopt from it. Every single child in foster care is coming from a bad situation. Every one. Every child will have said goodbyes they didn’t want to, and been removed from an unhealthy environment and at times even taken from that situation straight to a foster home which isn’t much better. When I think of what we have to offer a child I get so excited! We have an instant family! We have love and affection, encouragement and discipline, but most of all we have Jesus Christ! I can’t wait to have the opportunity to raise a child to know and (I hope and pray) to love and serve the Lord, when they may have never been given that opportunity otherwise.
We received the application after the information meeting and it felt SO good to finally have this piece of the process in hand. We spend the 2 hour ride home from the meeting talking through the application. Quickly we realized that we were pretty much in line with what we feel would be a good fit for our family. When we got to the number of children we would be willing to adopt I looked over at Clint and asked “would you ever consider adopting more than one?” We had just seen our friends adopt sisters and though it was a huge adjustment for them, we saw the need there is to adopt siblings from foster care and the benefits of it. He thought for just a second and answered with “yes, I think I would consider that.” We sat silent for a moment as we both digested what had just been spoken out loud. We may be willing to add not one but two more kids to our family of four. Are we crazy?? As I sat and thought about it more I was overwhelmed yet surprisingly not scared. I have been diligently covering this in prayer since we initially began talking about it. So is the Lord preparing us for an addition of 2 more? We’ll see!
Once we were home and able to talk about the lengthy process foster adopting is, we decided to get the ball rolling as quickly as we could. There are so many meetings, classes, visits, etc. that it could take months to complete the whole process BEFORE you even start looking for a child(ren). Looking both at the class schedules for the closest office and Clint’s’ travel schedule we decided that we needed to make the effort to attend Class 1 asap. On Sunday we realized that the next meeting was Thursday and our application had to be overnighted to the office the very next day. Yikes! SO Sunday afternoon, so much quicker than we thought, we sat down at our tiny dining room table in our tiny house and filled out a life changing application. We were asked all the super easy questions about basic information, criminal record, history and such and filled those out quickly. The more challenging questions were tougher to answer.; ethnicity, race, gender, number of children, disabilities we are willing to accept. Clint and I got through it all prayerfully and Monday morning came. The application, photos and deposit check were fitted snugly into an envelope and before I sent it off overnight I snapped a picture. It felt like I needed to document the moment that we officially turned in our application. We were officially on the track of adoption.
We attended Class #1 that week and felt like we were well prepared for what to expect. The couple who hosted the class in their home talked at length about their adoption story in which they had adopted 3 boys all at once! I was blessed to get the perspective of another family with biological children. Having two kids already I want to make sure I am super sensitive to them and their needs, and welcome any advice I can get on making the transition smoother for them. We talked about “adoption language” in the class, which was not something I had ever thought about (terms like “real” children vs “adopted” children, or “real” mother vs “biological” mother), and as I learned more I hoped I had never been guilty of using such insensitive terminology. we also talked about the pros and cons of each type of adoption as well as various possible adoption scenarios. Overall it was informative and encouraging and once again we were affirmed in our decision.
The next step and the latest we have reached was the Intake Interview with the branch director of the agency. After class 1 we left for vacation and two days after coming home, we had our interview! We wanted things to move quickly and the Lord sure was working it out that way. We sat down and really talked about ourselves, our family, our lifestyle and what we desired in the child we would like to add to our family. We would like to keep the birth order of our biological children so we have said we will take a child of either gender under the age of 3 or a brother/sister sibling set if the ages are between 0-3. The truth is finding such young children may take some time. We may have to wait quite a while. We have prayed about it and still feel confident that we always want our first and second born to keep their place in the family. We were given an enormous amount of paperwork and told what classes and meetings we still have to complete before we even begin the home study. We really have only just begun.
So that is where we are right now in June of 2013. We are trying to quickly chisel away at the paperwork, articles, appointments and certifications before our next class on June 22nd. My imagination is running wild considering all the Lord has in store for us over the next months and years. I am excited at the prospect of growing my ministry of motherhood to include a child or children that may otherwise not be raised in a loving, connected and Christ centered home. Ones that we can kiss on and love, ones that can have an older brother AND sister to bug them and defend them, ones who need a mom and dad to love them enough to discipline and direct them, ones who will have a church home and grow up to know that we are here to serve Christ and each other. My heart wants to know the answer to so many questions already, but that isn't how our Savior works. Only He knows who our future child (or children) is and what wounds they may carry before they come to our home, but I trust Him and His timing. So my job right now is to love and minister to my children here at home and to do what is asked of me in order to bring home the rest!