–Originally written July 2014–
It all started with a deep love within each of us for children. We knew we wanted to have kids, and we started to talk about adoption early on. It’s such a beautiful picture of Christ’s love for us. When our third son was born, we fully agreed that we were finished having kids and decided that IF we ever wanted a girl, we would just adopt. We both knew that was something beyond our budget, but not beyond our hearts. Off and on over the years, we (mostly I) explored various adoption avenues, but we were always faced with the undeniable conclusion that we could not afford it. What a sad conclusion for people who are willing, but that’s just the way it is.
In January of 2014, our interest and research began again after a beautiful sanctity of human life Sunday that highlighted the amazing story of my dear friend, Ann Janel’s life. (http://annjanel.com/?p=1388 http://www.bbcbolivar.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/1.19.14_sanctity_of_life.mp3) The testimony shared reminded me once again of her adoption through a local “Children’s Home”. Hmm…. What is this place? Does it still exist? Do they still provide adoption opportunities? As I began investigating online, I was shocked to find information about “state-custody adoption” and the repeated statement that such adoption involves “little to no cost to families”. I never knew there WAS a route like this. It seemed too good to be true (and it is in a way), but after sharing the information with Jeremy and investigating further, we decided to attend an informational meeting to find out more. In February, we talked to our children once again about their feelings on adoption and our desire to add to our family in this way if the Lord saw fit. They responded beautifully, and through questions and curiosity, agreed that our family could be expanded if this was God’s will. We proceeded with our secret mission to learn more.
The meeting brought more questions than answers, and the weeks that followed involved more research, phone conversations with a representative from this state-contracted agency, and prayer. Lots and lots of prayer. My “plan” was rocked. My “ideal” was shattered. The “too good to be true” was revealed, as the truth sank in that most state-custody adoptions take place through foster families. I knew about fostering. I have friends who have served in this way, but they are stronger than me. I did not sign up to have my heart, my husband’s heart, or my kids’ hearts shredded. I kind of knew that there is more to adoption than just redemption, but I had never faced it in quite this way. I had read the posts and insights of my adoptive friends, and I suddenly started to “get” a little of what they were saying. Besides the beauty, there is another painful side to adoption. There is loss – GREAT loss for both parents and children. There is hurt. The words of the gentleman who conducted our informational meeting continued to ring in my head, “It’s really not about us at all. It’s not about what kind of child or situation WE want. It’s a question of what child needs us.” I’m sure that’s not an accurate quote, but that’s the gist of it. Whatever his words really were, he challenged my selfishness – my desire for a “pretty” adoption – my desire for my desire. To me, the idea of adoption was much more ideal than fostering. For Jeremy, adoption was not yet something he was ready to commit to, but fostering did not scare him. We were on different paths with the same destination. We did not sign up for the training that began in the spring because we were still searching – still trying to figure out if this was something to pursue or if it was yet another closed door. The problem was, no matter how much this opportunity contradicted MY intentions, I could not really say the door was closed. If Jeremy was opposed, that would be a sort of closing of the door, but in spite of my fear, I really didn’t want that. I don’t know what I wanted at that point. I guess I just wanted to know what God was doing. (I’m still wanting that, but He somehow just keeps me leaning. Leaning towards Him – trying to figure it out. I suppose that is by design.) Sporadically, over the next several weeks, we discussed the things we had learned. We talked through the logistics of the situation, and we prayed. There are some very clear thoughts the Lord brought to my mind through various sermons and lessons from His Word during this time. I recall distinct phrases in my mind: I thought you were willing. Why WOULDN’T you? Whatever you have done for the least of these, you’ve done for Me. When my pastor talked about understanding God’s will for our lives and how sometimes, “God’s will for us is just OBVIOUS because it’s clearly stated in His word,” my heart was IMMEDIATELY prompted to recall care for widows and orphans in their distress. Why WOULDN’T I?? This wasn’t Pastor’s purpose, nor his thought at all, but it was just ONE example of the ways the Lord pricked my heart.
When June rolled around, the agency rep called to see if we were interested in the 10-week training session starting in July. My first thought was I am! I wonder if Jeremy is. I approached him to let him know of the call and laughed out loud when his first response was: Tuesdays work great!
We are now trying to prepare our minds and hearts for the unknown. We are trying to help our well-sheltered kids understand (in vague terms) the circumstances that may bring children to NEED to stay with us. We are trying to prepare for the ministry that may lie ahead for us. We are trying to agree that “the goal is always reunification” with the birth parents. We are talking, praying, planning, wondering, and watching to see what unfolds before us. It is POSSIBLE this may be a path to adoption. It is POSSIBLE we may have to love a child only to lose him or her. It is POSSIBLE this will be the hardest thing we’ve ever done in our lives, but it is POSSIBLE this is God’s will for us, and so, we say Yes, Lord. We don’t know exactly what this means, but we’re trying to be content with what we DO know: class begins in two weeks, and our God is good….ALL the time.