Archive for March 2012

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Waiting for Lightning

(For background to this post, read Part 1 and Part 2 of our "switch from international to domestic" story.)


Josh and I had lots of conversations back then that went a lot like this:
Me: "So...are you thinking we should do domestic?"
Josh: "Well, I'm not sure."
Me: "Me either.  What would have to happen for us to be completely sure?"  
Josh: "Good question.  I don't exactly know but I think we should keep praying and talking with other people about it.  The Lord will lead us."
(Photo taken by the lovely Misha Seger)
I'd like to say I left those conversations with an angelic peace and confidence that God would direct our paths. But in reality, what I really felt was frustrated with the process, confused, and antsy for God to just send us a lightning bolt message from heaven saying "ADOPT FROM _______."

So we waited.  We prayed.  We talked with family and friends and got lots of advice and counsel and prayer.  We waited some more.  I got more antsy (read: impatient and discontent!).  At some point, I emailed my friend, Christy, about my confusion.  I specifically asked her "Why in the world would God give us such a heart for transracial adoption and then bring us to this point where Africa isn't an option for us?  That just doesn't make sense."  She reminded me (compassionately) that God's ways are much higher than ours and it's normal not to understand His ways.  Then she just threw out the question, "Why not adopt two African American kids?"  Well...good question.  Why not?

I started learning more about adoption here in the U.S. and was shocked to find out how huge the need for minority adoption is. The majority of couples that seek to adopt are white and the majority of those couples want a baby that looks just like them.  But there's a vast number of minority children in need of adoption and not as many couples willing to adopt trans-racially.  (Note: I am not saying that it's wrong to adopt a white child.  Every single child deserves a family and God calls each family to different things.  If no one adopted white children, that would be awful!  This post is just about what He's called our family to.)  

My heart went out to these birthmoms, courageously choosing life for their babies yet sometimes having very few adoptive parents willing to adopt their child.  Each day, I found myself more and more excited about the idea of adopting domestically. I was ready to run full speed ahead.
Josh wasn't quite in the same place I was, though...at least not yet.  After more months filled with more talking, praying, and waiting on the Lord, we both finally agreed that it seemed like God was leading us to adopt domestically.  There had not been a lightning bolt, but it did seem that His still small voice was leading us in that direction.  So, we stepped out in faith and signed in September with Christian Adoption Consultants.  We would not have anticipated that our story would have taken this turn, but we're so glad that it has!

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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Adoption Hierarchy Craziness

(To read part one of how we entered the domestic adoption world, click here.)

As Lord Grantham says on Downton Abbey, "We all have chapters we would rather keep unpublished."  This is a part of our adoption story that I'd rather just forget about.  I've debated sharing it but it's a part of how God brought us to this point.  Plus, I've grown increasingly dissatisfied with anything less than authenticity.  (Facades are a really huge waste of time and I want people to know the real me, not a dressed up version of who I really am.)
(image courtesy of habituallychic.blogspot.com, a blog I have never read)

So, the honest truth? I have been completely resistent to the idea of adopting domestically for many years.  Josh did try to bring it up a couple of times, but when he did, I firmly (and probably rudely) said, "NO."  I told him that I couldn't handle the risk of a birthmom possibly changing her mind; that seemed unthinkable to me.

Then, out of the blue last summer, we suddenly found ourselves in a position where we couldn't escape thinking hard about adopting from the U.S.. We were approached about a pregnant woman in our area that was considering adoption.  If a family wasn't found for this baby, the child would likely be placed in foster care.  Everything changed for us.  There was a real woman with a real baby that was in real need of a family.  Was I willing to surrender my idea of what I thought adoption would look like for us?  Was I willing to risk the possibility of the mom changing her mind?  Those were agonizing questions to ask.  Suddenly, adoption became much less "what do I want to do" and much more "what is God calling our specific family to do"?  
Not long after we learned of that local situation, the family decided to parent their child.  But my heart began to change.  The risk of a birthmom changing her mind had (in a very small way) already happened to us and I lived through it.  But I was still really resistent to giving up the dream of adopting from Africa.  Why?

I couldn't have articulated this at the time, but I was walking around with this false notion of a hierarchy in adoption.  It went something like this: children living in orphanages are the ones who need a family.  Adopting internationally is more important than adopting domestically. Everyone wants babies here in the U.S. and the waiting list is huge so that's not really a need; toddler or older or special needs international adoption is really more needed than any other adoption situation. 

God does NOT view people that way.  The truth is that every single person is made in God's image and so every single person has value and dignity before Him.  Every single child that comes into this world deserves to have a family.  Before God, every soul is equally in need of love and salvation and hope, whether they live in Africa or in America.  There is no hierarchy in God's economy when it comes to orphans, or to anyone for that matter.  When Jesus walked the earth, His love reached out to all kinds of people with all kinds of stories.  As someone loved by God, I'm called by Him to love others, and not just the orphans in third world countries but everyone everywhere.  

Repenting about my thinking was a huge turning point for me.  Still, there had been no lightening bolt vision from heaven, showing us where to adopt. And I was really hoping for one...

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Friday, March 16, 2012

What About Africa?

"I thought you were adopting from Africa."  Yep.  So did we.  But here's the thing about adoption (and life in general)-it's unpredictable.  Even when you think you know what's going to happen, you don't.  There have been many many times when I was absolutely confident beyond a shadow of a doubt about something and then that something did not happen.  Surprisingly enough, God's plans are often way different than mine.


For instance, back when I was in high school, I was absolutely certain that one day I'd adopt from China. That certainty continued through college and as I started graduate school, planning to head to China to work in an orphanage.  I read books about the orphan crisis there and I wrote research papers about it.  I was certain that one day I would go there and help orphans.  Fast forward to the day that Josh and I began talking more seriously about when to adopt-it seemed pretty clear to us that God was leading us to adopt from Rwanda and not from China.  (We didn't meet all of China's requirements.)  Fast forward a couple of months; the country of Rwanda closed its doors to international adoption.  (Pretty clear that God doesn't want us to adopt from there right now.)  Fast forward a couple months later; we thought that Ethiopia was the place where our children were.  We learned about Ethiopia and dreamed about going there to add to our family.  Fast forward a couple more months and my thyroid continued (and continues) to be an issue.  It became pretty clear that travelling twice to a third world country to adopt wasn't in the best interest of our family given my health.  We went from China to Rwanda to Ethiopia and were left completely unsure of where God was actually calling us to adopt.

So when I hear, "I thought you were adopting from Africa" I can't help but shake my head.  That's what we thought, too. But God had other plans.

***This is the long version of why we switched from international to domestic adoption.  I'm planning to chop it up into several posts.

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