Archive for October 2013

Friday, October 25, 2013

Is There Really a Need in the U.S.? (Adoption Fears & Falsehoods Series)

When you're considering something as huge as adoption, there's bound to be some fears and questions that come up. In the first post in this series, I talked about the falsehood that says, "We could never afford to adopt!" Today, I want to focus on another falsehood that almost kept us from pursuing domestic adoption.  It's this:

The thinking goes kind of like this: "There's millions of kids languishing in orphanages all across the globe with no hope of a family. In the U.S. all I ever hear about adoption is the big waiting list and the years and years and years it takes to bring home a child. Surely there is not really a need for domestic adoption."

This much is true: there is a tremendous need for international adoption. According to Unicef's research, there are over 13 million orphans (children who have lost both parents) in the world. The need is astonishing...that's largely why Josh and I originally planned to adopt internationally. When we began considering adoption, we were very skeptical that a need really existed here in the U.S.  But over time we've learned that the great need to adopt internationally doesn't mean there's not a great need to adopt domestically.  

What about those big waiting lists?  Yes, there are some agencies with very large waiting lists. However, this does NOT mean that all agencies/adoption lawyers are overflowing with waiting adoptive families.  In fact, there are many agencies around the U.S. who need more adoptive families.  Many agencies have expectant mothers coming to them, and yet these agencies don't have enough waiting adoptive families willing to be presented to the pregnant mothers' specific situations. What "specific situations" am I referring to?

Justin Taylor re-posted this quote from The Atlantic: 
"[Y]ou want an infant? No problem: less than a month after we adopted our first child, our agency called us asking if we knew anyone at all with a completed home study. They had a healthy baby boy in a hospital and nobody willing to adopt him. (Agency rules didn’t allow us to take him before our first was completed) For our second, the agency tried for days to contact us around Christmas since we were the only people on the list who were willing to take him.
Why was it so hard to place them? Simple: the adoption market is built around healthy white infants. If you’re willing to remove even *one* of those conditions, the waiting list is short to non-existent."

Consider these stories and facts:
  • One adoption lawyer we spoke with said, "We're just lucky if we have one or two interested families to show some of these pregnant women." 
  • Just last week I heard an agency send out word, saying, "We are in desperate need of adoptive families!  So many expectant moms and not enough adoptive families!"
  • One adoption professional Josh and I spoke with last year said that he had a good number of waiting adoptive families, but only a couple of those were open to adopting non-white children.
  • The National Counsel for Adoption states that approximately 22,000 infants are adopted each year domestically...and that's JUST infants.
Yes, there is a need for adoption here. Still not convinced?  You have only to look to the Foster Care system to let all the questions about "need" in the U.S. fall by the wayside.
  • The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute states that 400,540 children here are in foster care.
  • AdoptUSKids in its excellent breakdown of state-specific information says 19,431 children are in foster care in Illinois right now; 3,347 of these children are waiting for adoptive families (the rest are still in reunification processes w/their birth families). These children are very much in need of a family!

There is most certainly a need in the U.S. for adoption. If you've held back from pursuing domestic adoption because you're not convinced that there is actually a need here, please take to heart these statistics and stories.  Don't let this specific falsehood hold you back from missing the gift of adoption!

(Note: I'm not trying to say that anyone that tries can adopt an infant in less than a month. Timing is different for each family. I chose to include that story as an illustration that there is, indeed, a need in the U.S. for adoption.)

(If you have any further questions about domestic adoption, please contact me at katief@christianadoptionconsultants.com.)

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Monday, October 21, 2013

We Could Never Afford To Adopt (Adoption Fears & Falsehoods Series)

We had many questions and fears when we began considering adoption. We thank God that those obstacles didn't keep us from the gift of our sweet little boy! But those fears and questions matter-they shouldn't be ignored.  That's why I'm excited to share this series about "Adoption Fears and Falsehoods." Over the next couple weeks, I want to take a closer look at some of the main thoughts that can prevent us from actually pursuing adoption.

Money. I had to start with this one because, hands down, it's the most consistent thing I hear from families who desire to adopt but haven't pursued it:

This is pretty understandable.  Adoption is so expensive!  If you've had the idea that you'd like to adopt but feel like there's no possible way you could afford it, you're not alone.  In fact, the majority of adoptive couples have thought that very same thing. Josh and I definitely wondered how we would afford adoption before we started our journey to Titus.

I could tell you all about tons of grants available, interest free adoption loans, adoption fundraisers and other ways to fund adoption. (We received about $13,500 in adoption grants and another $10,000 through an organization where people send tax deductible gifts, thousands more in gifts from friends and family, and thousands more through our own fundraising and savings.) But if your main holdup in adopting is believing that you could never afford it, there's probably something bigger going on than just your financial situation. The heart of this fear/falsehood isn't mainly financial in nature: I think this is often an issue of priorities and faith.
We spend money on what we prioritize.  It's a rare thing for me to hear someone say, "I always wanted to buy a house but I could just never afford one." Or, "I always wanted to go to college, but I could never afford to go." Or, "I wish we could go on vacation but we could never afford to." Or, "I wish I could buy a car but I'll never be able to afford it." These things are expensive, but we don't let that keep us from them.  We find a way to do what matters to us.  We plan, we save, we take out loans, we work an extra job, we ask people for help, we trim our budget, we do whatever we have to do to find a way to fund what we care about. Why would we let fear of how the money will come in keep us from something way more valuable than a house or a car?  Why would we let it keep us from forever changing the life of a child?
I think the answer lies mostly in our view of God and ourselves. We look at the financial expense of adoption and think of it solely in terms of what WE can accomplish. But if you're a Christian then you have a God who owns everything-including all the money in the world. ("The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the Lord of hosts." Haggai 2:8) It all belongs to Him and He is in charge of it. You have a Father who loves His children. You have a Creator who gave everything that you might be adopted into His family! ("See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are." 1 John 3:1) He loves adoption and He loves to provide for adoption! He will make a way to fund what He calls you to.
We began our homestudy with only a little over a thousand dollars saved.  We stand in awe at God's faithfulness to provide for our own family's adoption! I'm not saying you should jump right in and start the process with not a dime to your name or that God's gonna drop thousands of dollars in your lap the second you move forward. How and when the money comes in differs from family to family but it does come.

If the Lord is stirring your heart to consider adopting, don't stay paralyzed by your fears about finances. Don't let the falsehood that you could never afford adoption keep you from missing one of the most amazing gifts on the planet!  And if you hear someone say, "I'd love to adopt but we could never afford it," please don't just agree. Let's stop looking at what WE can do and starting thinking about what God can do!

(For more information about domestic adoption, please email me at katief@christianadoptionconsultants.com .)

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Things That Hold Us Back From Adopting

Last week, I shared about some of the amazing things we would have missed if God hadn't moved us past our fears and questions about adoption.  In short, we would have missed this little boy:

I know that God's been stirring some of you to consider what you might be missing as well.  I'd love to talk a bit more about some specific fears can hold us back from adoption.  In the next several posts, I'll cover some of the most common hindrances we can get stuck on.  Things like:

- What if I don't really love/connect with a child I didn't give birth to?
-  Birth parents freak me out.
-  Adoption takes forever-aren't there huge waiting lists to adopt in the U.S.?
-  We're too old to adopt.
-  We're not settled enough to adopt.
-  What about pursuing pregnancy first?
-  Our family's too big to adopt.
-  We could never in a million years afford it.
-  I'm scared the child would one day resent me.
-  Are we really equipped to care for a child of a different race?

Are there any other specific fears/hindrances you've heard someone mention or that you'd like me to talk about?  If so, shoot me a comment!  

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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

What We Would Have Missed

It's been over a year now since our beautiful baby boy was born. He has definitely changed our lives for the better. (Go ahead, you can say it-he is so stinkin' adorable!!!!)  If you catch me on any given day, I'm likely to gush about how amazing my son is and how much we love him.  But there's something else that echoes around in my brain and heart about adoption that won't be silent, something that haunts me when I dwell on it for too long; we could have missed this.  We could have missed being this incredible little guy's parents.


There was a time when we thought about adoption and dreamed about it but that was as far as it went.  Every day of everyone's life is busy and adoption was just on the backburner as a "someday" in our minds.  Then, questions of "How will we ever afford this" or "What if the child grows up and struggles with their identity" (don't we all?!) or "What if it all falls through" or "What if we don't feel connected" accompanied our discussions and muddied our thoughts.  Again, we didn't do anything about it.  This is what haunts me: if we had spun our wheels for years and years around those questions or just kept rolling with the busyness of life, we would have never have become Titus' parents.
We would have never sat in a small hospital room in Florida three hours after this baby was born, holding him and whispering to him and singing to him, letting him know he was not alone.

We would never gotten to gaze into these deep dark eyes, loving so fiercely a little person who doesn't share our genetics.

Three big kids would never have experienced what it's like to make him laugh or to help him learn to walk or to care about his birthmom that they've never met or to have their hearts burst with love each time he flashes his handsome smile at them.
We would have never gotten to watch him squeal with delight every time his daddy enters the room or heard him cry with sorrow each time his daddy heads to work.
We would never have gained the awe and compassion we have now for women who make the courageous and selfless decision to give life to a child they won't raise.

We would never have heard his hilarious giggle or watched him delight in being pushed in a swing or watched him hide his sippy cups in the cupboard.  We would have missed it.  All of it.
Every day we are thankful for our little boy.  Every day we are thankful that God moved us from a place of just thinking about adoption to actually becoming this kid's parents.  Still, it haunts me that we could have missed it all.  And it haunts me that you might miss something equally amazing by letting your busyness or your fears or your questions keep you from the gift of adoption.  Please don't miss this.  

If God's been stirring something in your heart about adoption or foster care, don't just sit on it.  Do something.  Take a step.  Talk to someone who can help you think through your hesitations (Josh and I would absolutely love to talk with you about our journey to Titus and how God used Christian Adoption Consultants to help us.).  You will never regret sharing God's heart for children who need parents.  You will never regret all that you would have missed.

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