Let the Journey Begin!
When you have a big project or specific journey ahead, there is always the preparation period, and then you finally do something that makes you think, Okay, I’m really doing this—we’re in this now, & there’s no turning back. That’s what this past weekend was for Blake & me. We drove out to Abilene for our two-day adoption orientation, the mandatory meeting that kind of tells you what this journey could possibly look like. It was two days full of meeting different people of the agency, learning about some of the risk & legal issues involved, asking questions, and hearing personal perspectives from a few adopted children who have grown up, birth moms who have had to give their babies up, and adoptive families who have taken those babies home. It was an emotional weekend, to say the least. (Good thing I don’t cry, right? Because I didn’t. That’s not to say I won’t cry about it down the road…at the completely wrong moment…because that’s what I do.)
Everything from Christian Homes’ dedication to taking care of adoptive parents during the process, caring for birth mothers, and being a support system for the baby for life is pretty awesome. They are an open adoption agency, and I’m not going to pretend that fact didn’t concern me. However, after hearing the reasons behind it and hearing perspectives from birth mothers, adoptees, and adoptive parents, it definitely seems like the optimal avenue if feasible. Jealousy is woven into my life so well. My first thought when thinking of an open adoption was that I would feel like a constant competitor with my child’s birth mom. I can’t deny the feeling still exists to a degree, and it’s very possible I may need to manage it from time to time in the future. This past weekend taught me something I had not even considered before, though—depending on the situation, I may be given the chance to be a light to this young woman for years to come. This baby she birthed and I adopt as my own will connect us in a way that is incredibly unique. Of course, this adoption is all about the baby—that is absolute. His or her needs come far above mine and those of the birth mom, too. Wouldn’t that be special, though? This woman I would otherwise never meet could be joined to my heart forever because I am seeking after this baby today.
We met two birth moms from the agency yesterday. One was this precious 19 year old who looked like a well cared for college freshman. She gave birth to a son who is five days older than Collins. She talks with her son’s adoptive parents often and visits her son once a month. She is back in school, and the agency continues supporting her.
The other mom we met was a woman in her thirties who has given each of her three children up for adoption. I was so pleased to sit across from her at lunch so I could hear more of her story. You guys…her story ripped my heart. She has been through so much. She was physically abused from the age of four (that’s the age of a pre-school baby), and while the physical abuse stopped a few years ago, the verbal abuse continues from family members who can still reach her. She has tattoos on her to cover where she used to cut herself to make herself not look pretty so they wouldn’t want her. She also has her three children’s names tattooed on her because she said every decision she makes to get her life on track is all for them. She gave them up for a better life, and they are still her world. Christian Homes continues to rally around her and help her in whatever way they can, and she’ll be the first one to tell you that. And she will tell you LOUDLY—because that’s how she rolls.
So, Blake & I have completed the orientation—now what? They used to send you home with a giant binder full of paperwork thanks to seven oak trees giving their lives. Now they try to be more subtle (and eco-friendly) by sending you home with a cute little zip drive that fits right in your pocket. We will not be fooled, though—we’ve heard what awaits us. But that’s okay—we’re fighting for a kid, here. After we complete the paperwork, we will complete the home study. This is also the time we (and by we, I mean I) will complete the letter to our future birth mother and photo album of our family. Both of these will be presented to birth moms who like our profile. The approximate wait time from the point of completing our home study to being chosen by a birth mom is 12-18 months.
Something unique about our process is I don’t just see one baby—I see two. I’m not quite sure what this means. Maybe twins? Siblings? Maybe we’ll adopt two separate times? Sometimes I want to doubt it all—but then I remember the Holy Spirit and how He speaks directly to our hearts.
“When we are at our wits’ end for an answer, then the Holy Spirit can give us an answer. But how can He give us an answer when we are still well supplied with all sorts of answers of our own?”
So I am doing my best not to fill my head with what I think our answer is. This is a journey of prayer, so that is what we will do.
The word adoption has rolled off my tongue quite a bit over the past few months, but it was really this weekend when I was reminded what true adoption even means. Adoption means to create a relationship with someone by choice. Adoption means to seek after and fight for someone’s life because you long to care for that life and love that life more than your own. Adoption means a new life is grafted in your heart to live for all eternity. Jesus shows us true adoption—He is the leader who shows us how this whole thing works. He fights for us. He pursues us. He chooses us—every one of us. Even after we choose Him back, He still fights for us ever day of our lives—because we are His. We are His children always. That never changes. Parenting is such a crystal image of God’s love for us. Adoption? Adoption shows us, on a small scale, just how hard He fights for us so He can call us His own.
And no, I don’t think every person is necessarily called to adopt. Adopting won’t make Jesus like me more and like you less. I do believe we are all called to care for orphans, though, in some capacity. This could mean investing in an adoption agency, working with birth moms during or after maternity, raising funds to help families adopt, and so much more. I would never want someone to read this and feel guilty for not adopting. That’s definitely not the point.
God created you so He could fight for you so He could adopt you so He could have a relationship with you and show you His purpose for your life that will bring glory to His name. Do you see yourself in this? If you put your focus on your relationship with Him, the Holy Spirit will intervene on your heart and show you what those plans look like. It’s not the other way around for Him. Do His potential plans for your life seems scary right now?…like maybe you don’t want to pursue them? It’s because they’re in the future. You don’t think the thought of possibly adopting twin infants while already caring for Collins doesn’t sometimes scare me? It totally does. But I’m not there yet. I’m here, and my focus is on Jesus. The thought of being responsible for one baby used to have my stomach in all kinds of knots, but I’m here now, and you know what? I’m so full of joy. And when the time comes for our adoption to take place, God will be there. While that doesn’t mean every step will be easy, it absolutely means He will be there to comfort me, shepherd me, and keep me somewhat sane.
We would be incredibly thankful for your encouragement and prayers during this adoption journey. Here are some specific prayers on our hearts at this time:
–We would be able to complete the paperwork (pretty much the only part of this process we have any control over) in a timely manner
–We will have patience during the wait
–Once we are picked, we won’t be faced with the loss of the birth mom changing her mind after we’ve met the baby (It’s not common, but it happens.)
–For birth moms—for their health, that they would be supported by family & friends, and for their courage
–For adopted babies—for their health and life ahead
–For the other adoptive parents out there—for their patience and for their journey. We are so excited to expand our family, but I’m reminded to be so thankful for Collins. So many families who choose adoption are unable to have a biological child and are counting down the days to starting a family.
Let the journey begin!