This post is excellent and was a good read for me even in the process myself. Every adoption is different, just like every pregnancy is different. Here are some great ways to support the adoptive families in your life.
In the last two weeks we were alerted to four adoption situations and we presented to all of them. I cannot tell you the fortitude that is required to perform well at a photo session when you get a call 15 minutes before it with the question “Would you consider this situation, we are presenting in the next hour” and then go over a full budget/medical/social with your hubby pulled off on the side of a little beach road with bad cell service. Oh my goodness. Praise God I know beach sessions like the back of my hand.
And not only were these all really great situations, they were all with babies either already born or due in the next two weeks. Which brought to light how unprepared we were for a “stork drop” quick adoption. So I spend my days off gathering baby things just in case we were picked by one of them. My business partner and I came up with contingency plans for what we on the calendar for the next few weeks. Because our chances were pretty good right? Well, who knows really. I have no idea about how many other families were presented. But with adoption you have to be all in when you say yes to a situation. That’s one of the hardest things, to be willing to take this baby home tomorrow and not be crushed when you find out someone else gets that privilege.
So I procured a box of little girl clothes, a box of boy clothes and a box of preemie clothes just in case. We waited and each time the answer came back, “no.” Not you, not this time. And you take a deep breath and there is a moment of reboot, where that particular hope has to be cleared and reset.
Today was a rollercoaster day. We were picked! Our profile went live on June 29th and the very first time our profile was shown we were picked! Wow. I started crying when i got off the phone with our consultant. Is this our baby? Is this the one, Lord?
A little boy due in December.
The next few hours were a whirlwind of emails and phone calls. Then some requests from the birthmother’s side we weren’t prepared for. They needed a decision right that minute. And then it was over.
I am not sure how to process this whole experience. I am a mixture of guilt and dissapointment. Should we have said yes to her requests? There was no time to think. We had to make a decision right then. So we had to go with what we talked about, the place answer we felt was the right one for us right now.
And I’m in the midst of one of the busiest weeks of my year with work. There is no time to process beyond trusting God that there was a reason for all this.
Once we had decided to adopt, we jumped in with both feet. That first weekend we were immersed in paperwork. We had signed on with our wonderful adoption consultant Susan VanSyckle at Christian Adoption Consultants. We were reading through all the info she had provided, as well as working through our homestudy paperwork.
The homestudy process was as intense as everyone warns. I think we filled out a combined 18 hours or so of documents and spent additional time gathering supporting items, getting fingerprinted, medical releases etc. It took two full weekends to get everything done and ready to go. Our visit prep was also very intense, made more so by the fear of not getting everything “just right.” But the actual visit was much less stressful than I had anticipated and our social worker was just wonderful. We did not have to remove our wall sculpture that my husband built and he understood the boxed of items waiting to be sold on Ebay. He did not go through my cleaned out pantry for expired items or spicy food (I had read horror stories online.) And our pool was not going to disqualify us so long as we install the fence we had purchased before finalization.
We had our approval on May 29th 2013. I felt more excited to receive that approval than my college diploma.
When you’re adopting, they call this stage “paper pregnant.” You may not have a belly to rub, but you’ve got that signed document saying you’re expecting a baby. It’s an amazing feeling! And perhaps even more significant is the permission this gave me to really EXPECT a baby, something I had never given myself permission to do through infertility. Permission to begin imagining his or her fingers and toes, and think about what they might be doing *right now*. Are they kicking? Sucking their thumb? Are they about to be born or not even conceived yet? What color would their skin be? Eyes be? What would their little personality be like?
And with the expectation came prayers. Prayers are precious for adoptive mamas. Because we don’t have ultrasounds and stirrings of a baby in our wombs. Instead we have stirring in our hearts that prayers cultivate. And with the danger of sounding trite, all the sayings I’ve seen about how adopted children grow in their parent’s hearts, they are so true. Our baby would not be more real to me if I had a big belly to remind me of his or her presence in our lives. They are here, just not HERE.
As I’ve thought about my previous post, I realized that we sound so passive from 2003-2011. The reality is that those years were full of challenges that sidetracked many hopes we had regarding growing our family. Our marriage grew deeper and closer through the trials. God revealed Himself. The Church surrounded us with support and encouragement. Those years were full of good, God honoring life lessons.
As messy as all that is, it is part of our adoption story for it has so much to do with how much excitement we have as we count the days to meeting our baby. As soon as we formally began perusing this adoption God re-lit a spark of hope that those tumultuous years had beaten out. I wholeheartedly feel adoption is the answer to the questions we asked God over those years: “Why is it taking so long for God to start our family?” The answer is in a general sense adoption, but also this particular adoption. This year, at this moment. We believe that there are no second bests and plan “B’s” with God. He is the sovereign ruler of our lives, who orders each step for His glory in His children’s best interest.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Rom 8:28.
ALL things. So powerful.
So when we finally look into the eyes of the child God brings into our lives, we will be staring straight into the “good” that God has worked for us. The blessing that was not 10 years late but exactly on time.
As I was mulling over putting our adoption story out on the blogosphere, I have been daunted by the first post I’d have to write. Mostly because even though we started our adoption journey officially this year, God has been laying groundwork for our adoption for our whole marriage. Here’s a brief summary:
1999 the I do’s were said and dreams began
2002 this baby thing might not be as easy as we were thinking
2003-2013 refinement, waiting on God, and trusting His plan
2013 adoption…why did we wait so long?
And that question, “Why did we wait so long?” has resonated through me since we began this journey. With God, there is not a second best. There is one beautiful plan that He unfolds at just the right time. And with adoption, for His reasons, He waited until our hearts were absolutely bursting for a child. Have we explored every possible option for having a biological child? No. But over the last year, we began to ponder some new ideas about how God creates families. Families aren’t created merely by flesh and blood, they are created by God’s hand. And the big, scary letting go that takes place when starting adoption is really just snuggling closer to the heart of the Maker of Heaven and Earth. And so, on April 24th 2013, we leaned in to God and said yes to adoption.