1. When did we start thinking about adoption? Well, the funny thing is, we both started thinking about it separately, but around the same time! After Reagan was born and starting to get older, we reached the point where we would 'normally' start thinking about having another baby of our own. And for some reason, I found myself picking up all these adoption books and reading all these blogs on adoption. I was growing fascinated with the whole idea, and the more I read, the more it just kind of grew on me. However, I wasn't at all sure of what Joel would think of the idea. Had the thought of adoption ever even crossed his mind? Well, wouldn't you know....right around that same time, Joel said to me one evening when we were out on a date without the kids "So....has the thought of adoption ever crossed your mind?" Mind-blowing moment for me! My immediate thought was "God is in this!!" We started really talking about it and praying about it both separately and together, and the more time went along, the more we just knew this is what we were supposed to do. We were both really struck with just how Biblical this whole idea of adoption is. Consider these verses:
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27.
He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. Deuteronomy 10:18
I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. John 14:18
...to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Gal. 4:5
Did you catch that last verse especially? WE are adopted. WE have been brought into God's own family through HIM adopting US. We adopt because, well, we're extending the same love and acceptance that God the Father gave to us.
2. Why go through the Foster Care system? Honestly, I didn't even know this was an option when we first starting thinking about adoption. Joel did the research first and found out more about it. I had NO idea that there were so many thousands of children right here in the U.S. in the foster care system who are already 'ready' to be adopted---looking for their 'forever' families. We may end up 'fostering' some in the process until the right child is brought to our home, but our ultimate goal is adoption. We are currently seeking and going through the process to be accepted into the foster care system as a 'foster to adopt' family.
3. Don't you know the risks of adopting a child? Um, yep, believe me, we've thought of all of those risks. The risk of possibly not knowing this child's medical or family background. The risk of having a child who's birth mother is on drugs or alcohol. The risk of getting a child who has disabilities or illness. The FACT that as that child grows older, no matter how happy or well adjusted she/he is in our home, they WILL have questions about their birth parents/family. That is completely natural, and we would be surprised if they didn't----wouldn't each one of us wonder the same things? We accept all of these 'risks'. We are prepared to deal with them. And, quite frankly, saying 'no' to adoption over fear of these risks would mean saying no for selfish reasons.Although we all love to think about the 'happy endings' of adoption stories, the truth is, adoption is first born out of a 'loss'. The child being adopted is suffering the loss of his original parents and family--the biological parents are suffering the loss of their child--be it by their own choice or otherwise. Adoption is a 'better alternative'--better than leaving that child without someone to call 'Mom and Dad', or the chance at a 'forever' family. However, with that said, we HAVE to believe that God can work ALL things together for good---that He can take that child, bring it into our family, and give him/her 'a hope and a future'. While his/her past has been less than ideal, God can turn their future into something beautiful.
4. How are our kids adjusting to the idea? Well, I'm very proud of them so far! They've all been quite open to the idea and even seem excited about it. We pray for our 'adopted baby' almost every morning during devotion time.
5. What has our experience been so far? Well, like I said, we are still VERY early in the process, which could take quite a while. We've completed our initial application and eight reference letters. We've completed our CPR/First Aid class and two LONG Saturdays worth of classes that dealt with all kinds of topics related to adoption/fostering and the whole process involved, both for the adopted child and the adopting parents. These were great classes, and we were quite impressed with the people that we had a chance to meet who work in the system. All of them seem to have a genuine heart for taking care of the children, their biological families, AND the adopting/fostering families.
So........that is where we are currently. Down the road awaits such things as background checks, finger-printing, tons of paper work, and a Home Study. We're SO excited, and trying to just take one thing at a time. I want to whip out that 'to do' check list and wipe it all out in one afternoon----but maybe this whole process is meant to teach me patience as well :)
We covet your prayers as each day we draw closer and closer to this next little member of our family :)
Also, I know that several of you reading my blog have immediate experience with foster care/adoption---either you've been foster/adoptive parents, you ARE an adopted child yourself, or you have an adopted sibling. Please, feel free to leave me any comments----I am still learning about this whole process myself, and I'd be happy to hear any advice/encouragement you have to offer :)