After several years of the yo-yo effect of infertility, we began to investigate the option of adoption. Adoption seemed like an awesome idea “once we had kids of our own” but we never thought of starting our family that way. When that seemed to be our best/only option, we really wrestled with God (and with each other).
We wrestled with the questions that sound too awful to say out loud. Could we really love someone else’s child? One that wouldn’t replicate our DNA…look like us or be like us? Could we ignore the awkward stares if our family ended up looking like a drawer of mismatched socks? Could we graciously educate or tolerate the “is he yours” and “where did you get him from” questions in the grocery store line? Could we stand up to the racism and blood-line idolatry of the South with Gospel love?
Bottom line: Could we, with God’s strength, face our fears and could we die to vanity?
International adoption seemed to be the obvious choice. It was a real child with a real need. We could help. We could rescue. We began attending webinars and calling in for conference calls with tons of agencies. Surprisingly, this quickly became a discouraging process. Who knew there were so many rules and regulations restricting who can adopt when and from where? Obviously, not just anyone should be able to adopt a child, but when there are 147 million orphans, you’d think the process would be less cumbersome. When we realized that a precious baby from China wouldn’t even be an option until we were both 30…that Ethiopia’s government was in a state of shambles and couldn’t assure prospective parents of bringing a child home in under 3 years, and adopting from Russia would be quick, but costly…we again felt like we’d come to a closed door. But it stung. All those barriers He could overcome! At the blink of an eye He could clear the way…international adoption is such a beautiful calling that God gives families…why was He not calling us to this?
Next up, domestic infant adoption. What could be easier? Show up at the hospital, take home your little angel and live happily ever after. Right. Minus the wait time, as everyone wants an infant…minus the grueling selection process…minus the financial obligation (don’t get me wrong, we love fundraising!)…minus birth family dynamics…same song, second verse. Closed door. And it stung again this time with a layer of anger and frustration. We wanted to go to that interest meeting, see the bright light and walk out knowing THIS was what we were supposed to do…all those barriers yet, at the blink of an eye, He could clear the way…domestic infant adoption is such a beautiful calling that God gives families…why was He not calling us to this?
Every time we would talk about adoption options we would ALWAYS say, “Well, one thing we know, we will never adopt through the State because those kids are too old, they have too much baggage and shoot, we’ve never even been parents before! How could we start out with one that has such complex needs? Someone else would surely parent that type of child better than us.”
When all other doors were shut and no students were calling offering us their unborn babies, (we banked on that happening for a good long while and actually had several scenarios that were mentioned to us but ended up falling through) we knew we had to at least go to an informational meeting for foster care adoption through the State of South Carolina.
So, without mentioning it to anyone, we trekked over to get fingerprints done, background checks run, etc. and we showed up at the Department of Social Services. Us and the grandmother who wore her sunglasses the entire time (it was 7 pm in October) and the Ronald McDonald look-alike who kept raising his hand asking if you had a felony if you’d be able to adopt children; meanwhile playing on his Ipad asking if you got food stamps for “these kids”.
Joel and I kept shooting each other our classic, “where’s the hidden camera” look. The night started out feeling like a total waste, that is, until the presenter opened her mouth. She powerfully walked us through the story-line of a child and a prospective parent and how their stories intersect and eventually lead to the culmination of a finalized adoption.
It was a powerful presentation, but it paled in comparison to the powerful work the Holy Spirit was doing in both our hearts as we sat in that room. There were no angels singing, but there was complete confidence. Neither of us could keep from getting choked up. We left that meeting room knowing beyond the shadow of a doubt what we were to do…His perfect love and His perfect plan cast out all the fear we had felt! Funny how the two options we thought would be no-brainers became the ones we couldn’t surmount and the heck-no-we-won’t-go option became the bright blinking light saying “This is the way; walk in it!” (Isaiah 30:21)
Oh the process of life. Don’t we just want to rush to the finish line? I know we would have liked to passed “Go” and collected our $200, but God does His finest work in the pain of the process. Thanks for walking alongside me/us as I recount it all!