Okay, so we knew Domestic Adoption through the Foster Care System was exactly what God was calling us to do. We blew through the paperwork and trainings like it was our j.o.b. I wrote this post about the details of our process, which anyone considering this route may find helpful. (I do find it funny that we took a photo with ONE pair of shoes…)
When we were in the thick of waiting by the phone for government agencies to come do inspections, the process seemed to drag on. But in all honesty our process was quick. Nine months of paperwork and inspections. No growing belly, but about the same amount of waiting.
We had just spent the summer taking seminary classes for ongoing job training with Cru and we were loading up our car to head back to Columbia. It’d been a very quiet summer on the adoption front. Paperwork was submitted, inspections had been passed. We were just waiting to be approved…so we could officially be waiting for a match. We were fed up with waiting. Waiting on inspectors. Waiting for phone calls (that never came). Waiting. Waiting. Waiting to be waiting. It had been a challenging summer preceded by an all-around sucky season. So, we had a party the entire 6.5 hour drive home. A pity party. (I’ll spare you sob story.)
After we both had a good ugly cry, we resolved to call DSS first thing Monday morning and give them a piece of our *hopefully Spirit-led* minds. We’d been patient long enough and it was time to get this ball rolling.
So, Monday came and I placed a polite call to our social worker, left a message and then finally got a call back. She said something to the effect of, “Oh! Did they not call you? On Thursday (the day before the pity party mind you) you were officially approved.” I was ecstatic. We were approved! I was so excited that I nearly missed her saying, “Oh and not only were you approved, but you were also matched with a child. We’ve never had that happen before. You were matched. I think with one child…but maybe two…here’s a number. Give this social worker a call and she can give you the details.”
I did a serious praise dance around my kitchen and then sunk to my knees in tears. Sheer excitement and thrill. I didn’t know whether to call Joel at work or to wait till he got home. All I could do was pace around my house and clean my stove. (Strange coping mechanism, but hey.) It was as if the pain and the waiting of the past few years just broke like a dam in my heart and poured out.
It felt like forever as I waited for Joel to come back from work, but the minute he walked in the door and said, “Babes?” I started breathlessly screaming, “They called! They called! Call this number!!” He excitedly grabbed me into a big bear hug and said, “What are you saying? Huh?” He knew it had something to do with adoption, but was so confused. But, so was I! It was a moment of confused excitement.
I gave him the number so we could find out together whether our match sounded like a potential match made in Heaven.
Was it a boy? A girl? Two of each? One of each? Age? Race? Circumstances?
Again, we left a message and waited (4 long painful hours!?! Insert more pacing, sobbing, scrubbing of the oven…)
Finally, the child worker called us back with news of a bubbly 2-year old little girl with brown eyes, brown hair and olive skin who loves dolls, Dora and dressing up like a princess, and a 5-year-old little boy with brown eyes, blond-ish brown hair who loves trucks, trains and Diego.
We couldn’t have been more overwhelmed, excited, thrown for a loop because we were thinking baby bitsies, same gender, under the age of 3 and these two are about to have birthdays making Sister 3 and Brother 6?!?
We were hesitant, scared, but thrilled.
I’m partly re-posting from my original recap of this story, but hindsight has added so much to the initial shock and awe. Hindsight has shown us that we almost missed the greatest blessing of our earthly lives because fear almost conquered faith. (Nothing will get Joel Hurdle crying like this…)
You see our sweet boy, D was really struggling. He had lots of labels and diagnosis. Most of which were a helpful dose of reality, but were really scary to us. All of which shattered our subconscious image of a “designer child” as Russell Moore writes about in his book, Adopted for Life. We thought we’d worked through the issues and had resolved to take WHOMEVER God gave us, but this was our opportunity to say “YES” to the hard stuff. “YES” to the unknown challenges. “YES” to something too big to handle in our own strength. It was up to us. We could say “no.” There would be no judgement if we said no. They were calling to simply ask us if we wanted to say “yes” or “no”. Ugh. We actually had to say the words and choose for ourselves to step out in faith or cower in fear. Praise God that, “Greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world!”
We hung up the phone with DSS and picked it right back up to call our friend who is a child psychiatrist and would know how to get more info on these children. I was oozing with questions and apprehensions. She fielded my emotion, asked clarifying questions and then she grew very quiet.
She said, “Well, I am kind of in a hard place and don’t know what to say.” I responded quickly by saying, “Oh, it’s okay, you don’t have to tell me about them if you don’t want to or if you aren’t allowed to.”
She replied, “No, that’s not really it.”
“It’s just that, well, he is sitting here on my lap right now and has been living in respite care, here in my home, for the past 2 weeks while his foster family has been on a cruise.”
My jaw dropped open and Joel’s eyes were wide. It sounded like this was going to be God’s story unfolding…God had provided a godly clinical psychiatrist whom we whole-heartedly trusted to observe and care for one of these sweet child for 2 weeks prior to us knowing anything!
She told us of her love for this little boy. She let us hear sweet little “-isms” and stories from their days together. She told us of the incredibly godly and therapeutic foster home that they were living in right now. And she answered the questions that we had and beautifully reassured us that we had to hear from the Lord–and not her–on whether these were to be our children.
A major provision for these children was the foster family from which they came. (I’ve never linked to their site because of confidentiality, but truly because I’ve been afraid of exposing the sadness of my kid’s story. However, the sadder the story, the more God gets the glory. I can’t wait to tell my kids the glory that is woven into their story. PLEASE pray that one day soon they would have eyes of faith to see the goodness of God in the land of the living!)
These children came into care of the state and were bounced around from place to place until an amazing Jesus-loving family took a step of faith, left their comfort zone and got certified to foster. They took these two children into their home against all human reasoning and have worked with and fought for them day and night for the past year. The trajectory of these children’s lives has been forever changed by this family.
The next few days were a blur as we learned more details, asked more questions, tried not to burst when we were around friends or on the phone with family, etc. We just didn’t know yet if these two were to be ours. We just HAD to get to Thursday, the 19th at 3:45 when we would meet with the child social worker to hear her presentation about these children, go over all their paperwork and find out absolutely everything there was to know about these two and the biological family from which they came.
Our prayer this whole time (recommended by another godly wise adoptive mommy), was simply to hear no one’s voice but God’s and to have the freedom to fall head over heels in love…or the freedom not to!
Thursday came and we left the DSS office “ultrasound picture” (okay, really 3 trees worth of background paperwork and 2 photos of the kids that I can’t seem put my fingers on right now but if I do I will post because they are hilarious…) in hand.
Joel was pretty much convinced. I was pretty much in the fetal position… Have you ever thought HONESTLY thought about what YOU would look like on paper?!? Not to mention if you were coming through “the system”? So much brokenness. So much for God to redeem.
No lie, since then we have been seeing rainbows everywhere…it’s crazy.
Like on the playground on their first “overnight visit” Sheesh. GOD KEEPS HIS PROMISES! So many fingerprints of God’s faithfulness!!
In the middle of dinner with our neighbors, I got to speak with my friend, the child psychiatrist, again. All our excitement levels were climbing and we arranged to meet Brother that next day to see if God would confirm him to be our son?!?
We got home, were able to finally share with our families, read over the paperwork DSS sent us home with and crashed into bed with Joel saying, “Why would we NOT adopt these precious children?”
But, when I woke up Friday morning I couldn’t stop crying, as I had each morning that week…this time they were not emotional, grateful, scared, passionate “thank you Jesus” tears. They were sad, devastated, disappointing tears. Reality was catching up to me.
No more just me + hubs. No more me running back and forth to Greek Village on the whim of girls who wanted to meet. No more mornings lazily spent with the Lord. No more solo runs. Death to self, etc… But it didn’t stop at me…it quickly moved to these children.
Their brokenness broke my heart.
Their story should NEVER be. All is not right in the world when children have been dealt this many blows. Utter fallenness. And I know this is just a slice of the fallenness of Earth.
So, I sat on my front porch in my pajamas and had yet another good ugly cry…
BUT GOD provided the exact words I needed to hear from the exact person I needed to hear them from…Robin, our amazing child psychiatrist said, “I am going to say 2 sentences that I won’t say again, because I don’t want you to feel pressured by me, but for these children to be in ‘the system’ and to be brother and sister, so young, so unscathed, so adorable, so loving, so protected, and for them to have me as a resource, the foster family that has re-habbed them for the past year, someone amazing is going to get them. It does NOT have to be you because we won’t let these children go to anyone less than wonderful, but from what I can tell, this is the best case scenario.”
And it was done!
They were mine.
God spoke through His mouthpiece of a dear friend directly to my heart. I moved from anguish to joy.
I immediately started getting DM tweets from the foster mom, we became insta-friends, she started texting me photos and I started walking in circles around my house again, stopping only to interrupt Joel mowing the lawn to get us both choked up by showing him the newest text pic of our beautiful little ones!
We would meet our sweet son that afternoon!!! And our daughter the next day!!!
More to come as the relaunch of our blog continues.