When we began our paperwork to adopt domestically last October…..I had a friend tell me to “hold on for the ride…it’s a roller coaster”.
Another friend told me “adoption is pain”.
Turns out….they were both right.
We just had our 4th birthmom look at our profile. And she too selected another family.
In my head……
Yes, I know God’s will be done.
Yes, I know the perfect child is out there for us.
Yes, I know God’s timing is perfect.
But in my heart, it still hurts.
Every time a birth mom’s “wants” line up with our “wants”…..our adoption coordinator calls us with the adoption specifics. Like the due date. Whether or not the father is known. Whether or not the mother has used drugs or alcohol. Is the birthmom wanting a closed or open adoption? Those sort of details. We then have to give her a yes or a no as to whether we want our profile shown to that particular birth mom.
And so each time, although you KNOW in your knower not to get your hopes up….it’s almost like being late on your menstrual cycle. You start thinking. Start looking at a ca lander. Start weighing in your heart the “what if s”.
So when the call comes that another family was selected, you can’t help but be thrilled for them. And you can’t help but be sad for you. It’s the way it works. All 4 of our birthmoms have selected families with no children.
So many people have asked questions about why we were adopting when we already have 3 wonderful, healthy, beautiful children. One woman told me it has to be “God thing” because the majority of parents with biological children don’t consider adoption. And she is probably right.
My husband and I first ordered an adoption packet to look at international adoption almost 8 years ago after the birth of my 2nd son. We started to think that in order to have a baby girl one day….we may have to adopt.
We were so discouraged at the cost…. anywhere from $25k-$40k….depending on the country you adopted from and that was years ago.
So the idea of adoption took a back burner to our checkbook.
After our second miscarriage, we got our baby girl almost 4 years ago. We still talked of adopting at different times. But we talked about it like we talked about wanting to take a trip somewhere. We were open to it, we would love to do it, but we didn’t take the necessary steps to plan for it, save for it and actually follow thru with it. We were being talkers and not doers.
Until last October. Every fall, our neighborhood has a community garage sale. Ava Grace was getting ready to turn 3 years old and I was a few months away from turning 40. So, we sold all of Ava’s baby things except the crib that my momma had bought for her. We assumed we were done having kids. We had gotten our girl.
One month later, God asked us to start adoption paperwork.
Isn’t that how God works really? You think you know what “the plan” is. You think you have your life mapped out. You think you have some control. Then He unzips your heart, scrambles it up, zips you back up and you are left wondering what just happened here? And yet you KNOW……this is what I am supposed to do.
We have been asked “how did you know it was God?”
There were MANY things that happened. Everywhere we went we were running into “adoption stories”. “Adoptive families”. My kids were asking for a baby sister.
I was open to another child, but my hubby was content with our family. So I had begun to pray several times over the years…..if God wanted us to adopt that He would need to convince my husband of it and change his heart to the idea of more kiddos. I was game….. (or so I thought).
In our dining room, I have had 4 picture frames on the wall for almost the entire 8 years we have lived here. Each of my kiddos has a picture in a frame and I have always left the 4th frame open for a 4th child in case we ever adopted.
After a vacation to Disneyworld last fall, I filled the empty picture frame with a picture of my 3 kiddos and instantly felt guilty. It was like giving up on something God had put in my heart years ago. It felt like I was telling God no. It was subtle….but I felt it.
(see the picture of my 3 kids….that frame sat empty for years and years)
Then, we had a women’s conference at our church the first week in November last fall. Our guest speaker was Nancy Alcorn, founder of Mercy Ministries. Mercy Ministries takes in women off of the street and gives them a place to live, a place to heal and a place to get hope. Sometimes those women are pregnant.
At about the same time that conference was happening, my brother and his wife were getting ready to have their first baby.
So, after just selling all of our baby stuff, I was having baby fever. I mentioned that on Facebook. A friend from church mentioned that Mercy Ministries does adoptions. And from there, the wheels started turning.
Our family attended church that Sunday morning and I casually mentioned to my husband that our guest speaker’s organization does adoptions. And he said….”well, we better look into it”. I about passed out. Not that God had changed his heart…..but now wondering oh man. If now he was on board, did I have the guts?
After much talk and prayer between my husband and I, we sent for paperwork the next day. We just decided to “take the next step” and see what God did.
We got our “adoption packet” in late November. We were warned that it takes some families a year to fill it all out. They also told us some families never return the packet because it is so overwhelming and so intrusive.
I wasn’t scared. I have, in the past….. fed one child breakfast while nursing another child and applying makeup at the same time. I am a multitasker!!!! How hard could paperwork be?
So, the “packet” didn’t scare me. Until I got it.
Then I freaked out. We had over 40 forms to fill out.
I gave myself’ ’til the middle of February when we were vacationing in Cancun to finish it. I wanted to sit on the beach and know the paperwork was behind us. I am woman…..or so I thought.
Seriously……I can’t even adequately explain to you the paperwork process.
They want everything from a physical for every person in your home (not covered by insurance by the way) to immunization records for your animals (which thankfully we don’t own). They needed blood work. We had to write letters to the birth mother, write autobiographies, get copies of birth certificates and driver’s licenses and insurance cards.
We had about 15 articles on adoption we had to read. We had to get an official will. We needed letters of references from 4 friends, 4 family members and our pastor.
We had to get FBI fingerprints. Which we found out is only able to be done at 2 locations near us. And the window with which we could get it done in was a 2 hour window one day a week. And it takes sometimes up to 12 weeks to get fingerprint results back? WHAT???????? They just don’t make this EASY.
Then since the adoption agency we were signing with was out of state, we had to select a home study agency here in KC.
And since we were filling out so much information with the Kansas City agency….we decided to get on their waiting list as well.And with that, it happened again. We had to fill out a “packet” with that agency also. More papers, more papers, more papers. Alot of which weren’t the same as the other agency.
We had to have a licensed home study person to our home for interviews with us, interviews with our kids, extensive questioning on our upbringing, our families, our intentions. She had to completely go thru our home looking for cleanliness, order, visible electric problems, etc.
We had to discuss our faith. Our marriage. Our trials. Our fears. Ug.
We had to make a scrapbook for both agencies. And they are d.e.t.a.i.l.e.d. One of our agencies needed a picture of EVERY room in our home, plus pictures of the inside and outside of our house, pictures of just my hubby and I, pictures of our whole family, pictures of family vacations, pictures of holidays.
I am even a scrapbooker…..and it was exhausting rounding up the pictures. Who has a picture of the back of their house just “on hand” …..with the toys actually picked up and the trim all looking freshly painted and the swingset looking “inviting enough” for a birthmom to imagine her child playing on?
And did our pictures look “Christian” enough? Did we look “fun enough”? Did it look like we were open to a non-caucasian child? Did it look like we were clean freaks?
Eventually, I just began to put “real pictures” in the scrapbook….with captions like “this is what our living room REALLY looks like on an average day”. You just have to make the scrapbook and hope it strikes a cord somehow with some mom.
“Are you willing to adopt a baby who…..
13) has a mild physical disability?
15) whose mother has a learning disability?
27) whose mother smoked during pregnancy?
37) whose father is unknown?
44) who is the result of a rape?
57) whose mother used cocaine during pregnancy?
75) whose mother or father suffer from depression?
94) who is part American Indian?
106) whose race is unknown?
115) whose birthdad is bipolar?
And on and on. And it hurt.
It hurt to say no to some “scenarios”.
It hurt to say yes to some.
It was scary to wonder what we may be opening ourselves up to both spiritually and physically.
It hurt to ponder why we were ok with some “scenarios” and not ok with others.
It hurt to know there are “hard to place” babies out there…..babies born under unfathomable circumstances and we were saying no to many of them.
It was raw emotionally.
And so….our Cancun trip came and went….and the paperwork was soooooooo stinkin’ close to being done. But not quite.
We sent off our official adoption packet on my husband’s 39th birthday in March.
Little Miss Efficient here missed her deadline by a month.
And then the wait began. Not the wait for a baby…..but the wait for our approval from each agency. They ain’t messing around people…..they make sure you are serious about this adoption stuff.
Hear my heart when I say I’m not telling you our story to whine or to make you think we are doing anything special. Because we aren’t. I do think it’s good to talk about things. And to be transparent.
And even tho’ we have been disappointed, we are committed to whatever journey God has for us. And at the end of the journey…there may or may not be a baby. The lesson could be in the journey.
Stay tuned for part II…..
And please keep praying….