With this caption–> “Adoption Training Day 1! Wish us luck!”
So on top of everything else we have going on what with HAVING A BABY and all, we’ve made the decision as a family to start our adoption process earlier than we had originally intended.
Adoption has always been on our radar and an ultimate plan for our family. I think on like our second date I planted the “oh hey I hope you’re cool with adoption if this works out” seed. Thankfully, Bryan was super on board. On top of wanting to adopt in the first place, I’ve always had a heart for a certain type: taking in older kids and sibling groups. The ones who usually struggle the most. the ones who are hardest to get adopted and will likely age out of the foster care system with no forever family.
This is something Bryan was also on board with. However, I always prayed that Bryan would not just “be on board,” but that this would be his thing too. I mean, there is that whole “spiritual leader of our household” factor. I knew that this was the case when I came home from work one day (pre-pregnancy) and he had submitted our general inquiry and filled out some basic paperwork to get us started. Out of the blue. Yeah, God seems to have known what he was doing with us.
We did a lot of praying, talking, and driving other adopted families nuts with questions about birth order effect, what our timing should look like, and if we should adopt after or before our first biological child. Our answer was a lot of silence.
This is pretty common with me actually. God usually doesn’t speak to me in sweet whispers and precious moments like He does with some of my peers. I never “feel led” necessarily. What I do feel is an indescribable urgency and conviction to run full speed ahead at a goal or mission until God slams that door closed and (usually much later than I’d like) gives me a peace about standing still for a minute. Bryan loves this about me. You can ask him and he’ll tell you how adorable it is when my anal-retentive, logical mind turns into irrational mush when I “feel led.”
So in this silence, we “decided” (<–lol) to just wait it out until we felt like we weren’t supposed to wait anymore.
Flash-forward to pregnancy, where we were still just, you know, waiting and stuff, when I felt that familiar conviction and urgency.
I was scrolling through Facebook at work one day, and a photo listing for Project Zero rolled through my feed. If you’re not familiar with this awesome non-profit, then please click that link. They serve to bring awareness of waiting children, usually OLDER KIDS AND SIBLING GROUPS, to families in Arkansas. This was nothing new, I saw their stuff all the time. The smiling, heartbreaking faces of kids who desired deeply to be loved forever always move me. Always. But I always say to myself that we are waiting. Until this day, when a photo of two brothers popped up. They were different. They were important to me somehow. I took a screenshot of them and “jokingly” (<–not really) sent it to Bryan with the text “I want them.”
Bryan, the one of us who is rational in these situations and NEVER takes off running without carefully considering where he is going, replies “Let’s do it.”
Our next steps involved a whirlwind of emails and calls to Christie (the co-founder of Project Zero), the boys’ adoption specialist, DHS, and the directors of The CALL in NWA.
Our next few months involved an initial home visit with our DCFS caseworker (Who we LOVE!), lots more emails and phone calls, filling out every form in the history of the world, becoming CPR certified, and most recently, the completion of 30 hours of training. Hence the photo and caption above. (Just to put things in perspective, this is about 85% of the process. We only have 2 steps left to complete.)
It also involved us learning a powerful lesson: Not everyone will be supportive of us and what we’re doing.
My first reaction to the comments that we received from our shocked friends and acquaintances was anger.
Why do they care anyway? This isn’t their family.
How could she say that to someone she doesn’t even know very well?
What gives him the right to have an opinion about what we do?
Do they really believe that we are so naive to think that this will be a cake-walk?
I realized that this came from a place of hurt. As a person who too-deeply merits validation from others, I needed positive reinforcement that we were doing the right thing. It was hard not to get indignant and want to point all of them to the multitude of Bible verses commanding us as Christians to care for the least of these. How could they not see the need, and much worse, discourage us from looking at it too?
We stopped talking about it. We didn’t tell people unless they asked, and we certainly didn’t broadcast it on any social media.
I was tired of crossing names off the list of people we could depend on when the going was sure to get tough.
The best part of training to me was that no one seemed to think we were crazy. No one batted an eye to the fact that I am 7+ months pregnant and working toward opening our home for concurrent-planning foster care. As we introduced ourselves, we made a joke about how we were apparently crazy to be doing this, and to our delight, no one seemed to get the joke.
It validated us that we were following God’s lead here. The amount of encouragement and strengthening we received in those 30 hours is priceless. And having a ridiculously sore butt after 30 hours of sitting is worth it.
We might not get those boys I saw, and I’m finally ok with that. But for whatever reason, God used them to strike that ever-familiar fire under my feet and get me, and Bryan, running. I hope we can provide a forever home for them. We already love them so much. Whatever the case, I pray continually that God will give me a peace about whatever direction His opening and closing of doors leads us.