Too Expensive, too Hard…or Just Don’t Want To?

Deep breath.

Exhale.

I have to write this blog right now because something I just read on facebook is making my blood boil but I try to make a habit of not saying controversial things on social media because it just seems useless and my sister didn’t answer her phone so I couldn’t vent on her about it so here I am!!

Exhale.

Ok.

So the ironic thing is that the facebook thing started out really positive.  It was an article about pro-life, which I reposted by the way, and in a nutshell basically said if you’re not the kind of person who is willing to celebrate the lives of mothers and children in needy, chaotic, messy places then maybe you’re not as pro-life as you think you are.

Read it here

The part that made my blood boil was reading through the comments on the post.  Inevitably the topic turned to adoption since the article briefly mentioned it and the comments were concluding that certainly adoption would be a lovely choice if only it weren’t so hard and so expensive!  Apparently, the government makes it “nearly impossible” for people to adopt.  One woman said that she would love to adopt “a few children” if only it weren’t so expensive and difficult.

So…

I have something to say.

  1. ADOPTION IS NOT TOO EXPENSIVE!

International and domestic adoptions are expensive, this is true.  In common language this means that if you want to adopt a healthy infant directly at birth from his or her birth mother OR you want to adopt a child from another country you will have costs that range from $10 000 to $50 000.

My husband and I adopted our two daughters during the last year and half.

We are a young couple – aged 25 and 26, who also got married very young with very few pennies to our name.

I stay at home every day as a stay-at-home mom, school volunteer, housekeeper, etc.  Nobody pays me to do any of the things I do.  I don’t get paid to wash clothes, dishes or bed sheets.  I don’t get paid to buy groceries…in fact, it’s the opposite!  I don’t get paid to feed my family, write this blog, pick up toys or organize dusty closets.  In short, I am useless financially!

My husband is awesome, but he’s just a normal guy.  He holds down a 5 days a week landscaping job with no benefits.  In the winter time he runs his own snow removal business in our little town.  He works hard to pay for the food on our table, clothes on our backs and monthly bills.

We don’t have a huge house, a fancy car or money built up in our savings accounts for our retirement.

We are average Canadians…

and we adopted.

The truth is, adoption is only very expensive if you have decided you will only adopt a healthy infant or if you’ve decided you would like to adopt internationally.

Adoption here, through the public welfare system in Canada, is not expensive at all.

In fact, there are financial benefits we are receiving for our two adopted daughters that will make raising them less expensive than the baby I’m carrying who is to arrive next month!

Don’t kid yourself.

If you’re using the excuse that you can’t adopt because you think it is too expensive you are just looking for an excuse.  There are over 30 000 children here in Canada whom you could adopt for next to nothing and receive financial assistance for any special needs they may have.

You will not pay a dime for your home study, paperwork, or even lawyers in an adoption through public social services.  If you need to do some travelling while meeting and transitioning your child, you will be at least partially reimbursed for that cost.  If you adopt a sibling group, a child with special needs or an older child there are numerous government financial benefits you can apply for to help cover the costs you may have for specialized therapy, counselling, equipment, etc.

The sad thing is that these benefits are in place primarily to motivate people to consider adopting these children.  Tell me I’m not the only one who feels that is very wrong in the prosperous country we live in!

The real question you need to be asking yourself is why is it so important to me that I adopt a healthy infant or a child from another country?  What is it about children from other countries that is so much more valuable than the children in my own city?  What is it about a healthy infant that is so much more appealing to me than a child with physical or emotional damage through no fault of their own?

Don’t get me wrong.

I am a huge advocate of all three types of adoption!

One is not better than either of the others.

However, if financially you are not in the place to be able to spend $10 000 to $50 000 on an adoption, but say that you would love to adopt…why have you not considered public adoption?

What exactly is the real reason behind your lack of action?

If you read the article about pro-life, continue your train of thought from there.

Are you really pro-life if you are not willing to adopt the child struggling with brain damage due to his mother’s addictions during her pregnancy?  Or should she have aborted after all?

Do you really want to adopt a needy child into your home, or only one that fits certain criteria for a comfortable, safe and happy life?

Digging deeper, do you really believe that all humans are unimaginably valuable in God’s eyes; His created works of art; made in His image?  If so…how will you choose to live out that reality when it comes to this social crisis in our country and our world?

ADOPTION IS NOT TOO EXPENSIVE!

Maybe you just don’t want to do it.

Adoption through the public system in Canada and the US is basically free.

There may be costs down the line, but they are costs you may have to consider with biological children as well.  You may need a bigger house, bigger vehicle and bigger grocery budget.  You may have to give up buying take out and learn to cook.  You may have to drive a mini van instead of the SUV you prefer.  You may not be able to decorate your home as you’d like or keep the yard perfectly manicured.  You or your spouse may have to work less or not at all.

As for the ten, twenty or even fifty thousand dollars you would spend on a private or international adoption…I would say this.

How much did you pay for your last vehicle?

How much do you spend on coffee or lattes in a day, a week, a month…a year?

When is the last time you got a secure loan from the bank…and what was it for?

How much money did you spend on your last phone upgrade?

We are filthily rich in this land of freedom, abundance and prosperity.

Is adoption too expensive?

Maybe that depends how much you think those lives are really worth and what you’re willing to sacrifice.

$10 000?

$20 000?

$50 000?

How high would the price tag be on your child?

So, you say…it may not be too expensive but they sure make it hard!  All those rules and paperwork and scrutiny…

2. ADOPTION IS NOT THAT HARD IF YOU REALLY WANT TO DO IT!

You probably did just as much paperwork to buy your home, do your taxes or write your will as you will do to complete your adoption.  If this is something you really want to do, it really won’t be that hard to sign a few papers and check off a few checklists.

Is there lots of scrutiny into your personal life?  Yes.

Is there lots of questions…some that are uncomfortable?  Yes.

But it’s really not that hard.

I am grateful to have worked with a system that has rules in place to be sure that children are being adopted legally, safely and sensitively into homes that are prepared to meet their needs.  Are there silly rules and procedures that feel like an obstacle course?  Yes, sometimes.  But know that while some things may be obvious to you, they may not be obvious to everyone.  Or maybe you just have something to learn.

The number one goal is not to make life easier for you.  Get over yourself.  The number one goal is to protect the children who are vulnerable in this system, and they are very vulnerable.  I am grateful for that protection.  I am proud to tell my daughters that it took a while to find just the right family for them because their adoption worker knew that not just anyone will do.

I am grateful to have received training, advice and guidance before we jumped into raising children who have had attachment disruptions, brain trauma, emotional insecurity and behavioural challenges.  It is different than raising a child from birth and you’re going to be much better prepared if you are willing to learn some things from someone who has had experience.

I am grateful to have formed an intimate enough relationship with our social worker through all those meetings and phone calls to be able to be honest about the hard stuff, ask questions without feeling bashful and know that somebody has my back through it all.

Without all the paperwork, meetings, training classes and scrutiny…I would not have been ready to parent my children.

If that feels too hard…then you probably haven’t put it all in perspective…or you don’t want to do it as much as you’re telling yourself you do.

No, I’m not going to let you off the hook.

There are children waiting for families all over the world, and if we really tried, we could find homes for all of them.  It’s time to stop making excuses and start being honest.

It’s not too expensive,

It’s not too hard,

If you want to.

That kind of want needs to come pouring out of hearts that have experienced adoption into the family of our Abba Father.

That kind of want flows from hearts that know what redemption, freedom and sacrifice mean.

Hearts that understand grace at the hands of our Jesus.

Hearts that have experienced transformation by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Hearts that in return want to pour out love on others.

I pray for this kind of want.

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Don’t Grow Up So Fast

I am transitioning into a new phase and it’s taking the wind right out of me at times!

My daughters are now 9 and almost 7…and they are growing up so fast.

Last September I was walking my girls down the hill to school every day and watching until the last possible second as they would go inside with their classes.  If I turned my back too quickly my oldest daughter would have a meltdown, crying and screaming at the sight of me walking away.  She was terrified I was leaving her forever.  I will never forget the hard knot in my chest having to walk away as she screamed and cried, trying to run after me down the sidewalk.  It was one the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.  My littlest A didn’t struggle with anxiety over me leaving, but her little soul was still struggling furiously to figure out what had happened to the safe little life she’d loved so well.  We had a long year full of discouraging ups and downs, never being quite sure what was going on inside her little mind.  Daily check ins with an incredible teacher were my lifesaver.  I needed to know what was going on in her world so I could figure out what was going on in her heart.  It tore me apart watching her struggle and feeling like I had no idea what to do!

This September, we are walking triple the distance to a brand new school that all the kids from two old schools in town have moved to.  The old school just down the street is sitting vacant and quiet, and it takes a lot more work for me to wander by my daughters’ school at recess time just to make sure they’re ok.  As if the distance alone isn’t enough to discourage me, the load I’m carrying on my feet these days is substantially more as well!  At 8 months pregnant, walking is getting less and less appealing.

So this August, as the first day of school approached, I was in a pickle.

Last year I spent tons of time at school; volunteering, checking in, bringing whatever it was that had been forgotten.  Barely a day went by when I wasn’t in the school for some reason or another, and it was reassuring to be able to check in on my daughters while I was there, even if they didn’t see me.  With only a bit over a month to go until Baby arrives, I knew that this year was going to look very different than last!  All summer I heard murmurs about bussing schedules and numbers to call to check if your kids were eligible for the bus.  I, however, pushed them aside and firmly stuck to my guns.  We would walk or bike or drive.  I didn’t want to lose that daily connection and I couldn’t quite fathom sending my kids off on the bus every morning and very possibly never walking into the school yard at all for weeks at a time!  On top of that, we weren’t able to find out who my kids’ teachers would be until the first day of school.  I tried to stuff down the worry, but I was concerned.

A week before school started, I got a call from the board of transportation, letting me know my daughters were eligible for bussing and that Bus #534 would be stopping at the bottom of Logan’s Lane every morning at 8:15.

I kept this news to myself, knowing in my gut what both my daughters and my husband would say if I were to bring it up.  Until this point I had not known for sure if we were far enough away to be eligible for transportation.  Now I knew and the picture suddenly seemed pretty clear.

By mid October I would have a newborn, and shortly after that the weather would turn cold.  Snow would bog up the sidewalks and I would be leaving the house twice a day with an infant to pick up the girls in the van.  This would mean lugging a car seat in and out of the house twice a day, leaving the house on time and still only really gaining a peek at the school, not connection with the teachers.

Or…

We could enjoy the nice weather while it lasted, walking and biking, and have a short walk down the hill to the bus stop all winter long while the snow and cold took over.  Baby could stay snug and warm inside as the girls walked up and down the street to the bus twice a day.  No car seat hauling, baby bundling, or interrupted naps…unless I felt up to it.

Sigh.

But oh I fought it.

When I finally admitted to my husband the call I’d received he laughed out loud and said with no room for discussion the girls would indeed be taking the bus all winter and that I had better get them on it ASAP so they know how to use it when Baby comes on the scene!

The girls were thrilled!  They loved the idea of using the bus and immediately wanted to try it out!

So that is how I found myself watching them climb onto that big yellow bus on the second day of school…the first I insisted on walking them!  Big smiles, calling “I love you”, all excitement and confidence.  Since then they’ve gone on the bus a handful of times, though I’ve encouraged that we enjoy this beautiful weather and walk or bike most days.  I need the exercise even if they don’t, and even though they enjoy their independence they do love having me there, too.

Since my ever-growing weed of a 9 year old is a pretty fast biker, I’ve even cut the apron strings and let her go ahead of us all the way to school!  There are two small, quiet streets to cross alone and then one busy one that has a crossing guard.  It nearly made my Mommy heart panic the first time she sailed off out of sight alone, but I also knew in my heart that she was completely capable and I needed to let go!

What amazes me every single day is the huge difference I see from last September, and every day I go away absolutely in awe, praising God for what He’s done for us.  It’s incredible!

Akeisha is thriving on her newfound independence and wants to bike to school alone every day!  Her confidence and enthusiasm makes me so proud.  She is so not my little girl anymore.  In her words, “Mommy, I feel like I’m growing up so fast!”  She truly has grown and matured so much in the last year and the security she feels now has given her wings to soar!  It is beautiful watching her thrive.  I know she is going to love being a big sister to our newest little addition, and I am enjoying watching her grow up even if it tears at my heart some days.  Happiness looks gorgeous on you, my girl!  You have no idea how my breath has caught in my throat these past few weeks as I watch you take on the world with all the confidence and grace you possess.  I will always be cheering you on, and I’m trying hard to keep up to you!  I’ll try to give you the wings you need to fly!

Since Akeisha wants to bike, Alexa sometimes goes on the bus all by herself, which makes her feel about 10 feet tall!  I have to admit I am holding on to her for dear life seeing Akeisha take flight from my little nest!  It’s nice to still have someone who wants me to be there with her, and she readily admits she needs Mommy to be there at the bus stop morning and night.  I love seeing her happy little face beaming at me through the window and waving furiously as the bus pulls away.  Admittedly this is enough to bring a few tears some mornings, which we will definitely blame on pregnancy hormones 🙂  On our walks I revel in those moments when she takes my hand in her little one and squeezes our code: 3 squeezes for “I love you.”  Then I look down and she’s looking up at me with those big blue eyes so innocent and vulnerable and my heart skips a beat.  She is so happy these days, and even though life and especially school will never be bump free for Alexa, I love seeing her so happy.  For 15 min all the way to school and 15 min home she chatters non stop to me and I just keep thinking that too soon it will end.  Too soon she won’t want to hold my hand or squeeze me so tight it hurts.  Too soon the chatter will change and knowledge will take over that sweet innocence she carries.  Maybe when it comes I’ll be ready, but for now I am so in love with my little girl.

Both girls are learning how to help pack their lunches, bike and play out on the street without me there watching and sign out books at the library all by themselves.

The first year of adoption we cling so tight, struggling to learn how to be a family and that we belong to each other.  Now in this second year, I see it is changing so much.  They are so much more settled.  They’re ready to grow a bit.

Life looks pretty bright these days.

We are so excited to meet our baby and become 5.  My nesting instincts have kicked in and I am trying to prepare as much as possible on the limited energy I have.

We are so blessed.

My heart feels full and overflowing with gratitude for the grace God has shown to us this past year.  Only He could have accomplished this.  There is nowhere else I’d rather be than here.  Part of me wishes we could just freeze this moment in time.

My girls laugh when I sing this song to them, but it’s one of my favourites these days.

Don’t Grow Up So Fast

You want it all right now, let’s hurry up and wait
Girl, you’re right on time, trust me, you’re not too late
I hate to see you rain, those mascara tears
But you can drown in the water beyond your yearsJust don’t grow up so fast
You don’t want to know what I know yet
Maybe on paper it looks better way up here
Don’t you hurry, try to take it slow
You will get there before you know it
Ain’t just the bad times, the good times too shall pass
So don’t grow up so fast

The world will turn, shadows fall
There’s your pencil marks in the corner on the kitchen wall
Yeah, to remind us all

Just don’t grow up so fast
You don’t want to know what I know yet
Maybe on paper it looks better way up here
Don’t you hurry, try to take it slow
You will get there before you know it
Ain’t just the bad times, the good times too shall pass
So don’t grow up so fast, ooh

Just don’t grow up so fast
You don’t want to know what I know yet
Maybe on paper it looks better way up here
Don’t you hurry, try to take it slow
We all get there before you know it
Ain’t just the bad times, the good times too shall pass
There’s only so much sand in the hour glass
So don’t grow up so fast, ooh