5 Things to Consider Before Adopting

  1. Are we ready?

    Are you and your partner equally willing to pursue adoption?  Often one partner will begin this process more zealous or passionate than the other but it’s important to move past that point before pursuing adoption.  If there’s a gap in your levels of readiness, don’t pressure your partner.  Spend time talking, thinking and praying together and individually about it.  Often doing some research to dispel common myths and fears helps a more hesitant partner gain confidence and direction.

  2. What type of child are we prepared to parent?

    Assess your strengths and weaknesses honestly in light of adoption and decide what type of child you feel you are best prepared to parent.  Is there a certain age group, gender or cultural background you are more drawn to?  Consider expanding your skill set through research, interaction with adoptive families, or volunteering at a school, church, etc.  It’s important to be honest about your capabilities and also be willing to open your heart and mind to new challenges, experiences, etc.  It’s also a good idea to identify what expectations you have surrounding an adoption and recognize they may or may not be accurate.

  3. Consider openness.

    Are you willing to maintain any type of openness in adoption?  Are you willing to be in contact physically or through email or cards with a child’s biological parents, grandparents, siblings, etc?  What about a child’s foster family or school friends?  It’s important to consider this issue and spend some time thinking carefully about how you feel about the people in an adoptive child’s past.  Openness is a big discussion topic in adoption today so you will need to be prepared to address this issue.

  4. Have we developed a good relationship with the professionals who will be facilitating and guiding us through our adoption?

    It’s important to trust the professionals who will be working alongside you in your adoption process.  Make sure you have asked any questions that may be lingering in your mind and taken the time to express your feelings about this change you are considering.  Being honest can be a very vulnerable feeling but it’s important for your social worker to understand who you are as a family and what it is that is driving your decision to adopt.  The more your professionals understand you and your family the better equipped they are to guide you through the process toward adoption.

  5.   What changes are we willing to see happen in our family?

    Inevitable there will be changes if you decide to bring a new child into your family through adoption.  Spend some time thinking about what those changes might be and how you feel about them.  Also spend some time thinking about what changes you are not willing to make.  Identifying the areas where you are flexible and the areas where you are not is helpful in guiding you toward whether or not adoption is right for your family.  It will also help you identify what type of child you are best equipped to parent.  For example, are you willing to buy a bigger home, bigger vehicle or renovate your home to accommodate a child?  Are you willing to change or let go of important traditions in your family?  Are you willing to adopt out of birth order?  Are you willing to have your child share a bedroom?  Are you willing to change your diet to accommodate a child with food sensitivities or medical needs?  Would you be willing to travel overseas?  Are you financially able to adopt in the way you prefer?  All of these questions will prepare your mind and heart for adoption.

Ultimately, remember that God has a way of preparing our hearts and minds for whatever He has in store for us.  Pray for a tender heart that is surrendered to His plans for your family in regards to adoption.  Pray that He will equip you with the wisdom, love and skills that you will need to parent your new child.

And remember…

You are promised only grace enough for one day at a time.

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Life Goes On

And slowly, but irrefutably…

life goes on.

Seasons change,

new little faces come and go through our revolving door,

and we slowly let out the breath we didn’t know we were holding.

Somehow we start doing normal things again and try not to crumble under the weight of them.

Though it’s behind us, mostly, and we’re moving on…

we’ll never quite be the same.

I turn this over and over in my hands and try to figure out how it works.  This holding on and letting go and moving on and embracing it all.

The world feels bigger and I feel smaller.

My heart races more quickly and doubts crowd in overwhelmingly.

I feel like I’ve lost something.

Confidence.

That’s what it is.

I second guess my every move and the instincts I once relied on dance in and out of the shadows, evading my grasp.

One day at a time we try to rebuild what’s collapsed around us.

I say yes, and pray for strength to be able to love another little soul placed in my arms for a week, a few days, or until further notice.

Those little faces that walk through my door start to piece my soul back together.

I remember I am not alone in this broken world.

There are so many others.

I plan and dream and set aside the what if’s that want to destroy it.

I leave my son in capable arms and enjoy the time away with my husband, realizing my shoulders relax from their alert stance.

I find time for His Word to soak into my heart again and I start a Bible Study with a friend, grasping to understand brokenness and hurt and being stuck.

We go back to the hospital.

We come home.

We go back again and there are two more small surgeries.

We come home.

I file the hospital discharge papers and organize my son’s medical records into something recognizable; putting the sheets of paper carefully in chronological order.

My daughter starts a story; propelled by my own love of putting life into words.  She calls it “My Family.”  It is equal parts adoption, foster care and her little brother’s medical journey.  I know she is processing and healing and I look forward to each new addition she chronicles.

 

I start doing other things again.

Parent teacher interviews.

Dinner with friends.

Sleepovers with our god daughter who we have missed so much.

Writing.

I call our social worker and smile down at the envelope of paper work she gives me.  It smells like a brand new notebook and looks like hope in my hands.

We decorate the house for Christmas and celebrate National Adoption Month.

Slowly but surely, the beautiful Truth sets in.

We’re ok.

We’re all ok.

My son has a new sparkle in his eyes, and despite some scars he is beautifully, wonderfully whole.

My daughters keep stepping forward and I see a new confidence and grace in their stride.  I savor the trust and security I see glowing in their eyes.  I had feared so much would be lost but instead I am reassured.  I had no idea they could be so brave and strong.

The little, normal moments of life fill up my heart.

And suddenly I see we’ve come full circle.

Steadfast love has been there all along.

 

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Fearfully & Wonderfully Made

She calls on a Thursday.

He is less than a week old and still in the hospital NICU.

Will we take him?

He has some medical conditions that will take extra effort and pose a small risk to myself and our children.

Still,

I say yes and I can’t stop smiling all day.

I picture the soft baby hair and I can feel his baby skin against my cheek.

We purchase the car seat we’ve been putting off, new bottles, pacifiers and a package of newborn sized diapers.

All weekend I prepare for the probable.

I wake up in the night and think about his tiny body swaddled tight in a blanket; a nurse patting him with firm, reassuring pats to calm him.

I wish I am there;

to hold him,

to watch his every move protectively,

to soothe the withdrawal symptoms that make his little body tremble.

My heart cries for his pain and yet delights in his existence.

I pray for his mom, too.

I picture her leaving the hospital.

Alone.

I remember how tired, tender and overwhelmed I felt as a new mom.  As post birth hormones rushed over me and exhaustion seeped in, I had clung to my baby and my husband.

It is doubtful she has either of these to cling to and I wish I could hold her and tell her that it will be ok.

That I’ll be here to help.

That she can do this.

I pray for wisdom to love her well, no matter what I may think of her choices.

I dig out a notebook, ready and waiting to be a log book for us to pass back and forth so she won’t be out of the loop in his care.

By Tuesday morning I am all set.

My Mama Bear instincts have come rushing in and I am willing to rearrange my day at any cost to make sure I can accompany the social worker to the hospital.

I can picture the NICU I have spent time in before and I imagine him there.

He’s parked by the nursing station, waiting for someone to come and claim him to be theirs.

Mine.

I set the pile of baby items in the hall and try to figure out how I can move all the kids around so there’s plenty of space for everyone.

The phone rings and my heart jumps in anticipation.

It’s her.

Our social worker.

Baby is not doing well.

He’s struggling with the withdrawal symptoms and needed morphine over the weekend.

He’ll be in the hospital for at least another week.

Also, family has come forward and they will be taking him home upon his discharge.  We are not needed after all for Baby Boy, but thank you for being available.

I hold up my disappointment from crashing in by remembering why I believe in reunification and kinship care.

I practise gratitude as I pack away the baby things and break the news to my baby-loving daughters.

I wake in the night and turn my disappointment into prayers.

Safety.

Comfort.

Wisdom.

Love.

I think about the hours I spent loving this little person that I would probably never meet and wonder why it happened this way.

But then I think…

Why does it make any difference?

He is worthy of it all.

My love,

my time,

my grief,

my family,

and my money.

Not a single prayer, cent or minute was wasted because

this little person matters.

He matters to the One who made Him

and he matters to me.

And in that,

my heart settles.

“You are beautiful, for you are fearfully and wonderfully made.”

Psalm 139:14