Why You Should Still Do it Even Though It’s Hard…

As a foster and adoptive family, we have heard so many different comments from people regarding our choice to reach out to these vulnerable little ones.

Some of them have been very encouraging and inspiring, and we are thankful to have a great support network of people who are behind us in this venture.

But along with that, I think we have heard every reason in the book why someone might NOT want to adopt or foster.  People seem to think they need to explain to me every reason why they can’t or won’t get involved.  I often stand there quietly, silently struggling for words as they unload on me.  Most of the comments seem to be guilt or fear driven.

“I would get too attached.”

This is the most common statement I hear in regards to foster care, specifically.  I know where this comes from, because I used to say it too.  While I always had myself convinced I could never foster because I would ‘love the child too much to give them back’ I now understand the arrogance and selfishness of that statement.

“Too loving to love” is the idea most people want to convey in this statement.  This is completely unbiblical.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails.         (1 Cor. 13)

True love is not based on what may or may not happen.  True love is a choice: to commit, to sacrifice, to put someone else’s needs ahead of my own.  True love rejoices in good things…and healing broken families is certainly a part of that!

Yes, I know…things can go horribly wrong.  You will be working with a broken system and broken families…but that is no excuse!  As a believer in Christ you must believe that God can bring beauty from ashes and is fully in control over all of life’s circumstances.  We will not always understand, but we are commanded to trust and obey.

Many families have walked heartbreaking journeys beside children in their care, and many times things did not turn out as they hoped or planned, but as followers of Christ we need to believe that His purposes will not be thwarted.  We are working for the Potter who can redeem even the most shattered of vessels.

“I have my ‘own’ children to love and care for.”

While I understand our commitment to guide, protect and nurture the children God has placed in our care, I think our idea of what this looks like is often twisted.  There are many children who have been taken all over the world on the mission field, living in less than ideal conditions, being exposed to life threatening illnesses, residing near war zones and being exposed to all kinds of danger physically, emotionally and spiritually.  Is this a reason not to go?  Do the positives outweigh the negatives?

I will not pretend to think that every family can easily begin fostering or adopting additional children, but I want to challenge your perceptions and ideas on this.

What is it that you dream of for your children?  Do you dream of health, wealth and happiness…or do you dream of something more?

Do you dream of seeing your children evade the materialism and entitlement so prevalent in our culture today?  Do you dream of them becoming world changers?  Do you dream of them developing a deep compassion for the less fortunate, the marginalized, the oppressed?  Do you dream of them understanding that all we are given is to be used in service for Kingdom Building?

What is more important?  That their personal comforts and privileges are guarded and protected?  Or that they are given opportunities to build character qualities that will prepare them to be used in spreading the gospel?

Yes, you need to keep them safe.

Yes, you need to place them above your own ambitions.

Yes, you need to be prepared and have a plan.

But know this.

If you are called, you will also be equipped.  And it just might surprise you what fruits you see emerge in your children as you serve in this way together.

Oh, and one more thing.  Please don’t use that word…”own.”  It’s time to extend  your borders and start calling someone else your “own.”  Love is a choice.  Choose it.

I am not ‘cut out’ for that.  That takes a special kind of person.

I understand.

I understand what you mean when you say this.  But I can’t help but think it’s a pretty easy way to let yourself off the hook while millions of orphans around the world wait for a select few people to be ‘cut out’ for this job.

What is this job exactly?

This job is parenting.

This job is sharing generously your time and resources.

This job is being willing to love the least of these…with no expectations in return.

This job is caring.

What exactly about this job do you need to be ‘specially equipped’ for?

What about this job is so much harder than any career path or ministry you may pursue?

What about this job does not line up with exactly who Christ asks us to be, and the example He left us to follow?

It’s time to stop waiting to be ‘cut out’ for this job!

It’s time to pray and ask God to equip you for this task!

He can and he will.

Just ask!

“But I’ve heard that…”

Oh the stories!

Everyone has a horror story about adoption, foster care or the local child protection agency.

Are they true?

Some of them, yes.

But please…don’t make your decision based on somebody’s story.

Do the research.

Find out for yourself what you need to know from a reliable source.

Don’t believe everything you hear.

There are always two sides to a story, and the worst stories are only ever one sided.

I believe Satan is using this tactic powerfully to keep people from pursuing foster care or adoption.

I’ve been disappointed at the number of Believers that will gladly join the bandwagon of complaints, criticism and disgust.  This is not helpful.

We need to be wise.

We need to pray for discernment as we engage the world and it’s brokenness.

We need to be prepared to give an answer for what we believe and we need to be firmly rooted in Truth, so that bitter stories and angry rants will not sway us from what we know to be true.

All I ask is that you choose to believe and repeat only things that you know for certain are true and valid.

Horror stories passed on through friends and acquaintances do not fall into this category!

If the story does not honour all involved, including the birth family, adoptive family, children and professionals…please take a deep breath and keep silent.  Try to imagine what the opposite side of the story may be and realize that almost all situations in the foster and adoptive world carry grief, loss and trauma.  They are complicated, sad and easily misunderstood.

God never promised that His plan for our lives would be easy, comfortable or even make sense in our worldly vision.

In fact, He promised the opposite!

Our task here is to daily ‘take up our cross’ and follow him.

Our retirement will come in heaven.

As long as we are here, we are to be busy building his Kingdom, reflecting His character and taking the gospel to the broken.

AF

 

 

 

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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.