Welcome back. Yesterday, I shared some FAQs on writing/blogging that got crickets. Ha! But my goal is always one mom – and I heard from one. Whew.
Today, I am SO thrilled that two of my best friends are sharing more about adoption. They are so very passionate about this topic and would love nothing more to decrease your fear and increase your trust.
I know you have questions. Don’t be shy! Add them to the comments below and they will comment back to you today/tonight.
Join us all week – more topics and fun coming.
What do I do if I have a heart to adopt my husband does not?
This has to be addressed in prayer and fasting. God places our husbands as the spiritual leaders of our families but that doesn’t mean he may not work through the wives first as he reveals the story of our family to us. In our case, I brought it up, not John. Although we had talked about it as a couple for 8 years, we had never said 100% yes we will do that. John, in those conversations, usually had more hesitation than me. Once I knew it was getting solidified in my heart, I put it to John and asked him to pray about it for a week with no pressure to talk to me about it before then. I also asked that he make sure he is praying and listening to God without letting his fears cloud out God’s voice. 4 days later, he came home after 3 hours of prayer and said 100% yes and we should adopt two. God moves mountains! Pray pray and pray BIG prayers. Then pray some more.
This is a question I get asked all the time. It seems most of the time adoption is initiated through a desire or conviction the wife has. That was the case in our family. I initially had a huge heart for adoption. I have a lot of very close family friends who were adopted or have a sibling or two that were adopted, domestically and internationally. For us it wasn’t really a matter if we were going to adopt the timing was the critical element in our story. We had this plan in our heads that we would have two biological children and then adopt our third child. You can read my story here on how God was probably cracking up at my perfect little plan for my family.
This is a time I can look back, and through all the pain that got us to the place where we are now, I am so honored that God is bigger than my prayers and my plans. That he felt that us having two sweet girls born within six months of each other was a task that we were not fit to take on but that he ordained perfectly so that our view of him could be expanded and our faith could grow tremendously in the process.
Even as I write that I remember going through the infertility process and reading everything I could on that and then reading everything I could on adoption and wanting to hold something in my heart that was concrete so that I wouldn’t have to be uncertain anymore. There is no certainty with birthing a child biologically and there is no certainty in the adoption process. We fool ourselves when we think that because a child is in our womb we have control over their DNA or their future. We don’t. It’s all in the Lord’s hands and we are invited into the story he is telling. The thought of trying to take on pregnancy alone would be hugely challenging for me to comprehend and that’s the best way I think to describe trying to take on adoption without the buy in of both people in the relationship.
How do I choose between domestic or international?
This was decided, again, through a matter of prayer, fasting, and the Lord leading for us. It is sad to me that people rank one above the other in matter of importance or which is a “nobler cause”. Adoption is the gospel lived out, whether you adopt from your own city or across the world. God calls some to domestic adoption and others to international, and others to the cause of sponsorship and orphan prevention. We couldn’t make a dent in the orphan crisis if we all only adopted one way or the other, or didn’t get in the cause of orphan prevention. There are needs both here and abroad. The Lord had just put Africa on our heart. We tried to pursue other avenues and kept feeling totally unsettled. We ended up choosing the continent of Africa first, then the country based off of what criteria we matched within.
For example some countries you have to be over 35 or married over 10 years so, at the time that wouldn’t work for us. Some countries you have to have no biological children at home or not more than 1. Some countries you have to stay in country months and months so that limited us. We ended up with DR Congo, in the rape capital of the world. We were excited to bring home children from this country that may have ended up in prostitution or abducted/affected by war. However, I cast not even the slightest judgment on foster care or domestic adoption. Instead it excites me so much to see families adopting from US. The wait is often quicker, (sometimes not), and I’ve heard several stories of there being such an abundance of African American children on waiting lists with no prospective parents open to transracial adoption. God describes us as a body of believers, that means we all have different functions. There is no one right way to care for orphans, just pray and act in the way God leads!
We started the process thinking we would be doing a international adoption. We went to a Bethany Christian services general information meeting and went to sit through the specific presentation on International adoption. At the time we felt like an European Country or Hispanic Country were the obvious choices for us. We have ties to hispanic culture and I can speak the language. I studied abroad in Europe and we have family that was adopted from one European country. Additionally, my sister in law is from Ecuador and my nieces and nephews are South American. I didn’t want to adopt a child into our family and for them to feel more isolated because of their race and background then they may already feel because of the uniqueness of their story of adoption. This was what made sense to Jon and me at the time.
Since then we have become intimately involved with Care for AIDS that is located all throughout Kenya and are a part of sponsoring a center in a slum area of Kariobangi there. Since my initial trip with Kylie to Uganda Africa has become a huge part of our hearts and lives. If the Lord leads us to adoption again I can see us considering Africa as a possibility. None of this is a way YOU need to process where the Lord is leading you to adopt or get involved. This is simply a part of our journey.
After we sat through the information meeting on international adoption and heard about all of the nuances we could encounter, we decided to stay in country. One thing in particular that still stands out to me today is that in one of the countries we were considering they told a story about how all of the paperwork was complete and sent over the course of a year or so, the family had started the waiting process and during that time the country sent back their paperwork because their notary seal was the wrong shape. I looked at Jon and thought with all the other unknowns and hoops you have to jump through to bring a child home I didn’t think I could handle that and we took that along with some other information and decided to go with a domestic adoption. Now, that again was how the Lord led us and we made decisions in that season of our lives. Today, I don’t know that the things that stopped us from pursuing a international adoption would be factors that would stop us now. I had the honor and privilege of traveling with kylie to the Congo to adopt Maran and Levi and that is an etched memory for me. Getting to be a small part of their story and the journey to bring them home is something I will never forget.
How did you pay for your adoption?
I would never let cost be a deterrent to adoption (unless maybe you are up to your eyeballs in debt and it is a source of major dissension in your marriage, then hold off for a bit). Yes adoptions run $12,000-40,000. But I’ve tried to let this be an area of trust instead of stress. I do believe we need to be wise when entering this, as with all financial matters, pray and seek counsel. But this is something God asks us to do hundreds of times in the Bible- to care for the orphan, to fight for the fatherless, to provide for the outcast, to sacrificially give and serve the least of these. We do have to “count the cost” but we also have to trust God, the provider, for big things. If he has laid adoption on your heart, he will provide. It may take work on your part, and lots of prayer. But he will equip you for the journey he has called for you. You can fundraise, seek grants, write letters to friends/family/church, yard sale, sell necklaces or T-shirts, host dinners, speak at churches, etc. We did a combination of several. There are lots of ministries out there to help you with fundraising or grants!
I think we see such a big price tag as the bottom line, but I wonder if that is exactly where God wants us to be. Rarely in life do we have to depend on him dollar by dollar. It is an awesome experience to depend on God for everything, we just rarely get the chance to do it. Also, logistically this cost is not a one time lump sum. It is typically broken up into payments and chunks that are more manageable. Not to mention, there is a 13,000 tax credit I believe that is still in effect once you finalize your adoption. Regardless of the number, you will be surprised how God uses your community and provides!!
In addition, before we had our first child, someone told us kids cost almost a million dollars over their lifetime. Not sure if this is true or not, but regardless, it did not deter us from having kids. I can’t put a price tag on motherhood or any of my children. We will just continue to try and seek Biblical wisdom in our finances and ask Big things of God as he asks big things of us.
We opened an account with Lifesong for orphans and friends and family can write checks to lifesong. The donations are tax free and lifesong will then reimburse families for their adoption expenses. We absolutely could not have afforded the adoption without the generous contributions of our friends and family. The neat thing about that too is that your heart follows your money right? You have probably heard this before and I have watched this happen as people who generously contributed to facilitating our adoption are connected to our adopted child in a way like an aunt or uncle. They adore her in a way that they don’t with any other children mine or otherwise. So, that has been a really neat thing to bear witness to.
What has been the rewards and challenges?
This is hard to boil down to a paragraph, when it is actually a novel for me! I would say my big takeaways from our adoption journey is increasing my dependence on God, seeing myself as the orphan adopted, and a daily reminder God is true to his word in taking all things and working them for the good of those who love him. The struggles of our adoption caused me to minute by minute depend on God as my portion, my provider, my source of wisdom, my safety, and my father. Even biologically birthed children all go through emotional challenges, and even more so with a child that has gone through trauma. These challenges always bring me to my knees and right back to Jesus instead of thinking I can do this mothering thing alright on my own.
Also, God has opened my eyes to the depth of my own spiritual adoption through this all. He paints a daily picture for me of how I was the girl tossed aside and then redeemed and bought at a high price to be called daughter. Also, I got to be apart of watching hearts transform, hearts learn to trust, hearts understand their story might be hard but it is good. Daily I am faced with the promise of Romans 8:28 that God takes what the world intended for bad and works it for our good and his glory. I didn’t adopt to rescue a child, or to hear them say thank you, or for a heavenly pat on the back. We wanted more children and God said this was the best way he had for us so we followed. Raising black children in a white family will have its challenges, raising children who have experienced deep pain will have seasons of struggle, but I know God is bigger than my finite wisdom. I look at all my children as my own, and yet also, just children God has entrusted me to steward. They are all his, salvation belongs to the Lord, results and outcomes belong to the Lord. I will keep trusting him minute by minute in how to love and parent all 4 of our kids!
Undoubtedly in the adoption process you will encounter HUGE roadblocks. Adoption is so close to God’s heart and to our stories because that’s our inheritance story after all, being adopted into the royal family of Christ. The enemy is against adoption. Adoption changes the course of history and the future of a child. When the road blocks come and they will, it will require a strength from both people. One will be weak at times and the other strong and then the next one will come and require the other half to be strong.
Get involved in caring for families who are in the adoption process, throw a shower for a mom who is “expecting” waiting on her babies to be born or come home to their forever family. At the time when we were adopting people didn’t really know what to do, I didn’t know what to do either. I wanted to protect my heart so I didn’t act on offers for a shower or party. This is also a place where a friend can come alongside someone in adoption. There is a time to guard your heart and there is a time to celebrate. I wish I would have been more bold in my faith at the time or had someone who boldly said no we are celebrating this child because she is yours and she is coming home. Also, you could financially support a family who wants to adopt and cannot support it.
Encouragement from Kylie
Lastly- For those of you who adoption is not on your heart. I get it. Don’t enter into it out of guilt or an item on a “good Christian to-do list”. This is not what God intends for all. However, he does call us to care for the orphan hundreds of times in scripture. That doesn’t demand adoption. There are over 160 million orphans and adoption is just a part of the solution. Prevention is the bigger piece. Child sponsorship through organizations like World Vision and Compassion allow funding to keep kids in families and in school. This is a great step. In addition, we are involved with orphan prevention ministries like Care for Aids who rehabilitate the whole family, children who would normally be orphaned by AIDS, and gives the family a resource through the local Kenyan church to find spiritual, economic and health rehabilitation. It is an amazing ministry that we have partnered closely with and I encourage you to check it out!