I am so excited to share this post with you today! My dear friend Meg has been a very integral part of our adoption journey. Not only did Adam and Meg attend high school together, but her and her husband Josh adopted their son Eli in October 2011. Meg and I grew in our friendship through a fantastic adoption support group sponsored by her church, in PA. I have gleaned so much wisdom from her specifically about open adoption (having birth parents involved in your child’s life). Most importantly, her heart for the Lord, and love for the fatherless is one that I have admired since the day we met. I am so thankful for Meg and the way God has allowed us to become friends!
A simple state form, a glance at it could be confused with a marriage application or dog license…they all pretty much look the same. Questions with check boxes, we have all filled out a million check boxes. But five pages later, you have thought through and had your heart break over every possible scenario in the life of a child that might become yours. They are checkboxes that apply to little lives out there, some born and some not yet conceived.
This time around, reading this list, my heart broke. This list has been compiled because it is THE MOST COMMON issues that children waiting to be adopted have in this country. Common enough that Pennsylvania was able to narrow it down to just five pages. Some things are inherent by birth, and while perhaps not the reason the child was placed for adoption, will make it that much harder to find a family.
Will you accept a child who is blind?
Will you accept a child who is deaf?
Will you accept a child who needs braces or special shoes?
Those questions don’t necessarily sadden me, there are differently abled children all around us, and most go on to do great things. They are challenges to parenting, but families work with them every single day. Many families I know, since I work with special needs infants and toddlers.
Then, the list progresses. School achievement, this really doesn’t apply to the age group we are adopting. But,
Will you accept a high achiever?
Will you accept a typical acheiver?
Will you accept s child in learning support?
Will you accept a child with serious school behavior problems?
I don’t know all the factors that go into placing children in these categories. Some is biology. Some is neonatal concerns. Some is being shuffled from home to home and school to school. Some is lack of effort, though my guess is there are often reasons out of their control behind their lack of effort.
Then, into the category I am more familiar with…my husband and I both have counseling and development degrees…we have worked with a variety of children who have been through trauma. These “acceptance” issues are the direct result of something done to these children. You would think after years in the field, they wouldn’t shock us. And true, the words on paper, in a clinical sense, are not out of the ordinary. But then God jerks us back into reality. These aren’t “terms.” They are human lives. They are little people created in God’s image who have been abused, broken, abandoned. And this is the result,
Will you accept a child who tends to reject father figures? Mother figures?
WIll you accept a child who has dififculty making friends or relating to others?
Will you accept a child who frequently wets the bed (I can tell you this can go way into teen years)…
Will you accept a child who frequently soils themself?
Will you accept a child who masturbates frequently or openly?
Will you accept a child who lies and steals?
Will you accept a child who frequently uses physical agression?
Will you accept a child that tends to abuse animals?
Who destroys their possessions?
Who frequently has inappropriate sexual behavior?
Who has a history of setting fires?
Who has a history of running away?
Conceived by rape.
Concieved by prostitution.
This does not mean we can or will check “yes” to all of these questions…families need to closely examine what we can handle and what time we have to dedicate to treatment, therapy, education. What resources we have. What my husband can emotionally handle at home, when his job is to provide therapy to these same children all day at work. What is safe and appropriate for Eli at this age. So many what-ifs….
But what I can do right now is pray. PRAY. And if you are a Christian who does not feel called towards adoption, can you still pray? Can you pray for our child out there, who is not home yet? Whether they are a little bean in a mommy’s tummy, or a newborn in their family’s home, or a baby in foster care, will you pray for them?
As we prepare for the SWAN trainings and prepare for this second adoption, I am overwhelmed by the thought that our child might already be out there, and they might GET HURT right now. That if our child does not come to us as a newborn, something terrible will happen to them that is cause to remove them from their birth parents. I understand there is grief and loss in Eli’s story too, but I am talking about physical hurt and neglect. And the sad part is that my mama-bear instinct wants to protect them, and I can’t.
Think of that conundrum. Something bad will have to happen to your child for them to become your child. That is true of Eli, and true of his future sibling. Something bad happened to Eli, his first family wasn’t able to raise him. They wished they were able to, but they weren’t. We are grateful he is with us, but we don’t ever forget that.
So while we pray for a second child, we pray a hedge of protection around them. For Child Protective Services to step in before its too bad, for the courts to truly have the best interest of the child in mind. For God to guard their hearts and make them capable of loving again and bonding again. For Him to physically protect them from irrevocable damage. For birth hospitals to step in if they truly do not feel comfortable sending a child home with their mother, for their instincts. For God to give the child a renewable spirit that will be open to healing, and growth, and change. For us to be as open as He needs us to be. We feel so closed off in some areas, “No, we can’t handle that.” So pray for us to help discern what is God’s leading and what is fear. What is truly His plan and what is our worry.
And as with Eli’s adoption, if our second child is to come to us through the choice of an expectant mother, we ask that you be praying now for that expectant mother who we have not even met yet. That she wrestle with her decision, that she examine all options and make the choice she feels is best for her child. That she seeks an open adoption and chooses to stay in her child’s life.
We thank you for your prayers.
We are so thankful for a God who sees a long list of all of OUR problems, and accepts us as His child anyways.