It has been a while since I’ve written about the adoption on here, but I feel like it’s time to share my heart a bit. Our long season of waiting is coming up on three years this August. We never dreamed it would take this long, and if you have been a part of our journey in any way, I’m guessing you didn’t either. We are still waiting. Still hoping that God has children for us. I’m hoping this post will give you a glimpse into our life as of late.
Since becoming a licensed pre-adoptive family in CT last September we’ve been on quite a wild ride. If you’ve been waiting for a foster/adoption placement for more than a few months you may be familiar with how activity comes and goes in waves. Waves could last for weeks, or even months. It’s not predictable, but in our experience this is how it typically happens.
There are seasons where my email inbox is constantly beeping, and my phone is ringing with calls from our case worker on a regular basis. She has referrals for us, short snippets about children whose social workers are seeking pre-adoptive homes for them. These referrals are heart breaking as we hear the backstory about how a child has come into state care. It’s always broken, messy, and not full of much hope. Mental illness, substance abuse, and domestic violence between the birthparents, along with homelessness, sexual physical and emotional abuse pepper my inbox. Understandably, the children may have behavioral and emotional issues and developmental delays. Consider how your life would look on paper. It’s not fun, is it? I’ve spent hours in front of my computer and I’m convinced I’ve researched almost every possible diagnosis known to man (ok, little exaggeration, but you get it).
Fetal alcohol syndrome.
Every possible illegal and legal drug exposure.
Sickle Cell Anemia.
And the list goes on and on….
These seasons are exciting and fast paced, especially when we’re considered for “emergency” placements, giving us hours, or a day or two at most to prepare for the possibility of a child joining our family. Lots of adrenaline. Lots of anxiety. Lots of trusting God.
Then there are the silent seasons. We’re just coming out of one of those, and *hoping* it’s long gone for a while. The silence is hard. The email doesn’t beep. The phone doesn’t ring. We wonder if we’ve been forgotten, or have fallen through the cracks somehow. We haven’t. It’s just the nature of these slower, more quiet, seasons. Lots of anxiety. Lots of questions. Lots of trusting God.
Each season brings unique challenges to our hearts as we continue waiting for the child or children God may have for us. During the busy seasons, we hear “sorry, another family was chosen” All. The. Time. Or, we don’t hear a thing about the decision that has been made, and that child we read about on paper just fades into the distance. It’s exhausting, discouraging, sad, and just plain frustrating at times! Why weren’t we chosen? Is it because we’re Christians? Is it because Adam is a pastor? Is it because we go to a baptist church (this is a legit question up here)? Is it because I want to stay home with our children? We’ll probably never know, unfortunately, despite our caseworker digging for us.
We have spent many hours praying for every child we hear about, their needs, their hearts, and asking God to entrust them to us. By faith, those prayers are not in vain, and He has heard every single one.
During the silent seasons, well, the silence just drags on and on and on. Some days I feel like I’m going to go crazy and couldn’t possibly wait one more day for a call from our caseworker. Any call. Really. I’ll take anything to know we haven’t been forgotten about.
Different challenges for different seasons….and we’re pretty “seasoned” with this whole waiting thing, if you know what I mean 😉
It’s very difficult for me to put a finger on what I’ve learned over the last three years. I know it has been a lot, and I trust is will be revealed to me over time, even if it’s slowly. Lord willing, I’ve been made more like Jesus, and not less. At times though, I’m not so sure, so all I can do is cling to Philippians 1:6 which promise that the work He began in me will be brought to completion. One day. I do believe that, even when I’m experiencing seasons of deep pain, dryness, weak faith, and at times hardness of heart. Please Lord, make me more like Jesus…
One thing is for sure, I can not wait to adopt. Have there been moments when I’ve wanted to throw in the towel and say “forget this broken system, we’re done.” Absolutely. However, when I look back on the season when Adam and I fasted, prayed, and questioned God about this back in 2011 and He made this calling so clear to us, I could never quit. Definitely not. Then, how He provided for every single penny we have needed over the past three years for adoption related expenses. He has been so kind towards us. If anything, my heart for the fatherless, the most vulnerable group of people on the planet, precious children who are floundering in the state foster care system, has grown tenfold since being in this process.
We’ve been told that we’re brave to adopt from foster care. I can assure you we’re not. Not at all. This is a calling, and by God’s grace we’ve been obedient to it. It’s not easy, and often times we have no idea how this crazy foster care system works, but it’s absolutely right for *us*.
If I may, I’m going to speak some difficult truth for a moment. I am weary of Christians criticizing our decision to adopt. Even more, I’m weary of those who are quick to criticize when they themselves have not heeded the commands in Scripture to care for the fatherless. I’ve always said that I don’t believe everyone should adopt (I really do believe that), but I do think more Christians ought to consider it. Every Christian is called to care for the fatherless in some capacity. That is a matter of obedience, and far too few are taking that command seriously. This can look a million different ways, but overall, I believe there is a lack of faithfulness in this area.
It breaks my heart.
It breaks my heart even more when the criticism comes from godly people who I know love Jesus, and His Word.
I’ve been amazed at how many negative and wrongly informed comments we’ve received about our decision to adopt. It has been happening for three years now, and it never gets easier. Most are very well-intentioned of course, and out of a heart of love towards us, not wanting to see us suffer through the process. Those comments are sincere, meant to encourage us, but instead make me very aware of the wrong ideas about adoption and foster care that circulate amongst the Christian community. I really believe that needs to change.
On the other hand, some comments have been made from a lack of knowledge, compassion, a disregard for children in general, and a “know-it-all” mentality that the commenter believes their plan for us is better than God’s. I guess one of the things I’ve learned over these years, or grown, is a thick skin! This is something I’m grateful for because my “fragile flower” mentality could use some sanctifying 🙂
I’ve been wanting to write more in this space about adoption related issues, and I feel like the time is now. As a hopeful adoptive mom, I want to do my best to communicate our heart for adoption, our love for children who come from hard places, places we could never imagine experiencing ourselves, and what the Bible says about it all. I want those around us, near and far, to grasp how stinkin’ beautiful God’s heart is for the weak and vulnerable, and consider how they too may care for these treasured children. There are far to many people who believe that adoption is second best, a “fall-back” option because pregnancy is not possible. That belief is so wrong, so dangerous, and kills me when I’m confronted with it.
I’m pleading with you, believers, please consider God’s heart for the fatherless. Consider that what you believe about children who come from hard places may be very inaccurate and possibly loaded with a lifetime of racial stereotypes mingled with the horror stories you’ve heard from a friend of a friend (you know the ones). Consider if God may be calling you to take a huge step of faith and welcome a child into your family who may not be the perfect “designer” child you always dreamed of, but may be one of the greatest earthly blessings you’ve ever received. Of course, I’m saying all of this from a perspective of expectant faith, knowing that adoption is not going to be easy. A perspective that has yet to have the desires of her heart granted and whose hope has been deferred time and time again. A perspective that has had her expectations smashed to the ground over and over again for three years now, and is still standing strong, waiting for God to bless. I haven’t seen the other side yet, but I do believe it will be good.