I’ve thought about writing this post for a very long time. Part of me really wants to share it and the other part of me, the part that doesn’t like to be vulnerable, wants to just stay silent on the matter. But after thinking about it, I want to be able to encourage people into fostering and/or adopting, and probably the best way is to share our journey. And what have I got to loose? My identity is in Christ, not in what others think of me…so here I go!
Cameron and I had talked about adopting when we were first married, but it was something that was way off in the future and honestly if you had asked me back then if I thought we’d ever get around to it, I would have probably answered, “no.” I was barely 19 when I got married and was pregnant before I was 20, so you might say it was a teenage pregnancy, although I turned 20 before little Gracia was born.
If you’ve been following my blog long enough, you might remember a couple of years ago I announced that I was pregnant, and then I miscarried. After the miscarriage Cameron and I started talking about adoption again, this time much more seriously. Now we both admit that it was for very selfish reasons. We were going to grow our family no matter how we had to do it.
However we didn’t think we could adopt for 2 main reasons:
1. Every time anyone talks about adoption they mention the extreme expense of it and we were living on 2 part time incomes and paying for Cameron’s schooling. So how could we afford adoption?
2. We were living in an 8 by 32 foot travel trailer. Would they even allow us to adopt a child in such a tight space?
After doing some research on the internet we discovered that while many types of adoption are expensive, adopting through the United States foster care isn’t! And you can adopt kids right here in our own country that need homes.
We went to a meeting intended to explain more about foster/adoption and we approached them about our living situation. To my surprise they didn’t just write us off and say no, but just that it would need to be considered.
After that we attended a foster/adoption class held by the Christian organization Buckner. The man teaching the class said he’d come to our place and see if we’d be able to adopt while in it. He came and measured, but couldn’t remember some of the specific laws, so he said he’d check and give me a call back. But while he was there he was such an encouragement to me. Some people who we talked to about us adopting had discouraged it. I already had apprehensions about if I really had what it takes to be an adoptive mom, and then the comments just added to it. So when the man from Buckner came and seemed to really be trying to make it work for us and just seemed to think we could do it, especially coming from someone who had worked in this area for years, it gave me some hope.
Later he called and said that no, our house did not meet Texas “play area” requirements. Now…I’m going to be very honest, I was relieved. I could now say that we tried and it didn’t work and I could get on with getting pregnant with our next child.
2 years later that “next child” still hasn’t come. Even though it’s been difficult God has faithfully taught me so much through it. I wanted to be pregnant so bad, it was all consuming to me. Slowly, but surely God showed me that I was seeking joy and happiness in a baby. After a while I stopped buying pregnancy tests and looking up early pregnancy symptoms (even though I have them all memorized!). I believe God has been teaching me that adding to our family whether by birth or by adoption is not about me. It’s not about me making a perfect little family for myself.
When we moved here to Missouri, and out of the travel trailer “without enough play area”, we thought maybe now we could adopt, but we had a couple more concerns:
- What would the training center think, since we live on campus. We talked with leadership and got permission to pursue it, so that wasn’t and issue.
- We live in an apartment with no shower, we have a community shower/laundry house. There is other housing with their own showers, so we knew that if needed we could move, but to our surprise they had no problem with it and even told us that they had people with no indoor plumbing take kids (Amish maybe?).
So starting earlier this year we attended the classes to get first our fostering licence, then our adoption licence. Wanna know the really cool part? Unbeknownst to us another family in our missionary class also wanted to adopt and we ended up taking the classes together and even carpooling!
I struggled a lot (make that I still struggle a lot) with whether or not I’m good enough to be a foster/adoptive mom, but I’ve had to realize that no, I am not. In so many areas of my life I’ve run crying to God saying, “I can’t do this!!!” And then I realize, no I can’t, and why did I ever think I could? Only an almighty God can do this. I must trust in HIM and not in myself.
Going through the foster classes opened our eyes to the huge need for foster parents. We were just attending so we could foster for the sole reason of adopting, but we kept hearing about the need for foster parents. Just a few days after signing the papers for our licences we got a call about a little boy who needed a place to stay THAT NIGHT. Gracia and I were out with friends eating ice-cream celebrating a birthday when Cameron called and told me. My gut reaction was no, but after getting home and praying about it with Cameron, I had no idea what we should do. A boy needed a home, NOW, but what if I’m not a good foster mom…what if this…what about that. Finally we decided yes.
Little Dude has been with us over 2 months now. There have been some hard things, a couple of which I mention in this post, but I do not regret taking him in!! The longer he’s with us, the more attached we get.
We also took care of a sibling group, Big Sis and Little Bro for 8 days until they found a family that could take them more long term, we’re hoping to visit them sometime.
Through everything these last couple of years God has really worked on both mine and Cameron’s hearts. Slowly I started having more of a heart for the kids and not just wanting to do it to grow our family. Cameron says that he learned that kids aren’t a commodity. We often treat kids like we treat our possessions. We want the perfect number of kids, we want them to do this or be like that. Our eyes have been opened more and more to the fact that adoption is not about us, it’s about the kids. It shouldn’t be about us finding a child for our family, but being a family for a child that needs one. That being said we desire to pursue adoption even if we have more birth kids, because there are an estimated 153,000,000 orphans in the world and 20,000 kids age out of the US foster care system having never been placed with a forever family every single year. And most importantly because these kids need to know about their loving Heavenly Father, who is the only perfect Father they will ever have.
Linked at A Blossoming Life.