My life is pretty sweet. My kids are awesome. I’m living in my dream home. My marriage is great, and I love my job 80% of the time. I have some great friends, a new church that challenges me and I love where I live in relation to the world. I have a lot. Therefore, I have a lot to share.
I’m out of the perilous, sleepless, baby years. I’m halfway through the elementary school years. My business has succeeded past the 5 year mark. Adam has completed his Bachelor’s degree. There’s room in our life for more. I think it’s finally time to realize a big dream we’ve always had. A dream that God planted in our hearts before we were even married.
We’re preparing to adopt.
We’ve always had a special burden for older kids that haven’t found homes. Who’ve endured suffering, neglect or even abuse…when they should have been enjoying a peaceful childhood. We’ve also always had a heart for older kids in foster care. The ones who have a harder time finding homes, and we always pictured ourselves adopting a sibling group. We know that they have a hard time finding homes. The idea of taking on multiple kids at once can be intimidating. But we also know that it is much better for kids to stay together. Having a sibling on the journey with you can make a huge difference. Going through life with at least someone who is blood related makes you feel less isolated and helps preserve your sense of identity.
I’m not a perfect mom, but I think I’m a damn good one. My kids are loved, fed and nurtured on every level…emotional, physical and spiritual. Their needs are met. Many of their wants are also met. No parent is perfect. We are all trying to do our best. But sometimes a parent realizes that they can’t be what’s best for their child. Could I be a solution for that parent and that child?
I have my own issues, as every human does. But with some outside support, I am a solid, reliable mom. I seek out help when I need it and I do my very best for my kids. My kids are aware that I struggle with things like depression, anxiety and grief. But I teach them about it on an age appropriate level, and I don’t overburden them with details. Is it a risk to take on more? Yes, but I believe I’m up to the challenge.
Am I naive?….Probably. But I am doing my best to shake that and learn from those who have been there. I have a handful of friends that have adopted. My husband and I have both interviewed friends and acquaintances that have fostered and adopted. Research is something that I adore. It’s rare for me to read a good old fashioned fiction book. I spend most of my free time reading blogs, books and articles about topics I’m passionate about. Right now, I’m reading all the things about adoption. I’ve also recently discovered podcasts. I’m a big fan of podcasts like The Archibald Project and The Forgotten Initiative these resources have been invaluable at helping me figure out what life might be like for us, should we manage to go through with our plans.
The challenge has been to find a family that resembles our own. We have three biological kids over age 8. We are looking to adopt a sibling pair of kids over age 7 but under age 12. There aren’t many people that take an established family and add two established family members to the mix. I imagine it’s complicated. I imagine it’s even not recommended. But we’re still pursuing it, and trying to do so with eyes wide open.
In October, we became certified foster parents through the URM program. But our current administration has reduced the number of refugees, enforced numerous travel bans, and now due to COVID-19 , closed our borders to all immigrants. It doesn’t look like we will be allowed to welcome a refugee child to our home any time soon. So we’re opening ourselves up to the “original plan”, foster/adopt. We’re working within the same agency so we’ve been hoping that the jump to the other program would be smooth and a bit faster than starting from scratch. So far, it hasn’t been any easier or quicker. Adoption just takes forever.
And now, everything is taking even longer because of this virus. Caseworkers are working from home. Home studies aren’t happening and who knows when we’d even be allowed to meet any kids? We keep reading all the desperate pleas for foster parents and the reports that at-risk kids are in precarious situations. Our hearts break and we want to scream, “we are trying!” We are doing everything we can to make our safe, happy home available to a child in need of one. We are home and now would be a great time to be staying home and focusing on integrating new family members. But the silver lining is the “great pause” is allowing us precious time with our biological kids. And it feels serendipitous to have this time to just savor our family the way it is. Maybe for us, this time is a gift from God to say a loving goodbye to the days when we were just us 5?
There are definitely days when we question this idea of adoption and want to abandon it. There are enormous risks involved. We have already been cautioned by those that know that there will be days after our future children arrive that we will panic and think “what have I done?”or even “have I ruined my family?”. To sign up to knowingly experience that anxiety seems masochistic. I could have a panic attack just thinking about it…but then I take a deep breath. Moments don’t last forever. They can leave lasting scars, but they don’t have to. If I am called to walk into this journey, then God will guide my steps one step at a time. All I can do now is take one step at a time in the right direction, and I believe that this is the right direction.
Another aspect of this that has always been in our hearts, is transracial adoption. I have always pictured a brown skinned son in my heart. I can see him in my minds eye, and I love him. Before I birthed my own babies, he was there and I have longed for him. However, we are about as white as they come, on both sides of our family. Once again I have done my research and I know, transracial adoption is fraught. But it is something I would like to step into intentionally. I am utilizing resources to educate myself and my family from Be The Bridge and Hey TRA . It’s not that I would say “no” to white children, but it’s just not the dream that I’ve always had. The challenges are real, and I would be helping them not only navigate the feelings of loss of their birth family, but trying to help them preserve their identity, and enter into it as best I can. I also know we’d all come face to face with racism, on a personal level.
Adam and I struggle with feeling like we’ll have to protect our biological children as well. They have lived perfectly, sheltered lives. We’ve gone out of our way to teach them the ugly truths about life, while cradling them in their bubble. They’re so young and innocent. Life hasn’t broken them in any way. I know they can’t remain that way forever. We want them to enter into hard things and walk alongside people that have suffered and continue to. It’s hard, but so good for them to share the ease and joy that they have grown up with thus far. Adam and I aren’t just signing up for this journey, our children are. We are asking them to share, and make room for kids who have been broken. It’s a big ask.
For now, we’re taking one day at a time. Which isn’t hard honestly. The adoption process is painfully slow. But maybe that’s a good thing? We’ll have lots of time to prepare for one of the biggest decisions of our lives.