I thought I should write a little update on where we’re at with our adoption, and take a minute to answer some of the big questions we’ve been asked lately!
Q: Where are you at in the process of adoption?
A: We have submitted 2 levels of applications, Jay and I were finger printed, all 5 of us had physicals, we’ve paid our first bill, we’ve been through 2 hours of training with our agency and have completed 15 hours of additional training on our own, we’ve handed in piles of paper work and are now waiting for it all to be processed. Once the fingerprints come back and all our references have returned the forms that were sent to them, we will officially be in the home study phase. Our next step will be an interview with a social worker in our home and for her to file a report. Then, we wait for a birth mother to choose our family and a match to be made.
Q: Haven’t you been talking about adoption for several years? Why has it taken so long?
A: We’ve been talking and praying about this since our 3rd child was born almost 6 years ago! For so many reasons our process has been delayed and moved slower than we would have liked. Part of it has been our own lives getting busy, part of it was spent searching for the right agency and wanting to make sure we had done our homework instead of going with the first agency we found, part of it was spending time exploring the different avenues of adoption (international, foster care and domestic) and figuring out which one would work for us. For whatever reason, we know God’s timing is perfect and are praying we move in the direction He has for us!
Q: Why are you adopting when you already have 3 kids?
A: Short answer, we’ve felt led to adopt. It’s not necessarily the easiest path or the one that makes sense, but it’s a burden on our hearts and a desire we’ve thought and prayed about for a long time.
We knew after our third child was born that we were done having biological children. After several years of infertility, PCOS, challenging pregnancies, c-sections, and a near death birthing experience, I felt at peace knowing I would not be pregnant again. Yet, saying “we’re done” always seemed way too final. We felt a need to leave the door open.
I think we’ve felt led for many reasons. We love our kids and love doing things together. We’ve been blessed with a loving church family and extended family. We’ve been blessed with a home that has plenty of bedrooms and extra beds. We’ve got plenty of extra love to share.
There are children all over the world that need loving families and safe homes to grow up in. So many people find reasons NOT to adopt. Why shouldn’t we say YES?
Children are precious and we have such a desire to put that belief into action. I know adoption is not something everyone is called to do or able to do, but everyone is called to care for those in need, in some way. If adoption is not something your family has been called to do, there are definitely other ways you can help. I included some of those ways in this post. Would you also consider praying for us?
Q: What agency are you using?
A: We’re using Bethany Christian Services. Originally, Bethany was a no brainer for us. I worked a bit with Bethany while studying Social Work in Grand Rapids, MI. Because of their headquarters being here in Michigan, they have a very large presence in our area and are well known and respected. We did a lot of searching and contacted several other agencies in our area but found Bethany to be the best local option for us.
Q: What age of a child are you hoping to adopt?
A. We will be adopting an infant, most likely straight from the hospital. Though, we are open to a child up to the age of 4, to stay with the natural birth order of our kids.
Q: Do you really want to go back to the baby stage?
A: Honestly, the idea of having an infant again is exciting and stressful at the same time. There are parts of having a brand new baby that are so wonderful. But, with my kids all the ages they are now, I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t miss the level of freedom we have from sleepless nights, baby gates and potty training! But, those feelings are no different than how I felt each time I was pregnant. I think they’re natural feelings for every expectant parent to have.
Q: What made you choose domestic adoption vs. foster care or international?
A: We were basically disqualified from international adoption right away based on our annual income. Each country sets it’s own income requirements and we fell short of most of them. So, we were originally on track to adopt out of foster care and I totally had my brain wrapped around the idea of adopting a toddler. For various reasons, those doors were shut and the opportunity to do a domestic infant adoption was presented to us. I had always heard there was such a need in the foster care system and I wanted to help where there was the greatest need. I had also assumed domestic adoption was not for us. In my mind, “domestic” equaled expensive and a super long wait list filled with eager couples who were much more deserving of an infant than we were. We’ve learned that there is a huge area of need within domestic adoption.
Q: Do you know what gender or race you will adopt? What about special needs?
A: We’ve told our agency we are open to any child that is available and needs a family. We really haven’t given any stipulations or requirements, our arms are open to whatever child God chooses for us. What we’ve learned is that many couples are waiting for a specific gender, skin color and extensive list of other physical and mental requirements that will lengthen their wait. We’ve been told that among the 30 something families that may be waiting at a time, only a couple of them are open to any gender and race. What that means for us, is that as soon as our home study is complete, we could get a call from the hospital the next day.
Q: So does that mean you might be adopting a baby of a different race or ethnicity?
A: There is a good chance we will, but really, we have no idea! It was interesting to learn that it is split 50/50 among white and black babies placed through our agency. Because of living near such a large metropolitan area, the possibility is there for a wide range of ethnic backgrounds. What I like, is knowing the birth mother has to CHOOSE us for her baby. No matter what anyone else might think, I’m happy to know that the choice is hers. We’ve been doing our best to prepare for every scenario. Which basically means, we’re trying to be teachable and learn everything we can about black hair care, African American culture, reading first hand accounts of other transracial adoptees, following blogs by other families that have adopted transracially or internationally, and talking about it openly with our families.
Q: How are you planning on paying for this?
A: Honestly, we don’t totally know. We have some money set aside in savings and my blogging income, but this is the part we are most nervous about. We have felt led this far, but boy, oh boy this is not the route we would have chosen for ourselves! Honestly, I figured we would adopt from foster care partially because I knew it was the least expensive. Why did it work out this way and why did we end up heading in the direction of domestic adoption? I don’t know. I do know that God is in control. I also know there are large tax credits that will come available. There are also several organizations that provide matching grants and fundraising opportunities that are tax deductible for anyone that feels led to contribute. However, we cannot officially apply for these options until our home study is complete. This is a huge area of need and I would love to know you are praying for us in this!
Q: How do your kids feel about adopting?
A: They are very excited! They have so many questions, but at this point, we have very few answers. We’ve tried to discourage the questions and encouraged them to be patient with us and ready for anything!
Please pray for us as we wait! For more information on Bethany Christian Services and the various opportunities they provide for orphan care, visit their website: www.bethany.org