This is the third and final installment of our story so far. If you haven’t yet, check out parts 1&2 before reading.
When thinking about and discussing adoption, both David and I felt strongly that we would adopt within the United States. There are so many children within our own borders without families. The numbers and statistics are staggering.
At the CAFO summit we attended in 2015 (see last blog), my eyes and my heart were opened to the idea of adopting waiting children out of foster care. As I said, the statistics were staggering. I’m not going to go into the specifics, but the heartbreaking number of children in foster care and the bleak outcome for most of their situations stirred my heart. Both David and I walked away from that weekend knowing that we one day wanted to be foster parents.
One of the very encouraging things I learned that weekend was that adopting waiting children out of foster care is extremely affordable – free even! In some cases the state even pays for the child’s college tuition. Because the cost of adoption scared me, I was so drawn to the idea of adopting out of foster care. That isn’t the only reason I felt drawn, but I’ll admit it was a huge part of it.
There was this part of me that was SO afraid of the cost of adopting an infant that I wanted to completely drop that idea and instead pursue adoption through foster care. But I knew that it was God who placed the desire in my heart for a baby. Since I was 17, I have had dreams that I was holding a baby in my arms.
In the state of Alabama, they have a rule that you cannot adopt until you’ve been married for three years. Well, David and I felt that we were ready to start the process long before that deadline! We just celebrated our 2nd anniversary in February, so we would still be waiting if we were still living in Alabama.
God brought us to Connecticut with perfect timing. As we unpacked and got settled into our new home and new community, I started to feel a tug on my heart. I started to hear a whisper that now was the time. And for some reason I ignored it. People would ask if we were planning on starting a family, and we would always answer yes, that we were planning to adopt. But I didn’t take any real steps in that direction. I made excuses as to why I hadn’t: I was too busy, still looking for a job, etc.
In January our church held 21 days of prayer. And during one of the services, those in attendance prayed over us and over our future child. It was such a powerful moment for me as I felt God wrap his arms around me and tell me that I had all the support I needed. Don’t be afraid. Now is the time.
But it wasn’t until February, during one of our small group meetings that I made the decision to start pursuing adoption. We are studying through the book of James using video lessons from Francis Chan. He was talking through James 1:19-27. The bulk of the lesson was focusing on being slow to speak and slow to become angry. Our discussion seemed to be centered around struggling to control our tongues and to be patient with others. But during the entire meeting, I was stuck on the last verse:
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress…”
Why, after knowing that we wanted to adopt and after waiting to be in a place that we could start the process, was avoiding it? Why was I running from my calling?!
The same day, I saw a video online of a young couple meeting their adopted infant in the hospital for the first time. I cried uncontrollably. The video had been posted by an adoption consulting agency out of Georgia, and after looking into them a little further, I decided to reach out. And now we are officially starting the process with that agency, Faithful Adoption Consultants.
I will tell you, I struggled with our decision to pursue domestic infant adoption. I felt completely selfish for wanting a baby after hearing the stories and statistics of children in foster care. I wrestled to the point of making myself sick. And then every time I thought I was okay with the idea of raising and spending the money, someone would tell me or David a story of how they know people who adopted infants out of foster care; babies that they brought home from the hospital and ended up adopting. Yes…that does happen, but there is no guarantee that it will. You cannot become a foster parent and specify that you are only open to taking infants. And even then, there is no guarantee that you’ll have the opportunity to adopt them.
But again, I let these stories impact me and I let myself slip into the mindset that my desire for an infant was selfish. Oh, how I struggled with this. I cried. I beat myself up. Why should I ask others to help me fund a $45,000 adoption?
After a lot of tears cried in guilt, I prayed for guidance. “God please show me what to do. And if we are not supposed to to have a baby, please take away this desire that I have for one.”
After my pleas to God were met with even more dreams of me holding a baby in my arms, I sought the advice of family and friends. During one conversation, after I’d shared my feelings and poured out my heart, my friend said to me, “Amber…I see what you’re saying, but I don’t think you should feel guilty about wanting a baby. After all, we are asking women to please not have abortions. We ask them to consider life and adoption for their babies. Well, who is going to adopt their babies?”
It was that conversation that settled it in my heart. David and I will adopt a baby whose brave birth mother chooses life. I have peace now that we are making the right decision, even though the cost is still daunting.
This morning we received from FAC the checklist of things to be completed before we can become active clients waiting to be matched. It’s a lot, but I’m driven and excited to start working through everything. I also have a phone conversation scheduled with them on Friday to ask questions and talk through some things.
We have been able to raise almost $10,000 so far, which is amazing, but it is still just a drop in the bucket. We will be applying for some grants and doing many fundraisers I’m sure in the next several months. I ask you all to please be in prayer for us as we wade through the mounds of paperwork involved and as we try to come up with the remaining funds.
Speaking of funds, my next post will be about the costs associated with adoption. I know many of you have questions as to where this money is going and why it costs so much, so stay tuned!
Any questions or comments are welcome!