We are officially able to be public with our news.....
WE'VE DECIDED TO ADOPT!!!
Adoption is something that Mike and I have talked about since before we were married. I think it's something we always knew we would do "in the future". Well, friends, the future is now. We have 3 healthy children that we totally adore and yet, our family doesn't feel complete. I knew I wouldn't be birthing any more babies - I'm soooo over that. So, obviously, adoption was a very definite option for us.
Sunday, November 8th, was Orphan Sunday and we had a big program that night at our church centered around Esther's House Orphanage and the Kennedy's trip to Malawi. That morning started off not so great. You know how the devil always tries to get his foot in the door on Sunday mornings? Yeah, he'd pretty much invaded our house that day. We were late for church and I ended up not singing in the choir, which is very unusual. Pastor talked that morning about how there's no clearer picture of the gospel than when adoption takes place. We are 'adopted' into God's family through our acceptance of Jesus, and what a beautiful picture of that when a family adopts a child. Adoption was very much in front of us as several of our friends have adopted and are currently in the process of adoption. I think subconsciously, it was something we knew was getting closer and closer for us, we just hadn't really talked that much about it and certainly hadn't made any decisions yet. Once the invitation was given on that Sunday morning, part of what Pastor called the people to pray for was whether or not it was in God's plan for them to adopt. Mike grabbed my hand and off to the altar we went to pray. It was a special time of us asking forgiveness of each other because of our attitudes that morning, but even through that, we felt God's stirring in us regarding adoption. We came home that afternoon and began to discuss what we felt like God was telling us and then had our Esther's House program that night, which just helped to solidify things even more. That week, we knew for sure that we were supposed to adopt.
But where were we supposed to start?
We pretty much knew international adoption was out of the question, purely for financial reasons. My heart has been tied to Africa since I was there in 1999, so if we were to adopt internationally, it would be from there. However, we really didn't feel like that's the direction we were supposed to go, financially restricted or not. We began looking into all of our options on what we could do. Like I said, several of our friends have gone before us in this process, so we had lots of resources for our questions. We looked at an agency that some friends have used and is a trusted agency. We looked at another local agency that does domestic adoptions. We researched just about everything and talked to just about everyone trying to decipher where we felt like God was leading us. We were blessed that some friends at church put together an Adoption Q&A meeting shortly after our decision to adopt. It was a very helpful resource for us as well. We contacted the AR Department of Human Services and requested some info from them as well. We learned they were having an informational meeting on December 3rd regarding foster care, fostering to adopt, and adoption through the state of AR. We went to that meeting as well. Once we left that meeting, I think both of us were very clear on what we were supposed to do.
We will foster to adopt.
The information we received in that meeting just about brought me to tears. In fact, it did the more I thought about it later. There are so many children, just in Arkansas, waiting for a Forever Family. And the statistics on what happens to these children if they are not adopted - it's devastating. The more we thought about it, the more we were certain to our bones that this is what God was directing us to do.
We are in no way assuming this will be an easy process. We know there will be challenges along the way and that there will be difficult times ahead. But regardless, we will not back down. We know that this is what God has called us to do, this is His will for OUR lives, and where He leads us, He alone will give us the strength to endure what He has purposed for us to do. And we know that in the end, we will have another member of our family, which will be worth it all.
So for now, we are just about finished with all of our initial paperwork and have a visit scheduled with a case worker on New Year's Eve. She will come to our home to "inspect" it and make sure that it's an appropriate place for a child. She will pick up our paperwork and then we will start some training classes. We have to go through about 6 weeks or so of classes and then proceed from there. I'm not sure yet of all the details, but of course, I'll be posting on things as they come up.
Our desire, and what would work in our home at this time, is to have another boy that's under 5 years old. We know that God has the perfect child ready for us. Please begin to pray that whatever child that comes into our lives will feel loved and accepted and that the transition would be smooth.
I will keep you updated on things as they occur. As for now, thanks for reading and for praying.