The Road To Adoption
People hear these words and think one of two things, “That’s amazing!” or something along the lines of, “You better be called to do it, those kids all have problems.”
The road to adoption is imperfectly beautiful.
The road to adoption is imperfectly beautiful in more ways than I can explain. If I told you it was easy I’d be lying. If I told you it’s rainbows and unicorns, I’d definitely be lying. But it opens your heart in a way that causes you to grow in areas you doubted were possible or maybe didn’t even know you needed growth in. It is challenging yet exciting. Emotionally draining yet healing. Mentally exhausting yet refreshing. Some how through it all you continue to find renewed strength to keep going through the motions until to get closer and closer to hopefully meeting your child.
When God takes hold of your heart, He takes your whole heart.
I remember the day God put adoption on my heart. Better yet I should say when God took hold of my heart and allowed me to feel the pain and love He feels for the orphans of the world. And this was not the first time adoption had crossed my mind but it most certainly was the first time God affirmed it in my heart. I was driving home from my daughter’s 6 month appointment with worship music on the radio, singing my heart out. And in that moment God took hold of my heart and I began to sob uncontrollably. Not some tears, I’m talking full on ugly cry maxed out to 100. I pulled the car over because driving while crying ….well… you might as well drive blind folded. And it was in that moment of drowning tears pouring down my face that I felt as if my child was missing. A child I loved dearly and was my own. A child I knew better than anyone in the world. My child. God’s child. It was the feeling of panic, love and longing all at the same time. Imagine realizing you lost your wallet in a public place or your phone or something valuable. The panic begins to set in, you begin replaying everywhere you have gone or where it could be. Now imagine that panic, only you weren’t looking for a wallet or a phone. You were looking for your child. And the more that time passes the more you realize how much further you are from finding your child and you begin to want nothing more that to embrace your child again. To take away all their pain, suffering, hurt. PANIC. LOVE. LONGING.
Adoption requires patience.
Adoption has taught me patience in different ways over the past months.
Wes and I started the process to adopt in August of 2016 when we attended our first info session on adoption. Since then it has been loads of paper work and police record checks. It was only this year in January of 2019 that we were able to take our P.R.I.D.E training course and begin our home study. Let me explain because I know a bunch of you just read the words P.R.I.D.E training and went, “huh?”
Before you can adopt a child you need to be approved. So to make light of the process you start with an info session, then complete paperwork and police record checks, then you must complete your P.R.I.D.E training and home study. Once all of those things are complete and approved you will be placed on the waiting list to be matched with a child.
We passed our course! YAY!!
So what’s this training course thing then? Well, simply put, it’s a 10 week long parenting course. Not everyone adopting has had children before so this course helps prepare you for parenting an adopted child. And for those who already have children it helps add to the skills you have already learned with your own children and how to parent an adopted child with your own children and how it may look different for each child. To be completely honest, every new parent should have to take a course like this. The course covers everything from discipline to attachment parenting, behavioural issues and more.
Now this home study….Your home study sounds scarier than it actually is. While you are completing your training course a social worker comes and meets with you in your home every couple of weeks and will discuss topics you are learning in your course and is also checking to make sure your home is safe for a child. People hear this part and get a little freaked out. No, they are not going to pick apart your home and the second they see one wrong thing take your own children away. That’s not what this is about.
I want you to put yourself in the shoes of the social worker for a moment. Only I want you to pretend the child you are placing in the person’s home you are inspecting is your own child. You better believe you are going to make sure everything is in tip top shape before you leave your child to be raised in that home. There is no way you are leaving a child there if red flags start popping up. And that’s exactly what they are looking for, red flags.
And yes you better believe they are judging whether or not you are a fit parent. Remember, they are leaving “their” child with you. If I told you one of my friends was a good home for your child to live would you jump in your car and go drop off your kid? No! You most certainly would not. You’d want to see the place. It’s kinda like finding a good daycare for your child.
Adoption is an unravelling of your heart.
Adoption has been an unravelling of my heart in more ways than not. There is so much to our story that it almost feels like it’s impossible to write it all down. I’m going to get real with you all for a moment. I wasn’t always a Christian my entire life. I have been through physical and sexual abuse, made many mistakes of my own but somewhere along the way I reached out to God with the little I had left in me and He responded by restoring my heart and giving me a refreshed spirit. He responded with a plan for my life that was more beautiful than I could ever imagine. So when I say adoption is an unravelling of your heart, I mean literally. Yes, parts of the home study required us to unfold all of our family history and life stories; the good, bad and the ugly. And sure some of it for me is ugly, real ugly and we had meetings where I cried with social worker as I shared my past. But I’ve been reminded through this journey that God makes beauty out of ashes. And that’s exactly what He is doing.
A renewed look at the people you do life with.
Lets talk people. The people we do life with. It’s not practical to assume that everyone we do life with will share the same views on adoption as we do. The reality is everyone has their own beliefs, views and opinions. `We all come from different upbringings, lifestyles and households. Although we may want, in the depths of our heart, for those we do life with to be our biggest best cheerleaders along the way, the reality is it may not happen. And that’s ok. And of course it is disappointing and breaks a little piece of your heart but it forces you to seek out support from others. It forces you to grow your tribe a little bit bigger. And growth is good. I’ll admit sometimes it hurts but you heal and grow and blossom. And the truth is, those who don’t share the same views, beliefs and opinions will miss out on the beautiful blooming that will take place in your heart. But I’ve learned that God will bring people closer and distance those who aren’t worthy of holding your heart at different moments in your life. Sometimes it is seasonal, sometimes it’s forever. And that’s ok. Because growth is good. And that’s when growth happens.
Adoption is a journey of the heart.
To say adoption is an emotional journey is to say the least. I have been pregnant three times and lost a baby in between my two little ones and let me tell you the hormonal changes that occur in your body that are said to make pregnancy an emotional ride, has NOTHING on the adoption process. The paperwork, the in home checks, the blasts to the past with your social worker, the course, dealing with support and lack of support from all different avenues and directions is emotionally draining. I’ll be honest, we have had days where we want to throw in the towel, call it quits. But then God reveals another little piece of who our child is and restores our hope.
We are still on our journey to find our child. It’s been a long one but I feel closer than ever. It’s like that light bulb moment when you are looking for your lost wallet. You think of that one last place right before you’re about to give up. The spot you will end up finding your wallet. That’s where we are, that little light bulb of hope. Waiting for our child. You’ve looked everywhere else, we’ve gone through all the motions. Completed all the paperwork, taken the course, completed our home study.
So now we wait….
We wait for that phone call. A journey all in its own. You long for the moment you hear the voice on the other end of the line say, “We found a match for your family.”
So here we are, waiting…