Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A journey begins...



See these papers? They will dramatically change our life as we currently know it. What are these papers, and how can they change your life so dramatically, you ask? I'm glad you asked. These are applications for us to adopt a child or children from the foster care system. Yes, we have finally decided to get the ball rolling and persue a lifelong dream for both of us.

I remember watching 20/20 on Friday nights with my parents while a young teen. At that time, reporters were uncovering the atrocities of Romanian orphanages. I remember 6 year old children, with atrophied muscles and hollow eyes laying in cribs for months on end, with little attention or affection shown to them. Six year old children, the weight of my 13 month old, who could not walk, simply because nobody had taken the time to show them or allow them out of their "cageg". I've always had a soft heart for the "underdog" and children. I've always loved the idea of adoption, perhaps because I grew up in such an amazing family, full of love, affection and affirmation. I longed for all children to experience that. When Matt and I first started dating, one of the major questions I had for him was a potential "deal breaker"...how did he feel about adoption? He was very much in favor of it and had wanted to adopt as an adult for a while. It was even greater confirmation that he was the guy for me! Fast forward about 3 years. We are happily married, but have not yet chosen to start our family. We attend a meeting through the county for potential foster parents and adoptive parents. We love it. We are unsure of the timing, but glad for the information, as it confirms what we have felt for years. A year later we are pregnant with Rylee, our oldest, and choose to put our adoption plans on hold until we feel the timing is just right. About 3 years later, Noah joins us. And almost 3 years after that, we welcome Gracyn, now 13 months.

When Noah was quite young, I was ready to begin the process of adoption, but Matt thought it might be best to finish our biological family first, then adopt. I definitely wanted him to be completely on board when the time came, so I waited it out. About a year or two ago I began praying that if my timing was off and we were supposed to wait, that God would change my heart. I also prayed that if we were to start the adoption process now, that God would change Matt's heart. Last Friday evening, while working on his sermon to be preached on Sunday, Matt turned toward me and said, "I'm ready to adopt now." Just like that. I think my mouth hung open for a bit before I said, "What?" He repeated himself and I asked, "What changed? Where did this come from?", to which he replied, "It just breaks my heart to wait any longer." Oh my goodness, here we go!

This past Sunday we shared with our family our intentions. They were full of questions and excitement. Monday morning I called the county. It was initially a bit discouraging to hear that almost all the children currently legally free for adoption are quite older with severe emotional, physical or mental issues. We were strongly encouraged to do foster care and find our child through that avenue. While I have the utmost of respect for foster parents, I'm not convinced that its a road God has called us to right now. We are considering possibly doing short term "respite" or "vacation" care. We'll see. However, we did learn something. Just prior to the county going before a judge to request that parental rights for a child be revoked, that child has to be moved into a foster home with the intention of adoption, if their current home will not be adopting them. Then, the jusge can terminate their parental rights, making them legally free for adoption. Its necessary for us to be foster care certified first, and the process is initially the same whether we choose to do foster care, adopt, or both. So, yesterday we got these papers in the mail. They are 99% filled out, and will be notarized tonight. Tomorrow they are mailed back to the county and we should receive a call to meet with a case worker in about 2 or 3 weeks.

We will take MAP classes (Foster care training classes) for 10 weeks, while working on our home study. We will be interviewed, have our home examined, undergo medical exams, be fingerprinted, and fill out mountains of paperwork. About 6 to 8 months from now our home study will be complete, at which time we just wait to be matched. Its quite possible that within the next 12 months we will meet our future children.

We are so very excited to begin this journey. Our children share our excitement and have already began praying for their new brother or sister. Ideally, Matt and I would love to adopt a sibling group of two children, with Rylee remaining the oldest at 7 years of age. Likely, the child or children will not be a baby, but an older (up to age 7) child. If you think of us, pray that God brings us the perfect children and equips us to care for them and that we don't run into any major snags in the meantime. They say a long journey begins with a single step. These papers represent that first single step, and we could not be more excited!

1 comment:

Octamom said...

Congratulations on beginning the first steps toward finding who the Lord intends to add to your family-what an amazing testimony of faith and vision--just wonderful!

Blessings!

 

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