We loved our dear baby boy long before the very first time we heard his heartbeat (a good, strong 150 bpm). He was a “planned pregnancy” – as far as we mortals get to plan such things – by no means an “oops” as my siblings and I used to joke about each other when we were kids. We wanted to have a baby, and we wanted to get pregnant at a certain time, and by God’s grace, we did. The pregnancy was in every way normal. His birth didn’t go quite the way we planned – do they ever? Nonetheless he arrived safe and sound, and mom had no major or lasting complications. We wanted a baby and we got a “perfect” baby. (We have many dear friends for whom aspects of that story have not gone nearly as smoothly, and we long with them and pray along with them – we recognize that God chose to uncommonly bless us, and we’re grateful.)
Maybe it’s that precious little boy’s birth story that makes our second child’s story all the more surprising.
Why do you want to adopt?
There is no single, simple answer to this question, but it has been a dream for both of us since we were kids ourselves to grow our future families through adoption. Part of it is an awareness of the overwhelming need – there are so many millions of children in this world who are in need of parents, and we are parents with room for one or more of those children, in our hearts and homes. Simple math, right? Another reason is that we recognize that all adoption comes from loss. Some tragic circumstance – a death, an abandonment, another tremendously difficult set of circumstances – has resulted in each orphaned child being placed for adoption. We’ve had loss in our lives, too, and we want to be there for one or more of those children in their loss, both to nurture and love in the place of their natural parents (because it’s needed) and to strive toward understanding and healing together as we work to understand God’s purpose in those losses. There are plenty of other reasons, too.
Many couples struggle with infertility or other pregnancy problems and never seriously consider adoption, and that’s understandable to us. You can’t replace a lost child with another, and not everybody is called to adopt (though we wish more people who were open to it pursued it through the risk, expense, and uncertainty). We’re just sure that this path is God’s plan for us, whatever its outcome.
Don’t you want to have more children of your own?
We’ll be honest – we don’t like this question. Each adopted child, Lord willing, is very much a “child of our own.” Not “flesh of our flesh,” perhaps, but every bit as much a part of our heart and family as the ones who share our direct genome. What you probably really mean is, don’t you want to have more biological children? (As opposed to synthetic children, we suppose… haha.)
Don’t you want to have more children, um, the old-fashioned way?
Yes, if God allows. And we want to adopt more children, too. We are hoping for a “mixed family” where no one child “belongs” more than the others, even when they are not of the same ethnicity as us or each other. That will have its challenges, we’re sure, but they are important challenges to have.
Isn’t adoption risky/unethical/expensive/…?
There are a lot of reasons not to adopt, but as we step into the process we recognize it’s important to be aware that adoption – perhaps especially international adoption – has its potential pitfalls and shady corners. Additionally, we don’t purport to be “perfect parents” with clean family and health histories that make any foreign government fools for not freely giving us all their unattached children. In the end, there’s a chance we won’t end up with an adopted child at all – there are no guarantees. But we don’t doubt that, for now, this is how we have been called to “visit orphans” (more on that below). And if all goes well, we can’t say for sure what that child will be like, who he or she will grow up to be, or what struggles they will have. But then again, we can’t say any of that in advance for our “from mommy’s tummy” children, either, and we certainly aren’t about to turn them away based on that risk.
As far as the question of ethics, there can indeed be corruption in terms of the governments and money involved; there can be “child trafficking” as part of that corruption if due diligence hasn’t been performed to find or reunite a child with his or her natural parents, etc. There is the mostly inevitable loss of native culture the child will experience as they come under an American couple’s roof (no matter what country they reside in – since we don’t plan to reside in America). We take all of this very seriously, and we’ve done a good bit of research into this, and have chosen an agency we believe is doing their utmost to minimize or eliminate these shady corners by investing in family preservation in the child’s country of origin and thoroughly investigating each situation to the best of their ability. We can’t do this ourselves, so we have to trust somebody, but we really believe our agency has very high standards and motivation in this regard, and they are transparent about their efforts.
Is it expensive? Yes. But we believe God will provide – and is already providing.
What does it mean to “visit orphans”?
This phrase means very little if you’re not rocking James 1:27 in your mind whilst reading this long status update. While this verse has become rather hackneyed by virtue of the number of t-shirts it’s been printed on, I can take you back to the original languages (with the help of nerdy software, since my Greek is limited to spanakopita, si vous plait – wait, some of that isn’t Greek) and lay down for you what it really means to “visit orphans and widows.” I’ll spare you those details – though they are worthy of investigation – and say simply that “visiting” means more than saying hi and hanging out, but coming to care for and supply the needs of the ones (in this case, orphans and widows) being visited. There is certainly more than one way besides adoption to do this, but in terms of personal contact that takes responsibility to meet needs, this is a clear way the Lord has directed our family to visit at least one orphan. He no doubt calls us to “visit orphans” in a broader way (not to mention, widows aren’t easily adoptable, at least legally speaking), but for one child, and we hope more, our family (minus our infant son, who like other kids doesn’t get to vote on siblings) is drawn to this particular work, knowing that it will very much also “work on” us.
So… how’s all that going?
For security and personal reasons (some involving laziness), we aren’t publishing a blog or keeping regular updates on this site. We welcome you to sign up for our email list and you may get updates on our process that way – or for the modern uninitiated, consider speech and writing as forms of communication we would welcome. ;) We will try to keep the “big picture” progress up on this page, but don’t expect details here, or Facebook, or in other public venues. It may be counter-cultural, but it’s just not our “thing.”
Thanks for your interest, though, and I hope that if you know us, you’ll stay tuned to our email updates, which may be rare but filled with all the family and ministry search news (and witty banter) you can stand.
Until then… please pray for our second child, whomever he or she may be. This child may or may not be safe in whatever their current situation. They may not even be conceived yet, for all we know. But whatever their circumstances, there will be loss. We pray the Lord will keep our child safe and grow us to care for him or her in just the way that’s needed, and that He will get all the glory through the waiting and working to bring our child home.