A lot of people do not like to talk about the processes of adoption because it can be very personal and it is not always smooth sailing, which can be difficult to handle personally and adding peoples questions and opinions (wanted or not) can make things even more challenging and emotional at times. However, from day one we have been wanting to be very open with our journey, a journey that isn’t always filled with uplifting moments, a journey that will be challenging and a journey that will be relying on faith.
We had our first home visit a few months ago and although we were very happy to be starting this journey, it isn’t always full of smiles and excitement. The first visit was probably the first time through our process, and surely hasn’t (and won’t) been the last, we were slapped in the face with the brutal reality adoption can have. I want to be real, I want to be honest, I want to share our story for multiple reasons but through it all I want to have a voice for topics of womanhood and family, that for some reason are taboo to talk about in society.
It started with an email. “I’m looking over your profile and I see here your paperwork states you are interested in a child 8 and younger. Our agency is only accepting families that are willing to service children 8 and older. I want to be sure we are on the same page before I come to the visit tonight.” As I read the email my heart sank and mind began to fill with wonder, “What does this mean? Will we not be able to proceed? There are kids on the adoption site that are under 8! Five of them added just this week! I checked this morning and there were two new ones since yesterday! They need homes too don’t they? They are under 8! Statics say that over 100,000 children are waiting to be adopted and the average age is 7.9 years old, we are meeting in the middle right? How can they tell us they will not work with us if we are not open to an older child? Are we making a mistake going this route to adopt vs. other options out there? Should we look into another agency?”
I knew what I wanted to say. I knew how bad our hearts were set on this age range, but before I quickly responded, I had to take a step back. Taking a step back and taking a breath, I reached out to Brandon on his thoughts, reminding each other that his path is being led by our faith in the Lord. I also reached out to the support staff for adoption through our church. She mentioned that she just received word all the agencies in the area just changed this as a policy within the last month or two. After looking at this in a different way we responded back to being open to children older than 8 but we have a strong preference of a younger age.
That night our licensor came into our home for the first time, and we were over loaded with mounds of paperwork to fill out, things to gather to hand in for our profile and a “to-do” list if you will to prepare our home and our selves to adopt a child out of the foster care system. Reminding us once again that they would not work with us if we did not widen our age range, so filling out paperwork we expanded on our desire to 0-10 years old. While she presented us with all this information she threw in questions from time to time and took notes on our answers, all a very weird feeling.
One of the questions I very distinctly remember her asking was “Why do you want to adopt out of foster care?” After we replied with our answer she responded with “Ok, I always like to ask that question because most people say they want to give a child a family and love they don’t have. The reality is most kids in care DON’T want to be adopted, they don’t want your love and they don’t want a new family, they want the family they once had. They will not welcome you as their parents and they will push you and they will hate you. As bad as that may sound, its not all rainbows and butterflies and I want to be very up front about that.”
Well, if that wasn’t a gut punch and a reality check, I’m not sure what was but in that moment Brandon and I looked at each other and smiled. He squeezed my hand as we both gave each other a little nod. And there it was, just what we both needed, non verbal communication that we were in this. We were still in this together, relying on our faith that this is the route we are being led down.
Through the next following minutes I checked out of the meeting. I heard what our licensor was saying and I was responding but my mind wasn’t there. My mind was with the kids. Their thoughts while in care. Their feelings. Replaying what she had just said. Although I can’t fully ever know how they must feel and know what they truly have gone through and will continue to go through for the rest of their lives, I felt like in the slightest way it could relate to coming from a broken home as a child.
There I was no older than 6, in the back of the car riding from my moms house to my dads and stepmoms house for the weekend, angry and confused. I loved my mom and I loved my dad and stepmom but my heart was sinking. I didn’t want to go over there one bit. I wanted my dad to live with me. I wanted my parents together. I knew they were not a good fit together, in fact I had never even known what it was like for them to be together. I knew my stepmom took good care of me and I loved her too but in my gut I hated it. I was angry and frustrated that this was my life.
I can only imagine that this feeling is a fraction of how our future child will be feeling. Knowing that we care for them, knowing that we love them, knowing that our home is a better environment for them, knowing…. but for some reason knowing isn’t enough. Wanting with a strong desire something else, their birth family. Wanting so bad that they are angry and confused. If this analogy is any way in the slightest form of what they may be thinking and how they may be feeling, I pray. I pray that God will provide our future child, Brandon and I comfort and understanding. I pray for strength and courage. I pray our future child will heal and their wounds will mend over time as mine has. Over time, realizing and loving that we…..we are family.