Monday, October 29, 2012

if only this was the truth

Oh man, I'm gonna make some enemies with this blog post.

Earlier this month, this post on who is called to adoption was picked up by LifeSite News. The comment section was full of people agreeing that we're called to care for the fatherless, but many commented that adoption was near impossible due to the expense, red-tape, and presumed "waiting line" for adoptive families.

This comment really stuck out to me:
This article is kind of strange to me. I thought it was only  the pro-aborts who are saying abortions are being done because us selfish pro-lifers won't adopt babies or children the well-know truth is that for every baby available for adoption, whether handicapped or not, there are at least 35 couples on the waiting list. I have been a hard working pro-life worker for almost 30 years. Once my husband asked me if I would adopt this baby whose Mom was not a good care-giver and single. If it would save her life. I said sure, I would. But, we have four of our own children and so many people have none. I couldn't/wouldn't be so selfish when there are so many couples who have no children and are waiting and waiting.
Although my heart longs for this to be true, sadly the reality is it's far from the truth. I'm sure the person who made this comment was well-intentioned and good-hearted. But my experience is this: there are many (although not nearly the statistics quoted above) families willing to adopt perfectly perfect children. By this I mean there are families willing to adopt Caucasian babies will no physical or mental health concerns and no history of any concerns even in the birth parent's extended families. Period.

The "waiting list" and "waiting and waiting" that couples go through when this is their plan for adoption is because the babies they are looking for are so few and far between. A baby with no history of any health concerns with their biological parents or extended family? Almost non-existent.

The truth is there are birth mothers who are refused adoption services because of the color of their child's skin and the reality that her child will be harder to place. Or babies that go straight from the hospital into foster care because the drugs in their system impeded any adoptive parents from taking them home. And babies that adoption professionals like me who have to comb the nation to find a family for because they have a medical diagnosis that no family wants to "take the risk on."

Every adoptive parent will tell you there is a form they fill out as part of the adoption process detailing what kinds of situations they are open to. This document is in the form of a checklist and includes everything: physical and mental health of the baby, birth parents, and extended family, exposure to substances, and race and ethnicity. I firmly believe that families need to thoughtfully and prayerfully consider these options. Most families can't check "yes" on all issues (and shouldn't) and are aware of their strengths and limitations. However, many are surprised what they are open to after being educated by their family physician, talking with friends and family who will offer support, and praying about how to open their hearts as wide as God's.

Ultimately I've found that this comes down to a control issue for parents. And one that we all struggle with. I would love to guarantee that my kiddos will be perfectly healthy and live a life with no pain of any kind. But I was not able to fill out a checklist for my babies when we got pregnant (based on health, color of hair, etc.) And even though we've been blessed with healthy kids, I know this could change in an instant. There are no guarantees in life and I have very little control when it comes to my kids.

And ultimately this isn't the gospel. God's plan for our kids isn't that they live easy, painless lives. His plan is for them to live to love Him and love others. Kids don't need to be "perfect" to do that well. As parents, our job is to steward the children we've been given no matter the hardships and heartaches that might arise.

Photo of Creed and his siblings by Tina Wilson Photography

Here's the bottom line: the more boxes on this list checked "no" means a longer wait. The more checked "yes" means many more situations available for an adoptive family to walk into. Many more babies available. Less of the obscure waiting line and more chances to say wholehearted yeses to God and His kingdom work.

There are not nearly enough adoptive families available to step into adoption where it's needed. Babies who are African American or minorities.  Babies who have been exposed to substances. Babies who have special needs. Babies who need homes and families and someone to love them.

God's heart for the orphan doesn't stop at healthy Caucasian babies. His heart is for all of them. If our heart is going to match the Heavenly Father's for his children, we'll be willing to say yes to all of them as well. When we say an unhindered "yes" to God, the only thing we'll be waiting on His timing.

10 comments:

  1. Interesting post, thank you for sharing! Is this pretty universal with international adoptions as well? I went to Africa this summer and did all I could not to bring every child home with me. One day I hope I will be able to :) - Laura http://mishsunshine.blogspot.com/

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    1. Laura - although I'm not as familiar with international adoption, I am pretty familiar with how families view adoption and their levels of openness here in the states. I think this is fairly representative across the board, although there are always exceptions! Thanks for your comment!

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  2. Susan! As a waiting adoptive family, our experience has been very different than this! We've specifically stated we're open to an infant of any ethnicity, either gender, with special needs, and up to 6 months old. We have our foster liscence, adoptive homestudy, and special certifications for drug exposed infants and infants with special needs. We're a young, educated, middle class, very loving family. Even still, we've waited more than a year already! We're a waiting family with two agencies (one in state and one out of state). If there are infants in need as you say, my goodness, where they? Let us know! Blessings :)

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    1. Hi Emily! I'm so so thankful for families like yours! So often this has more to do with connecting the dots so to speak between adoptive families and expectant families/children! You're not alone with families having similar experiences with working with smaller/local agencies who work with many adoptive families but not a lot of expectant/birth parents. When working with a multi-agency approach, those dots are connected easier!

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    2. This is so sad to hear. All of those families and babies unable to find each other. My hope is that someday it will become easier to match these families. We love the idea of CAC, but most families cannot afford consulting expenses on top of adoption expenses. Especially those of us who wish to adopt multiple times. We have been applying for several grants, fundraising etc. so if it becomes financially an option, we'd love to work with you! Thank you for responding :)

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    3. It is so hard to work within a broken system! Check that tab above: Why Hire An Adoption Consultant in case it might help! A lot of families using a consultant are actually able to save money but of course each family has to decide what's the best fit for them and where God is leading! Many blessings on your adoption journey! I'm so thankful for families like yours willing to step in and say yes!

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  3. Hey Susan, We signed on with CAC (and around 6 different agencies) as well as a few attorneys and one other agency not associated with CAC. We waited a total of two months, and ending up adopting our African American daughter with the agency not associated with CAC (though had quite a few potential opportunities pop up in that time). Although we adopted in so short of time, it seems as if we are the minority of people and friends we know who have/or are adopting (and are very open, as we were, in regards to ethnicity, gender, special needs ect). Granted, they aren't always doing a multi-agency approach as we were, however even with the agencies we did sign on with CAC, there always seemed (to me at least) more than enough families or too many, to present to each expectant mama that came through. I do agree that certain major special needs can be intimidating to some families, but so many agencies had lists of qualified families and not as many expectant mamas looking to place babies. But then again, that is only my personal observation as somebody not actually working in the adoption world. : )

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    1. Thanks for your insight! This blog was first posted in 2012 and I would say that now there is a greater need for families to step into harder situations as it relates to prenatal substance exposure and mental health issues in the birth family (a shift from families open to adopting minority children). We definitely still see the need from our end and want to debunk the myth that there are families on a "waiting list" so to speak for domestic adoption, specifically in these situations. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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