If anyone ever tells you that life is linear and your plans always work out perfectly, don’t listen to them. If anyone ever tells you this about adoption plans, kick them in the shins and run away; that person can speak no truth.
We’ve been working on your sister’s adoption for over a year. A year of paperwork, stress, waiting, crying, praying. The truth is that we’re not much closer to bringing her home than we were when we submitted our paperwork six months ago. We’ve gotten word that the inter-country adoption agency is severely understaffed and long timelines (2 years) are being stretched to three years. They’re doing the best that they can but that means your sister might be home in 2015. We are devastated. Devastated for ourselves but more so, devastated for the children, including your sister, that will linger in institutions during the formative years of their childhood while families wait with bated breath to bring them home.
We started talking about what God’s plan for our family was. Does He really want us to get all this training, be so ready to parent, and then have to wait 3 years before we can start loving on a child and helping them heal from the hurts that life has brought them? Has God given us this crazy desperate passion to look after the orphan just to make us wait in agony for over 1000 days until we can parent?
The answer came back as a resounding, “NO!”
We’ve found a local agency that will license us to do a straight adoption out of the foster care system, while keeping our Thailand application active. So…if you’re keeping count, that means we’ve got two adoption buns in the oven and you’re our newest and quickest adoption bun.
Like I do, I started obsessively checking US foster adoption photolistings. I was haunted by the idea that you could be somewhere out there, waiting in a foster home, grieving the loss of your birth family, unsure of whether you’ll ever have stability, and a family that will claim you as their own. I know all the little Texas boys by name. It’s hard to not look at the little faces and read the little bios (“I like to play basketball and I don’t like to be alone”) and not fall hopelessly in love. It’s hard to not picture how every child could possibly fit into our family.
I’ve been thinking about your story, what you’ve been through, what you’ll go through before you can heal. Here’s what I’ve decided: Your story belongs to you. That stranger asking why you and I have different skin colors in the grocery store doesn’t have a right to know. My friends and your friends don’t have a right to know, unless you want them to. All people need to know is that you belong in our family.
As we’ve gone through this training, we’ve heard all of the worst case scenarios- kids who have been hurt so badly that they lash out using behaviors that are overwhelming and scary for parents. Throughout it all, though, I’m reminded of the post I wrote for Aunt Leah about how married people should work as a team. It’s the same for families. Dad and I will try our darnedest to use a team approach your behaviors and challenges. It won’t be Us vs. You, but we’re going to be on your side, trying to help you figure out why you’re doing that and how we can help you get better. You and us against the world, fighting those demons together. We want to advocate for you, guide you, cheer you on. We’re all on Team Wise.
Strangely, the domestic adoption process is almost more stringent than the international process. In addition to working full time, we’ve done about 12 hours (out of 40) of adoption training this week. Believe me, the irony of the adoption vetting process is not lost on us. You know kids love hearing their birth story, but we’ll get to list to you all of the Texas Minimum Licensing Standards that we complied with as fast as we could so that we could get to you.
While it feels like seemingly anyone (meth addicts, teenagers, irresponsible parents, etc) can have children, I’m laying awake at night worried sick about whether we’ll pass our fire inspection because we have cafe lights stapled to our ceiling. We have to discuss the lurid details of our sex life with a stranger; literally put our medicine under lock and key; get background checks on our friends; fill out mountains of paperwork.
People might ask why we’d bother for someone else’s kid, why we would go through the trouble of doing all this for someone who isn’t our flesh and blood. (If they ask this in front of you, they risk getting punched in a soft place.)
But the answer is easy.
People would do anything for their kids. You’re already mine and I haven’t even met you yet.
I’ll love you to the moon and back,
“A child born to another woman calls me mommy. The magnitude of that tragedy & the depth of that privilege are not lost on me.”