Sunday, July 31, 2011

Understanding the Call

This wasn't about just adding a baby, though. It was about feeling that we had room in our hearts and a home for a child that needed us. And so we began investigating the process of adopting a child. Our youngest was 6 years old and we felt strongly that we couldn't add a child to the family that wouldn't be younger than he. We also asked ourselves some hard questions about ethnicity and special needs and forced ourselves to find honest answers about what sort of child we truly felt we could offer the support they would need. We scheduled a meeting with our pastor, without disclosing the topic. Mr D made a few phone calls to major domestic adoption agencies. The response to the first one was eye-opening.

It was the week after Christmas, and Mr D reached an employee at a faith-based adoption agency and explained that we felt that God was leading us to open our home to a child in need of one. Initially pleasant, the employee asked a few demographic questions about our family. As soon as she learned that we already had three children, her attitude changed abruptly. We should pray about this some more because we clearly had misunderstood. Adoption cost a lot of money and time and was a big business. As people without fertility issues who did not feel equipped to take on a "special needs" case, we were not good candidates for their agency.

Wait, what? We're experienced parents and that's a bad thing?

As time went on, we came to understand where the employee was coming from. She had a waiting list full of infertile couples desperate for a "healthy white baby." If all we wanted was to add a baby to the family, we would be much better served to just try to get pregnant.

We met with our pastor and she was enthusiastic. At the end of our meeting, she urged us to let God work for a while. She would make some contacts she had aware of our existence and we should simply wait it out a while and see where things went. We registered to attend a "Wait No More" event, a day-long program aimed at encouraging families to consider adopting older children (over age 8) in the foster care system; although we didn't believe we would adopt a child of that age any time soon, we decided to open as many doors as possible and see what came in them.

Wait No More changed the direction of our journey. We realized that day that one of the greatest needs in foster care was one we felt we could meet -- a willingness to foster (and possibly adopt) sibling groups.

Four months after that Christmas Eve, we signed up for training as foster parents and began the journey to open our home in a different way than we first imagined. I once said to Mr D that the reason he felt the call was that he would have talked me out of adopting; we now believe he felt called to adopt because he would have ignored the call to foster. The Lord has let us along this path with the baby steps we needed to take to get where we were always meant to be: welcoming young children in sibling groups of two or three into a safe place when they are at their most vulnerable.

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