We knew before we got married that we wanted to adopt (in fact, I’ve known since I was about six years old that I wanted to grow up and adopt). We knew that we wanted two children, and we knew that God would bless us with at least one of them through adoption. We didn’t know then how he would bless us with the other one. He chose to bless us with Mister first, through natural means. So, when Mister was just five months old, we started exploring our options. We wanted our children to be close in age, so they could grow up as playmates and friends. We initially thought we would pursue international adoption. However, after running into multiple roadblocks (i.e. I have no fingerprints), we decided to pursue domestic adoption.
We attended informational meetings at five different agencies, and chose Lutheran Family and Children Services and on July 30, 2008 we sent in our Adoption Application. That night, I wrote a blog post, and asked my readers the following…
“So, would you like to do me a favor?
As you look at the picture of our family, please pray that the Lord would touch our future child’s birth mother and grant her health and wisdom. Pray that He will grant us favor and that in His time, He would direct the right woman to choose us to raise her child. Pray that the Lord would open the doors that need to be opened, close the ones that need to be closed, and help us to keep our hands off the door knobs.
Sixteen days later, on August 15th, I attended a Ladies Luau with the ladies from our church. A group of us ladies were chatting, and one of them commented on the number of pregnancies popping up (it was in the water). As she rattled off the names of the expectant mothers, she included my name. I looked at her quizzically, and she said, “Well, you’re paper pregnant, right?” That evening, I received a telephone call and was told that a family member was expecting and wanted to make an adoption plan. We were asked to consider adopting the baby. After much prayer, we knew that yes, we wanted to adopt the baby if they wanted to make an adoption plan.
We knew that adopting from within the family would present unique challenges, but we also knew that the typical couple does not receive a call with a match just sixteen days after submitting their adoption application. We serve an Awesome God, and we knew that He was opening a door for us, just as we had asked.
Sister was born on Valentine’s Day 2009. Our own little gift of love. I held her for the first time when she was just about six hours old. I jokingly say that my labor with her was ten hours, because that it how long it took us to drive to the hospital in Michigan, where she was born. When she was discharged from the hospital, we took her to the hotel where we had to stay waiting for our Interstate Child Placement Compact to come through. Missouri had to say it was okay to bring her home. Michigan had to say it was okay to take her out of state. And it was a holiday weekend. We didn’t mind, though, because it gave us time to bond as a family.
It is hard for me to believe that Sister will be three in just a few months (and Mister will be four in just four weeks). Time really flies when you have little ones! I can’t imagine my life without either one of my children.
As you may know, November is National Adoption Awareness Month, a month set aside each year to raise awareness about the adoption of children and youth from foster care. In 1976, then Governor Michael Dukakis announced an Adoption Week in Massachusetts, in effort to raise awareness of the need for adoptive families for children in foster care. The idea grew in popularity and national awareness, President Reagan declared National Adoption Week in 1984. President Clinton expanded it the National Adoption Week to the entire month of November in 1996. As President Obama said in his 2010 Presidential Proclamation on National Adoption Month, “Giving a child a strong foundation — a home, a family to love, and a safe place to grow — is one of life’s greatest and most generous gifts… Adoptive families are shining examples of the care and concern that define our great Nation.”
There are 2,036 children waiting to be adopted in Missouri alone. While not every family will feel compelled to add to their numbers through adoption, every family CAN do something to make a difference in the life of a child waiting to be adopted. Lutheran Family and Children Services (LFCS) has a virtual fund raising event in the months of November through December, called Light the Way. For each $10 donation received, a luminary will be lit on January 6, representing a child awaiting adoption. Funds raised will support the adoption and foster care programs and services of LFCS. Please consider giving, either by supporting the Light the Way campaign through LFCS or by calling your local foster care agencies or children’s home and see what needs you can fulfill.