Considering Adoption?

In February my wife Allison and I started a 2nd international adoption, this time in Haiti. This was certainly a decision we did not enter into lightly. As a matter of fact, we reached the decision after months of discussion and prayer. As we began the process again, a ton of emotions and realities came flooding back for us. I think, even for those of us who have adopted previously, we fail to recognize some of the things that are part of the process. Some of them are trying, time consuming, frustrating and, truthfully, quiet stressful.

That's the very reason we believe that it is of greatest importance that you confirm God has called you to adopt. Without a calling, a direct vision from God, you will likely burnout and give up before the process gets moving well. I can tell you that so many times in our first process the thought crossed our minds. And, even now, we have struggled with it.

So...let me share some realities that you might not recognize in the initial stages of adopting or considering an adoption.

  1. It takes a TON of time! I'm not talking about the length of the process. (Though it will likely take an average of 18-24 months.) I'm talking about the time spent in paperwork, home visits, government filings, fundraising and more. THere are countless hours spent in details and stuff that seems crazy when you know the life of a child hangs in the balance.

  2. It will COST you. When we entered into our first adoption the cost estimate was roughly $25,000. As it stands today, we have spent just over $32,000 on Kaia's adoption. There is no doubt it will cost you more than you plan. If money is a touchy subject for you, then adoption will stretch you. But, let me be very Pastor Perry Noble often says, "If it's God's will it's God's bill". That's why you need to know God has called you to this. He will provide. Kaia's adoption is paid for! As a matter of fact, when we started her process we didn;t even have enough money for the initial fees and home study. But, God took care of it ALL! We are moving ahead with adoption #2 with confidence that God will do the same. Without a great measure of faith and trust in God, you will struggle.

  3. PEOPLE won't always understand! We had family that didn't understand, friends and folks in our church. People may not understand why you'd adopt if you're capable of having kids on your own. People will not always understand the cost. People will not always understand the reason why, especially when it involves becoming a mixed race family. People will question you. People will even discourage you. This past week we experienced intolerance of our mixed race family, a symptom of living in the south! You never know when it will show up, but this aspect of adoption does exist. That's why you must be sure you are called by God.

  4. It is an EMOTIONAL process. Emotions will go from one extreme to the other. From frustrations of paperwork, money and process to the grand day when you meet your child for the first time. The journey may include some disappointments...We have been through all of these. The process may be longer, shorter or more complex than you intended. You'll experience excitement, fear, anger, anxiety, sadness and most of all being overwhelmed with joy.

The key thing here is that you need to be dedicated, committed and strong. Without compromise, if you're married, you both need to be 100% sure you are together on the subject of adoption. You need each other's support! But, most of all, you need to know that God has called you to adoption. If you are working to accomplish a goal, a selfish ambition or working to make yourself feel adoption will not be a positive or fulfilling experience for you.

If you're an adoptive family, what things would you share with those planning to adopt or starting an adoption?