Adoption has taught me a lot over the last two years and I feel like there are some things I need to share.
1. You have to be called to do it. There are some people, even friends of mine, that believe all Christians are called to adopt. I disagree. I believe all Christians are to CARE for widows and orphans and that might mean praying for adoptions, giving to families trying to adopt, encouraging these families, but I think you have to feel that it is something God has called you to and on the darkest nights when you wish you had never even heard the word adoption, that is when His calling will get you through the valley.
2. Dont be afraid if your husband doesnt "get it". I have never ever (and I have heard alot) heard of an adoption story where the husband was on board first. I am sure there are some, but the majority is the wife is called first. I am not sure why...maybe the maternal instinct? The more I talked about it, the more Greg dismissed it, BUT the more I prayed about it, the more I saw the Lord use other people's testimony ( in real life, on the radio, in news articles) to speak to Greg and soften his heart. I did show him THIS video when I felt he was close and I am pretty sure that was what pushed him on over to the dark side :)
3 .The only expectation to have is the unexpected is going to happen! Oh my word is this true. We went in wanting a baby boy and to be home by the end of 2010 with him. Our Gotcha Day will be in JUNE 2011 for a 10 year old boy and a baby girl! We have hit every bump in the road! Referral loss, Ethiopia became a two trip country, court hold ups, embassy snafu's..you name it, it has happened. I kinda wish I would have NEVER set any type of timeline in my head and never been so age and gender specific. I think it would have saved me a lot of heart ache and a lot of questions. ( See tip #1)
4. If you feel called DONT let money stand in your way! There are so many resources out there and God has just amazed us with providing just what we needed when it was due. The Levites had to step in the water before the Lord rolled the sea back....sometime ya got step first and trust Him to provide it.
5. Select your agency careful and pray about it. Alot. I didn't do this and God blessed us with an amazing agency and when I think of how little research I really did on them, I shudder at what could have been. I have heard stories and we watched in Ethiopia other agencies handle families and America World is top notch. Not only that, the families that are with AWAA are amazing. There are at least 10 woman, some I have never met, that I could call any time, day or night and they would pray and cry with me over our children. We have stayed up all night praying, we have rejoiced at kids coming home, at referrals, at court success. AWAA is a family and I am so proud and so glad to belong with them.
6. Dont let all the adoption literature scare you. If you get into this paperchase and start reading books and cases..it can scare your socks off! I agree there needs to be some preparation, BUT you also have to A) use common sense. B) trust the Lord for guidance with the children He has given you. If I took every possible symptom of a institutionalized child and compared it to my three home grown, well balanced, much loved children...they would have some of the symptoms! Wanna know why? Because they are kids and kids act like kids..and act out. and explore. and push boundaries. I am by no means saying throw out all the valuable resources, but don't let it terrify you either. There are a lot of worse case scenarios in those books.
7. Be ready to be changed. You wont see people the same any more. Or Race. Or social standings. You wont laugh at racial remarks..in fact they might even offend you. You wont look at materialism the same way. America drama isn't exactly entertaining after you witness extreme poverty first hand. You will cry more, you will pray more, you will sleep less and hopefully think about yourself less. God becomes closer and the world becomes smaller.
I have asked myself now that I have been through one of the more difficult adoptions our agency has seen, would I do it again if I knew how much it would hurt and how much it would consume our lives??
The answer is yes. One hundred times over yes.