I've had a couple friends ask me what the first steps are in the adoption process.
Well, let's begin with the fact that Travis and I barely have our toe in the water. So, we are not experts. We don't even have our daughter home yet as I write this.
But, we did spend a lot of time in research mode. Part of that long time was the fact that I was still bent on S. Korea. Until we let that go, I had lots of back/forth on finding out that S. Carolina and S. Korea didn't seem to be BFFs. I'm guessing they figured out where South Carolina ranked in school systems. I'm joking...kinda.
Anyhow, I had no idea what people meant by "do your research". But, picking and agency and filling out an application the next day, wasn't quite our path. Six months later, I see why; but at the time it seemed crazy.
When God called us to this journey, we spent a lot of time in prayer and discussion together. I also dug head first into every type of agency I could find. Then we were sort of directed to more of what I call our "ransacking of our hearts". The first, aforementioned, "ransacking" was not of just of our decision to adopt. It was a challenge to further align our hearts into God's word and understanding of who God is and who we are and get to be because of who He is.
Drumroll, please: Reclaiming Adoption by Dan Cruver.
After reading this, we really believe God was calling us to a bigger journey than just pursuing our daughter.
We kept digging and read Orphanology by Tony Meridia and Rick Morton.
Followed by Adopted for Life by Russell Moore.
This is not your typical adoption writing. Yes, this writing will continue to challenge you to care for orphans through various avenues; but for us, it was more an essential realigning of our core theology.
Then we attended the Pure Religion conference and heard a mix of excellent biblical teaching and practical adoption information.
We met lots of agencies. We learned more about Lifesong and Abba Fund. We listened to adoptive families. We met a teenager who had been adopted as a baby with cleft lip. We were just there to absorb. And pray.
We continued our agency search, and I was frustrated. I had no idea why we could not pick one. But, at the time, we didn't even have the $500 saved up for application fees, etc.We also were just living a busy life with our boys, etc. But, we were starting to get better at asking questions. We realized what mattered to us. Program details? Do we carry cash or is it wire transferred? Can you accept money from a non-profit that we raise funds through? Who would I talk to on a daily basis for details from your agency? How smooth things ran. How quickly we were responded to. How much information could we get? Who would help us through our special needs form? What forms do we need to collect? How many adoptions from this country have you completed? What is your wait time? How do you determine match process? Finally we were learning what it all meant.
We thought we had landed on an agency in October, and this is an agency we really love and respect. But, we realized a few weeks after mountains of initial paperwork that God was leading us in a new direction. We see why now; but at the time, it was still an odd feeling.
We continued to read blogs, read books,etc. We were kids in a candy store attending Together for Adoption National Conference in AZ in October after winning tickets through Lifesong.
In November, we dug back into researching agencies. Suddenly, we were in a large group of connected families and had water falls of information flowing our way. We were settled on our decision and excited. I still know that a lot of our back and forth is that we thought we were going one way and wanted to turn over every rock to be sure we were needing to change course.
My twitter and facebook feeds are full of adoption news. In our world, everyone is adopting or has adopted. In our world, "everyone" is reading theology on adoption and facing the realities of the hard work. In our world, "everyone" reads all the Together for Adoption posts and Rage Against the Minivan is in our RSS feed.
In the mean time, our fundraising was taking off, our missional community was growing, and the call to be a voice for the orphans was stirring in our hearts daily. Now we felt poised and ready to take our first real steps in solidifying our time frame for our homestudy.
We linked up with 147 Million Orphans and Just Love Coffee.
We receive(d) messages weekly that we "are being watched" by friends who hope to adopt someday, too.
I look back over it and still see that I would have loved to say that our daughter is almost on her way home; but I see God's hand and thumb print on each month and day of our lives over the last few months. I hear the call daily. I feel the nudge. We've absorbed as much as possible at this time. We have discussed, and we have prayed. We can now rest in the timing. We also feel very confident in our agency(ies) and decisions.
I hope that other friends of ours don't have to spend so much time in research mode; but we are grateful for what we've learned so far....
And we are coming, Baby! You are loved. You are our daughter already. You are a Carpenter and you have two brothers. Every day, you will here that we love you and you are our daughter. Every day, you will hear about your Abba Father who we merely reflect in all humility and grace to as we navigate our own horizontal adoption and redemption.
P.S. Your Grandma Miner really wants us to name you already; but we want to see your face. But, know that the orphan stigma in your country that brings devastation and social scrutiny for life has been defeated and will be sealed to defeat soon.