So if you have followed my blog for any length of time, you may know that for years we have tried to adopt a child. My husband and I have 3 healthy, wonderful, wild biological children, but I have always, always wanted to adopt. It was 11 years ago when our middle kiddo was an infant that we first began to get information on adoption. Originally we considered adopting internationally, but as time went on, we decided we felt called to adopt domestically from the states.
A little over 4 years ago, when our baby girl was 3 and the boys 7 and 9, we signed with 2 adoption agencies in the US. We were hoping for a baby girl.
After waiting 2 years and not being selected, we decided to try to adopt a toddler from the foster care system instead. We did the classes. We spent the time. We spent the money. We waited and waited. We were asked to foster countless times, but we really felt we were called to being a permanent family for a child. We did NOT feel called to foster (God bless those that do). So we waited and waited and waited.
This past fall was 2 years of waiting to adopt a healthy girl, of any race, under the age of 7 from foster care. We just did NOT have it in us to wait anymore. After a total of 4 years of praying and believing God and involving our other 3 kids and fingerprinting and social worker visits and profile books and costs and tears and disappointments and close calls and closed doors and hours and hours of training…… my hubby and I were done.
It’s been 4 months since we decided not to renew our license.
And it still stings.
Since letting our foster/adoptive license lapse, we’ve gotten into our groove of just accepting that our family may stay the 5 of us forever. But I don’ t know that it will ever FEEL RIGHT. Do you know what I mean? We were so sure God had called us to adopt. Even though we have accepted where we are, it still doesn’t mean that we like it or that we understand it.
And well-meaning people do not understand it either.
Let me first start by saying that I have miscarried twice. And people said silly things then too. Sometimes they just DO NOT KNOW what to say and their heart reallllly is right, their words just come out wrong. In an attempt to make us feel better, they think they need to say SOMETHING and it just doesn’t come out it a way that feels good to the receiver. Do you know what I mean?
Well, trying so hard to adopt a child for 4 lonnnnnnnnnnnng years feels very similar. It feels just as confusing and painful as my 2 miscarriages did. And people say just as many awkward things.
Surely my husband and I are not the only ones who have tried to adopt and couldn’t/didn’t? Perhaps you know another couple who are in the same boat? In an attempt to protect the hearts of every other family out there like us who has tried to adopt, may I offer you a list of things just NOT to say to them?
- “Just be happy with the kids you have.” If I had a dollar for every time someone has said this to me. Of course we are happy with the kids we have. We love kids which is why we wanted more. Would you say that to someone who miscarried or couldn’t get pregnant again? No.
- “Maybe you should just get pregnant again”. Ummmmmm, no. That’s crazy talk right there. First of all, at 43, I am just not up for it. I’m pretty sure I have old eggs. lol. And, we do not want a newborn, but a child closer to Ava’s age. And we never wanted another biological child; we wanted to ADOPT. We wanted to be a permanent family for a hurting child. Getting pregnant totally misses the point.
- “Well obviously it wasn’t God’s plan for your family.” This one makes me want to do some shin-kicking. Every single.step.of.this.process…. we prayed. We gave it to the Lord. We asked Him what He wanted us to do. We thought we were obedient. We had confirmations. We thought we heard Him. We believed it would happen. We prepared. We planned. To say we did all that and then for you to say it WASN’T God’s plan insinuates we heard wrong. Or that we were not obedient. Or that God told us one thing and then He did another. None of that makes us feel better. I’m not saying it isn’t an accurate statement, I’m just saying it stinnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnngs. It’s adding insult to injury. Just don’t.
- “Everything happens in God’s timing”. hmmmmmmm, ya think? Lol. Of course it does. But again, it implies that we were wrong. Or not in the right place at the right time. Or not ready. Or not SOMETHING. Talking about timing when we waited 4 years feels a little painful.
- “Maybe God was protecting your biological children”. Maybe. Totally a possibility. But maybe He would have done that BEFOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORE we felt like He asked us to start the process 4 years ago.
Listen, I have no idea why we were never selected to adopt a child. We gave it all we had and believed with all of our hearts that it would happen.
And I’m not mad at God. Or mad at the well-meaning people who say silly things. But may I suggest to you things that I wish you WOULD say to other people like my husband and I? These are the things that I appreciate so much when I hear:
- 1) I’m so sorry
- 2) I am so proud of you for trying
- 3) Do you want to talk about it?
- 4) Maybe just give a hug instead of words
- 5) or maybe just be present and don’t feel like you have to fill the awkward silence of a unrealized dream with saying “something”.
Cuz’ I don’t know why. And you don’t know why. We may never know why on this side of heaven.
And I think to try to rationalize it or quantify why God does what He does or to try to make sense of it all ends up minimizing Him to a level where we feel like it makes sense. And it hurts us….. even though I KNOW that is not most people’s hearts.
So, if you have someone in your life who has tried to adopt and not been able to for whatever reason, I hope you will on occasion, check in on their hearts. And I hope you will share this article with them. My heart is simply to educate you so that you can love on “them”. Because they may be hurting. And they may need a kind word.
And if you have been in our shoes, I’d love to hear about it with a comment below! I think so often we feel like it is only “us”. Everything feels lighter when you feel like other people get it.
Thank you for letting me share my heart,