Our Adoption Story
In November of 2008, there was a presentation during a Sunday morning service at our church that was explaining the C.A.L.L. and what they were doing in Central Arkansas. I remember there was a video and someone shared a little. The C.A.L.L. stands for Children of Arkansas Loved for a Lifetime. It is a christian non-profit organization created to be a liason between christian families wishing to foster and/or adopt and the state (DHS). I can still remember the feeling that I felt that day. Something was born in my heart. It was that day that God began to tug at my heart concerning his desire for us to adopt. That same day the Heart Gallery was at our church as well. This is an exhibit of professionally taken pictures of children currently in foster care in Arkansas who are elegible to be adopted at that time.
In January of 2009 Robert and I went to an informational meeting about the C.A.L.L.. This meeting was the first real introduction to how fostering and state adoption worked. So, it was very overwhelming and a lot to take in. We were not ready to take any steps forward at that point, because we had a lot to process. I remember I wasn't even sure if God was calling us to foster or to adopt, because I knew very little about it. One thing I was sure of....God was working in my heart and leading us in this direction.
Several months went by. My ears were more alert to conversations around me concerning fostering and adoption. I heard a lot of stuff that scared me. I was able to convince myself that all kids in state custody were bad, with mutiple issues and problems that would for sure be harmful to my household. Then one Sunday I was volunteering for childcare in my 3 year old's Sunday school class and God showed me otherwise. There was a little girl in his class that I had not met. She had a very sweet tempermant and was also very pretty. I remember thinking that her parents must be a new couple in the church and that I looked forward to meeting them when they picked her up. When it was pickup time, all the parents started coming. I told the other lady working that I did not know her parents, so that she would have to tell me who they were. I was surprised when she informed me that the little girl was in the custody of a private adoption agency and was not at church with parents. God woke me up that day to the truth about fostering and adoption. I could feel His peace coming over me, assuring me. Yes, it is vey easy to stereotype children and say that children who are in state care have problems. BUT that is not always the case and every child is unique and every situation is different. God gave me the hope that day that if he was calling me to adopt, he will take care of me and my family. I would have been willing to take that little girl into my home that day, if that had been His plan, with no fear or hesitation. That situation gave me the peace that I needed to continue to pursue state adoption.
In June of 2009 I went on a mission trip to Peru. Want to guess where we spent most of our time ministering that week? Yep, we spent the week at an orphanage there in Cajamarca. My heart swelled for these children. This may sound dramatic, but I could almost feel that little piece of my heart that desired adoption growing. That experience was like water, sunlight, and even some Miracle-gro to that tug that He put there. Isn't it cool how God uses all different experiences in our life to bring us to where we are today. He always has a plan.
In January of 2010 we went to another information meeting for the C.A.L.L. because it had been a year since our last one and we had not been ready to start the process then. I knew that we were now ready. It took us a year to get to the place where we were ready as a family to move forward. We went through the trainings, filled out the paperwork, etc. The C.A.L.L. coordinator helped us every step of the way. All of our trainings were done by christian women and men, all in a church setting.
Now, March of 2011, we are officially open to "foster to adopt." Does this scare me? Does this make my heart jump? YES, yes, yes!!!! I doubt myself and my ability to raise more children all the time. What if the child has more needs than I can handle? What if God calls us to adopt a sibling group? What if my life is never the same and I secretly regret adopting? My list of "what-ifs" could go on and on. But, you know what......God has not called Robert and me to adopt by ourselves. Luckily, our God is not someone who gives orders from afar and then sits back to see if we sink or swim. Yes, I can't raise multple children by myself successfully. But as Christians, God equips us with tools to do amazing things through Him. It's actually pretty cool. See, anyone who knows me, knows that having more children will be a challenge. I can easily get flustered with the two I have (and they are both great kids, may I add). But when we step out on faith, that is when God gets to work........and God gets the glory! If I know that God has told us to do this, then I am doubting His ability and not my own. I am excited about our future, because I know that there are many blessings ahead. You know, the untangible kind. Those are the best!!
1. Why have you guys chosen to go through state adoption and not private adoption? I know that God works through both state and private adoptions and His plan is different for each family. We are not adopting to fulfill a desire that we have to start a family. God chose to bless us with two biological children, so that desire has been fulfilled for us already. God is calling us to adopt, because of a desire that a child has somewhere right now to have a family. We want to fulfill that desire for a child/children. Does that make sense? If circumstances had been different, than private adoption might have been right for us. But, in our situation, God has called us to adopt through the state.
2. Would you be willing to adopt a sibling group and what ages? We are willing to adopt a sibling group of no more than two and they would both need to be under the age of our existing children.
3. Would you consider fostering? At some point when our children are older, we might consider fostering, but at this time adoption is the only option open to us.
Whenever I start doubting God, He reminds me of Jeremiah 29:11.
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."