As November is National Adoption Awareness Month, I thought I'd recap our most recent adoption for you. If you've been here long, you already know this story, but I'm going to retell it anyway! I get a lot of questions about the fost/adopt process and what it entails so I hope this will help.
We began our fost/adopt process in 2011. We had already used a local agency called Chrysalis House for our international homestudy during our first adoption, and were so happy with the experience, and with our social worker, that we decided to use them again for fost/adopt. Because we had already done one adoption through them, our paperwork and training process went quite smoothly. We really just had to update things and attend more trainings. It only took us a few months to finish that side of things and officially begin the matching process.
We were hoping to be matched with a child 18 months or younger. Our oldest son was 2 at the time and we thought it would take us about a year to be matched with a child so we figured our boys would be about 2 years apart.
Three weeks into our matching process, I got a call from our social worker telling me to check my email for a brief profile of a little 18-month-old boy. I was shocked and also so very excited!!!
I read the brief info, talked with Chris, and we decided even though our boys would only be 6 months apart in age, we would, of course, take this little boy. Our social worker was quickly able to send me a couple pictures of this adorable curly-haired toddler. I melted.
J-Man was living about 4 hours away from us at the time so on our anniversary, we went to a social services office to receive full disclosure on his case and to play with him for a couple of hours. He was so adorable we could hardly stand it. It was incredibly awkward to play with him while two social workers watched and observed. We sort of felt like we were auditioning to be his parents. But we were also infatuated with him so we had a great time!
Then we began a very difficult month and a half of back-and-forth visits with J-Man. First we spent a full day with him in his hometown. Then he stayed a couple of nights with us at our home. The case kept going to court and the judge kept delaying his decision for various reasons. So we kept taking J-Man home for a few nights, taking him back to his foster home for a couple nights, bringing him home for a few nights, back, etc. It was hard on the heart, let me tell you! We knew we had to love him like he was already and for sure ours because that's what he deserved. And yet, fears hung in our minds because we knew the judge could still say he was not going to be placed with us.
Finally, the judge ruled for J-Man to be placed in our family! We fostered him for 8 months before it became an adoptive placement. Then it was all about waiting for a court date to finalize our adoption. A couple months went by, and we finalized everything, officially becoming a forever family!
This has probably been the most challenging thing I've ever done. It's been more difficult than I could've ever known. I am reminded of James 1.27 in the Bible, which says, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress". That last part resonates so deeply with me. When we enter into caring for orphans, when we enter the world of adoption, we don't find a world neatly packaged where everything is tidy and easy. We enter into a world of great distress. But that is where the Lord is and that is where He tells us to go. Adopting me was not easy for Jesus, it required great hardship and pain. But He did it because He loved me that much and thought I was worth it. And that is the story of adoption. That is what we have the privilege of doing.