I have been rolling around dozens if not hundreds of questions around in my head for the last six months or so. The big question? How do we choose? Adopting Internationally, Domestically, Foster Adopt?
It's hard because let's face it, there is a huge need in all of those areas for loving, nurturing and providing families. No child is more loved and desired than the next by God.
So I've struggled to find answers. I have had the honor of recently meeting several Ethiopian adoptive families including the Shubin Clan and the Walser's. We also have friends from church who started the process to adopt from Ethiopia. Hearing all of their stories and seeing their beautiful children tugged at my heart strings. But there was no clear and loud direction.
We adopted the first two times through domestic situations and while I wouldn't change any of it the process wasn't painless. Recently we have seen domestic situations go miraculously well and heartbreakingly bad. We wondered if we should do things differently this time around.
Then we started thinking about Foster Adoption. Fostering and Foster Adoption can truly have bad stigma attached. Sometimes when I mention Foster Adoption to people they physically cringe before they go off on how dangerous and unpredictable the process is. The truth is, adoption is not predictable in any way, shape or form. There is nothing expected about adoption. This is true Internationally, Domestically and in the Foster system. Just look at the turmoil now in Ethiopian adoption. Many families waiting on their referral or travel are waiting and hoping things don't fall apart.
The truth is, when I think about Foster Care/Adoption I am scared. Scared of being vulnerable. Scared because I don't know much about it. Scared because of all of the unknown, unpredictable and unexpected outcomes. Scared at the unbelievable lack of control that I would have.
You see, when you adopt through an agency or even an attorney you sign paper work, you start the process and at some point you wait to be "referred" or "picked" by a birth family. You work, then you wait, then you are matched and then you have a child.
With Foster Adoption it's a bit different. You go to an orientation meeting. You start a 10 week process to be trained to Foster. Then you complete a home-study through the State which takes longer and is more involved (or so I'm told). Then you wait. Wait, not to be chosen or referred but wait for a child to either be removed from their parents long enough for the parents to work to get them back and fail...therefore having their rights terminated. Or you wait until there is a situation where the parents rights are terminated on the spot for something so horrible as to not give them a second chance. Then, you get a call and-bam. There you are. Faced with the choice to take that child or wait for the next.
Just typing those words are scary. but then I see a video like this and I realize...for all the fear and anxiety I face about the process and all of the unknowns, how much worse is it for the child who doesn't even know if they will ever have a permanent home again, or someone to love and care for them maybe even for the very first time in their life. And, to think, if there were more families willing to open their arms to Foster, Foster Adopt or just support their local Foster Families, this little boys story might have been so different....
Here is a great blog post by WeLoveOurLucy discussing some of the facts about Adopting through Foster Care and Fostering: