We have known that adoption was in our future again in light of our infertility issues and desire to have a big family. (ok...my desire, Jordan's fear...haha!) Seriously, though, we have thought about it a lot in the last year. Because of the lack of specific planning for time with adoption, we have gone back and forth with when to start the process again. Would it go as quickly as Rylin's adoption or would we be waiting? With all the decisions about when to start the process (finding the finances, making room in our home, and telling our families) we had always assumed that we would continue with another domestic adoption similar to Rylin's. We had considered other types of adoption..Foreign Adoption was so expensive. Many countries who's adoption programs were in full swing a few years ago (China, Russia, and Ethiopia) are at a near stand still now. And Foster to Adopt. Well that just wasn't for us. That was complicated. We love our open adoption and that seemed like a tricky thing in a foster situation. Possibly children with lots of baggage. Legal hoops and then there's always "we'll fall in love and then loose them". No, that was for someone else. So when a stirring began in me a year ago, I don't think we were quite prepared for where we'd be now. God has a funny way of changing our perspective.
Almost two years ago, our class at church began to volunteer with a group called CityHouse. An organization who's mission is caring for children who are victims of neglect and abuse. We did things like yard work, organization of supplies, and home repairs as a class. Then, when looking for a place to get more involved, I found myself at an all day training to work with the kids housed at their new foster group home, My Friends House. To say that the reality of what I'd be facing as a volunteer came across daunting, is an understatement. I left wondering if I had lost my mind, but kept reminding myself that I loved kids and I could handle it. After all, I knew that God calls us to take care of "the least of these" and this was going to be my ministry(and concrete way of pushing that little foster care voice out of my head).
After my first night as a "Rock and Roller" (rocking and caring for babies), I cried the whole way home. Not only was the reality of abuse and neglect painful to witness, for the first time, the "foster child" had a face to me. More than just an imagined, hurting, baggage laden kid. I saw the universal need for love and experienced funny little personalities longing for attention and starved for affection. How could anyone reject them? Why would anyone hurt them? I would have taken each one of them home had they let me. The fact that I didn't get to choose their name, didn't take them home from a hospital, or didn't know every detail about their sorted past really didn't matter.
I began doing more research on fostering and adoption from foster care and shared this new interest with Jordan, who was a bit perplexed at first, but willing as always to hear me out. I signed us up for a conference at a near by church last November, where we heard speakers from all sides of the foster care/adoption circle. When we left the parking lot at the end of the day, Jordan conceded that he was on board. Whatever that meant. He got it too.
Since then, we have gone to our agency's orientation and spoken with several foster parents about their experiences. We have done our best to educate ourselves in the areas of our insecurities. We know that it won't be easy and we can't do it without our friends and family, but I can't imagine a more supportive group! I'm learning a lot about trusting God and following his lead even when it seams like the "difficult" route. Just because it's hard doesn't mean we're not called to do it. In fact, I think most things God asks of me are challenging. To my faith, my character, and my own will. I'm lazy, selfish, and a small thinker, but I know he wants me to be proactive, self sacrificing, and a big dreamer in what he can and will do.
So here we are. Last week we started the eight week training at Buckner. We still don't know all the answers or what our future looks like, but we're trying our best to let God fully shape it. After all, our idea of family has changed more than a few times in the last seven years!