It’s time to make some decisions, and Shane and I are pretty good at that! When it has nothing to do with where we want to eat or what show we want to watch. Unfortunately, just when we thought we had the best course of action planned is when the infamous road block appeared. The cliff to our Wile E.Coyote. The Scoobey-Doo to our monster-clad disguise. The Scrubbing Bubbles to our soap scum. It went a little something like this:
Cue “Let’s Get Ready to Rumble” theme music
Are we going to adopt? Yes!
Do we know how old we want the child to be? Yes! 1-3.
Do we have a preference on gender? Yes! Girl! Okay, well, technically our preferences differ- but for now Shane isn’t fighting me on it, so still a yes!
Do we know where we would like to adopt from? Yes- anywhere! The more options the better!
You cannot pursue an adoption domestically and out of country at the same time. Huh?
You have to choose one. Oh.
This, more or less, sums up how we were forced to decide where we were going to adopt from when we had planned on being very open. Shane and I fully intended on adopting from wherever we were first happy with a match. More countries equal more options, right? Well, it would if you could have it that way. Unfortunately, adoption agencies are not like Burger King or Subway, and we had to choose from a list- much like the list of cheeses you are given when making your sandwich. No write-ins for us. So, I thought I would share how we came to our decision to adopt from India in a little more detail.
Right after our first meeting at our agency, Shane and I get our good friend Joe on the phone. Joe is deep into the OK foster care system, as he is a therapist for kids, and we wanted to consult him on some of our findings. First, we were told that it is highly unlikely to impossible that we would be matched with a 1-3 year old girl within the United States. Joe confirmed this- as most foster care children have siblings that the system desires for them to be adopted with- not splitting up their family anymore than it already has been. Very understandable. Or, those children without siblings are adopted by family members or foster care families if one was so lucky to have their preference placed with them. So basically, our chances of adopting a child from the U.S. with our specifications were very slim. And remember, we aren’t willing to go the newborn route: which almost all families interested in adopting in-country would be gunning for, as it is the most popular option. So we switched gears a bit and talked more about foreign adoption.
This was also appealing to us, but we knew it to be the more complicated option. Not only would we be dealing with our own government, but we would be dealing with a foreign one as well. Mailing important things through a possibly unreliable system, visiting a country we have never been to- lots of uncertainty. But, the chances of us being matched with a 1-3 year old girl was much better in a foreign country than in our country. So with that information, we decided. But that decision only led to more decisions. Which country?
I’ve talked in a previous post about wanting to adopt from China, but we are too young. We went the old-fashioned pros and cons list way on this one and literally took a pen and circled the countries listed by our agency that we were eligible for and could afford to pursue (who has the money or time to spend 3 months in the UK on 3 different occasions for an adoption?! Not us!). That was a much shorter list- only Hong Kong and India were left. I wanted to go with Hong Kong because of its proximity to China, Shane wanted to go Hong Kong because its proximity to Chinese food. Insert eyeroll here. Even adoption needs some comic relief, I guess. However, we were told by the knowledgeable agents that it would be highly unlikely to find a girl under 5 in Hong Kong, and that India would be our better option.
So, there you have it. Lots of questions to ask to lead to more questions that lead to more until your information is narrowed down enough there exists only one option. We would still like to be an eligible family for a domestic adoption through DHS, but we haven’t had time to look into that just yet. There is also the matter of money. It would be unwise to be paying fees all over the place when we are only going to be able to adopt one child from one avenue. In case you were wondering, most ministers don’t have a bunch of extra funds just laying around! Sometimes, they get paid in leftover food from 5th Quarter parties and camps. True story.
We did not feel drawn to India. There was no divine writing on the wall that told us India was it. We are simply following our calling to adopt, and making the choices that we think best insures that we are matched with a child. Sometimes, we as Christians tend to over spiritualize things. I’m not saying God never sends a message just for you: that obviously happens. It just didn’t happen for us in our adoption country decision process. And that’s okay. As far as Shane and I know, we have no special connection with India- that is, until we are matched with an Indian child. We even dislike Indian food. Mostly. But who cares! We are determined to love our future child, to expose her to her culture, and that is all that matters. Answering all these questions just gets us closer to that moment.
If you struggle with wanting to know God’s will in your life, but thinking there’s no possible way to decipher what it is, I encourage you to read “Just Do Something” by Kevin DeYoung. It’s short and biblical- and you will come away with a greater sense of freedom.