I have always wanted a big family. So far, God has blessed us with just two children on Earth—Hannah, 3, and Peter, almost 1 ½.
Before Hannah joined our family, we weren’t sure I would ever be able to have a child. For years we wanted kids, but God did not so bless us. We were very open to adoption, and had just gotten physicals as part of our home study the day before when we learned we were pregnant. We loved her. I was terrified God would take her away. I don’t know if I really believed I would have a healthy baby until I held her.
I would have been open to pursuing adoption while pregnant, but our agency did not allow couples who were expecting or had added a child in the past year to begin adoption. So we forgot about adoption and welcomed Hannah, and nineteen months later Peter.
I was hopeful that we would continue to welcome a new baby every 18 months or so, but Peter reached his first birthday without being a big brother. Five months later or so, I saw a picture in an adoption magazine of 3 little kids who needed a family, with the youngest having special needs. I also thought the middle girl’s face looked like Hannah’s, and the baby boy’s face looked like Peter’s. After praying a week or two, we decided to inquire about them. They were already spoken for. I had thought they might be ours. But now I had remembered adoption. And I still wasn’t pregnant. I filled out a form so we could look at other waiting children with special needs—but their needs all seemed much more severe. We weren’t sure how much we could handle with two active little kids already. We didn’t want a child who was too old to be ours, and we felt like we didn’t know much about school age children, so we put our limit at 4 or 5 years old. I wanted to adopt a sibling group. I knew I couldn’t handle legal risk—not when falling in love with a picture does a number on me every time. We have been trying to figure out where God will lead us.
I started looking at waiting US kids. They were older or had very significant needs. I looked at waiting international children. Some of them looked so much like my boy they could have been my son (like Kyle
). Some of them I hurt so much for their needs, but felt like I didn’t know if we could handle them (like Dmitriy
). Some of them desperately needed a family so that they could get proper medical care (like Vanessa
). I left some pictures open to show my husband. One was a picture of Mason
. We decided to pursue his adoption.
For a week I threw myself into research and paperwork. I scoured the internet for people who had visited him, got in contact with a woman whose son had a similar condition, found an agency to do our homestudy, looked again and again at the pictures of this handsome little man Reece’s Rainbow sent me—what a smile! Then we learned he had been adopted by a family in his own country. That’s wonderful for him, and a great sign for his country. But I had thought he was going to be my son—he had been waiting so long, and then as soon as we started pursuing this—maybe before—someone else adopted him.
We are considering Ethiopia. There is need for adoption from Ethiopia, where traditional family safety nets—the care of orphaned children by aunts, uncles, and grandparents—have been devastated and overloaded by the AIDS epidemic. That’s the direction we were leaning before we saw Mason. But adoption is a hard process. It’s a long process. We may have to avoid conceiving in order to pursue adoption—and I don’t like the idea of telling God no to a child of my womb so I could say yes to adoption.
And sometimes it is so hard just to take care of my two kids! Some days it seems like one is lying on the floor whining “I can’t do it” while the other is taking nosedives into furniture and bleeding all over his clothes, while the laundry and dishes (let alone less urgent housework pile up). And how could we consider adding to our family? But we could afford to do it. And if not us, then who? What about our situation is so difficult it we cannot take on one or two more kids who really need a home? Are we really that much worse off than everyone else with problems and kids and jobs?
But in the end, the question is only this: What would God have us do?
Labels: adoption, babies, Reece's Rainbow, toddlers