Thursday, February 9, 2012

Our [first] Adoption Story

To my sweet baby(ies),
            As a child, I was more than interested in adoption. I used to sit in your papa’s big chair, begging your nana to adopt child after child, as I paged through the “Waiting Children” in Bethany Christian Service’s most recent publication. Your nana would always assure me that she and papa were done adding to their family. And the look on her face said, “Done, Done, DONE. Period!” (Oh, Little One(s), I must have really done them in!) But I remained convinced that I was not supposed to be the youngest in the family and I had just the thing for my dad and mom (your nana and papa.) I would promptly remind them that they didn’t need to have another baby as they’d done before. No, no, they could just adopt one of these kids, from BCS. It would be easy as pie! These kids were waiting, after all…
As I grew up, my awareness of the world around me, people’s perspectives, ethics, world issues…etc. became heightened.
By the time I entered college, my interest in adoption was on fire. I began noticing a trend in people’s views on adoption and for far too many, I was shocked to find it a third, fifth, or last resort. Something inside of me felt a pang of urgency to do something to change someone's, anyone’s, mind. So I started in on my dear friends. : )
During my second semester at Providence Christian College, I was assigned a large presentation making up a significant part of my overall grade. The objective: to convince my fellow students one way or another on a controversial topic. Of course, I chose adoption and launched myself into research.
Looking back at my childhood and educational years, it’s really no surprise that here I sit, nearly 20 years from the days I sat in your papa’s chair begging for a younger sibling, now in the midst of adopting YOU.
I had a goal, a lesson to teach others, a personal passion to live out as a means to educate those around me. I was excited to someday raise wee ones and live the life of a stay-at-home mom and I was anxious to do so through adoption. I was going to demonstrate to the world that adoption, contrary to how some may have always thought, was in fact a first resort.
When your dad asked me to marry him, our relationship quickly became more serious. We talked about each of our upbringings, our families, and one another’s hopes, dreams and goals. We both loved kids and knew that starting a family of our own wasn’t far off but we soon realized that establishing our family wouldn’t be as simple as each of us separately had always assumed. All your dad had ever imagined for himself was a biological family; whereas everything I was planning on was the opposite.
Despite my sibling's babies (your adorable cousins), I had big fears of pregnancy and wasn’t so sure I wanted anything to do with it. ‘Besides,’ I always wondered to myself, ‘why create a new life when there are plenty of existing children in need of a home?’
But marriage really is made up of three C’s: Christ, communication, and of course, compromise. I decided that if God could open your dad’s heart to the option of adoption, which seemed to be the case, why couldn’t I also give him the family he had always pictured? Your dad pointed out to me that by bringing biological kids into the mix, the diversity of our family would only be greater, which ironically, fit perfectly into the diverse family I hoped for. Next was the decision of what route to pursue first.
Being newly married and faced with the realities of cost (Prenatal care and birth remain far more affordable than adoption.) and age (Pregnancies carry less risk when momma is young.), we determined that it was wisest to go the biological route first. It was a difficult decision for me considering that our newest plan stood in the way of me making my stand and showing the world that adoption was my first option. Nevertheless, we moved forward.
We celebrated our first year of marriage, but couldn’t understand why we had yet to become pregnant. Shortly after our first anniversary we attended Bethany Christian Service’s ‘Discover Adoption.’ My heartstrings were tugged harder than ever before as I again looked into the faces of the waiting children. Oh Baby, did you know that they have binders and binders, busting at the seams with waiting children?! It broke our hearts and as we drove home that night, for the first time, your dad and I equally shared a conviction for adoption.
Although we were still hurting due to our apparent infertility, our hope had been renewed and we were anxious to begin our first adoption. We felt that God was leading us to adopt through the state, despite the extreme challenges that we knew laid before us in making such a choice. Waiting was difficult but we kept our decision hush-hush through the holidays and officially began the process in January 2011.
Your dad and I threw ourselves into the process. We attended classes, meetings, and interviews. 
We were fingerprinted, became certified in CPR, and completed our required PRIDE Pre-Service training. We filled out paperwork and gleaned info from anywhere we could find it. 
We began writing you little notes, both of us signing them 'Dad' and 'Mom.'

In April we decided that adoption was consuming too much of our life to be kept a secret any longer. 
We made our joyous announcement. 

As news spread, responses started making their way back to us. Most everyone was sweet as sugar to our faces but it was what they were willing to say and ask when we weren't around that was shocking and sometimes hurtful. People's words can be weighty, powerful, and resonating, but only so much as you allow them to be.
Ultimately, it wasn't their responses that mattered because this was our family, our story, our call. And although some were excited, it wasn't their enthusiasm that kept us going. Instead, what pushed us onward despite any comment or emotion, was the knowledge that this was how we would get to you.
We grasped onto Hebrews 11:1 and haven't let go since.

In choosing State Adoption, we had signed up to adopt a legally free child no older than 3 years of age. What that meant was that any child eligible for us to parent would have birth parents who had lost all rights to them, hence the 'legally free.' The state advocates for blood families staying together at practically all costs, meaning that birthmom and birthdad would have to mess up so badly and so many times in the first year or two of kiddo's life for the court to step in, take action, and eventually declare them legally free, a ward of the state.
Sure, the path we had chosen was terrifying. What 22 and 23 year old wouldn't be scared at the thought of plopping a toddler into their lives? And how much more one with with a heartbreaking past? We were told tales of children that did not know how to love because they had not been shown love themselves. The idea of our own child disliking us or resenting us was horrifying. We read about self destructive children, children with disabilities...the list of what we needed to prepare ourselves for went on and on and seemed to never end. We were scared but far outweighing our anxiety was our conviction.
We completed our home study paperwork and our caseworker came for our first home study meeting. We learned more about the process and were warned that the odds of receiving a child as young as we had specified were slim to none within two years. We were told three or four years, maybe
We were baffled.
Your dad and I had already been waiting over a year for a child, the thought of waiting a total of five years (or more) was more than we could handle. Once again, it was time for a change of plans. We struggled with what to do. We felt we were different, we had a heart for the broken, we were open to more than most. We were convicted and determined to act. We found it difficult to understand why God would place such a desire and willingness in our hearts, only to turn things around once we had fully committed.
Clearly, the timing was not right. Clearly, you, Baby, the one that God has chosen for us, was not to be found where we had been searching.
By our second home study meeting we had chosen to pursue Domestic Infant adoption, in addition to Legally Free State adoption. In the months that followed we began channeling our studies toward infants. Our home study was completed and processed. In September we made a trip from Portland to Seattle for Domestic Infant training. Your Dad received a promotion to the Seattle area in November. We purchased our first house in December, the place that you will call home. We moved, changing caseworkers for the third time. Our home study addendum has been completed. Which brings us to today. 
We are here. We are ready. We are waiting.

Somewhere along the way, we changed. We are no longer just a couple. We live differently. This may sound silly, but I drive more carefully, imagining what it will be like having you in the car. I would rather buy fabric to sew something for your room than blinds for my currently lacking living room windows. Your dad is already planning swing set placement in our backyard. He tells me often how much he can't wait to play catch. He now notices strollers! We are parents-in-waiting. 
All we need is you.
We pray for you each day. We think of you constantly. We love you so much, and we don't even know you. You have a Grandpa and a Grandma, a Papa and a Nana, five funny uncles and five sweet aunties. You have an ever-growing crew of cousins. Will you be the next to arrive? We hope so! You already have a whole family just waiting to embrace you for exactly who God made you to be.
Oh Baby, Come Quick!
With all m’love,
Your Mama
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  1. I hardly know what to say... you've written a beautiful and heartfelt letter that makes me tear up. God made you special, Megan, and we know God has a very special little someone for you & Brian to love.

  2. Wow Megan! You have brought tears to my eyes! I can't wait to meet, love, and spoil my new little niece or nephew! We are praying for you both during this time of waiting, and for the precious little child that God has planned for you and Brian. We love you both and are looking forward to seeing you soon!