Making the decision to adopt internationally was simultaneously extremely difficult and extremely easy. It was a weird stretch, especially for me.
For several year in college and immediately after, I worked in foster care as an intern and then a part-time employee. After I began working full-time in advertising, I knew my heart wanted to be working with a ministry full-time, specifically in orphan care. After a time of waiting, the Lord led me to my current job at Grace House, which serves girls who are in foster care in a group home, residential setting. Domestic adoption seemed obvious.
On the other hand, Jason and I kept feeling this pull toward the nations. As we said the Great Commission at the end of every church service each Sunday, my heart was convicted to "make disciples of all nations" and I didn't know what to do with that. We were preparing to send of several of our best friends to take the gospel overseas for 3+ years, and yet, we didn't feel the Lord calling us to go with them...but He was calling us somewhere for something.
Of course we couldn't deny that the Lord was leading us to international adoption. There are very few instances that I really remember the Lord speaking to me through different things, but I do remember the moment that I knew He was calling us to adopt internationally.
It was a Sunday evening, and Jason was running lights at church. I was sitting with him in the lighting booth. As the lights dimmed and a video came on the screen for baptism, I read and watched two videos of siblings who were adopted from China (you can watch them here and here). They gave their testimony, and at the end they said that they hope to go back to China someday to share the gospel with those who have not heard. That was it. Those two siblings solidified it for me. Thank you Lord for speaking through children to give us wisdom about so many things!
For me, it came down to this: If not for adoption, Judah could be born, live, and die without ever hearing the gospel and learning about Jesus. There are millions of orphans around the world who will never hear that God sent His son to live a perfect life, die on the cross for our sins, and then rise again defeating death so that we can live for eternity in heaven. If I have the opportunity to adopt one of those children, share that beautiful gospel with them, and give them the opportunity to share it with others, why wouldn't I?
For Jason and me, it was a clear decision. For others, they may feel the Lord calling them to adopt domestically. There is a need for adoption worldwide, and that includes America!
I don't have any very good advice for making that decision, you really just have to seek the Lord. But, I do have some things to consider when deciding if you're going to adopt domestically or internationally:
- If you're considering domestic adoption...
- how do you feel about an open adoption?
- does your agency provide birth mother care/counseling?
- are you open to becoming a foster parent, and then possibly fostering to adopt?(side note: you should never begin foster care because you want to adopt, but sometimes the opportunity does arise)
- If you're considering international adoption...
- are you able to spend an extended amount of time in country? If so, how much?
- are you open adopting a child of another race? (side note: this is a decision you need to make regardless of if you're adopting domestically or internationally, but you just have to make the decision a little earlier if you're considering international adoption)
- are you comfortable possibly having little to no medical or family history for your child?
- are you okay with encouraging your future child to learn about their culture and bring elements of their culture into your home?
Deciding to adopt in and of itself is a big, wonderful, and exciting decision. There are so many details along the way, and deciding to adopt internationally or domestically is just one of them, but it's definitely a big one! Seek the Lord, pray for His guidance, and He will direct your path.