In honor of National Adoption Month, I wanted to share the top 5 questions that I’m asked about our adoption journey(s).
Jason and I are open books about our adoptions. We do withhold a few details when it comes to personal questions about Brighten’s birth family, however we are never offended if people ask! Please, if you are interested in learning more about our adoptions or are interested in learning more about starting an adoption process yourself, please don’t hesitate to email me!
Question #1: How did you decide you wanted to adopt?
Answer: I can’t pinpoint the exact moment. I believe God began working on my heart and Jason’s heart separately from a young age. I can look back on experiences that I walked through, even before I was following Christ, and say that God was opening my eyes to what He was calling me to. When we began dating, we started talking about hypothetically building a future family through adoption pretty early (once we realized this was probably going to end up in marriage). Once we got married, we began praying through what building our family through adoption looked like. We truly just followed the promptings that God gave us as we prayed through adoption. We ended up decided we wanted to start the process early on in our marriage because we knew it could take a while and we wanted to be sure we had the time, effort, and finances to devote to an adoption process before we began building our family any other way.
Question #2: Is adoption expensive?
Answer: The short answer is yes. Since I’m now pregnant and we know what Grady’s birth will cost (if all goes as planned and with insurance), adoption is significantly more. However, there are so many ways for adoption to be less expensive. Adoptions vary in fees - from adoption through foster care that essentially doesn’t have any fees associated with it to international adoption that costs tens of thousands because of travel and very intricate paperwork processes. Domestic adoption also varies and depends on so many variables: private or agency, travel, birth mother expenses, and more. If you’re interested in adopting, my advice is to talk to several agencies and attorneys to find out what their fees are. Do research on grants and fundraisers and no-interest or low-interest adoption loans. There are ways to make adoption feasible for any family with any level of income. And most of all, remember that if God is calling you to adopt, He will provide a way.
Question #3: Is Brighten’s adoption an open adoption?
Answer: Yes, we have an open adoption with Brighten’s birth mom. Brighten was born in Texas, so we don’t see her birth mom, however she and I text on occasion and we send her pictures. We also have a relationship with Brighten’s biological brother and his family, which to me is the biggest blessing for her as she grows up. More than anything I’m thankful that I will have some answers to questions about her biological family as she grows up. To me, that’s one of the greatest gifts I can give to her as her mother.
Question #4: When will you tell Brighten (and someday Judah) that they’re adopted?
Answer: Hopefully we never will have to “tell them”. Our hope and prayer is that they always know they’re adopted. Even now at 2 years old, we tell Brighten her story (at an age appropriate level), read children’s books about adoption, and sing songs about how God placed her in our family. We want Brighten and Judah to be proud of their stories and how they came into our family. We hope more than anything that we can lead and guide them to appreciate and love their birth families and the decisions they made to place their children for adoption. Ultimately, we hope that their earthly adoption stories remind them and point them to their spiritual adoption into God’s family because of Jesus’s death on the cross and resurrection from the grave.
Question #5: Why does adoption take so long?
Answer: So, even though there isn’t really a “normal” amount of time to wait when it comes to adoption, our situation with our international process certainly is anything but the norm. We’ve encountered so many closures and changes that it has made this process much longer than most. Brighten’s adoption process, however, was quite redeeming.
When we talk about timelines, it’s important to first establish that we’re talking about human beings — lives that will be forever changed. From birth parents to children, no decision should be taken lightly. Ever precaution should be put into place to make sure they are being placed with a loving family who will provide for them and treat them with the utmost dignity. That being said, there are so, so many steps to the process to ensure a child’s well-being.
For international adoption, you also have to add in the processes of both our federal government and the country that you’re adopting from. Each country has different paperwork requirements, processes of matching children with families, and regulations on when children can travel home with their new families. I always use the example of applying for unemployment. It takes a lot of time, there’s tons of paperwork, and many checks and balances involved. Now, add in the fact that we’re talking about human beings, children, and then add in another government, possibly one that doesn’t have the extensive infrastructure and workforce that ours has. That alone is enough to make my head spin and understand a little more why it can take so long to adopt a child internationally.
Domestic adoption is similar to international in the sense that the government has many checks and balances. A family only begins the waiting process once their home study and background checks are complete, and that process itself can take months. It also should be stated that if it’s at all possible, families should stay together. Adoption should come into play only when that simply isn’t an option for whatever reason. Many times domestic adoption can take a while because birth parents are walking through counseling to be sure they are making the best decision possible for their child. It can also take time to find a family they feel comfortable with. None of these decisions should be taken lightly, and it’s important to remember these things when you hear about families waiting for a long time for adoption.
Thanks for taking the time to read the top five questions we are asked about adoption. I would love to answer more questions you may have, grab coffee, or share more of our story.