We had our first home study meeting for our adoption process yesterday, which is a bit misleading since it wasn’t at our home. The first meeting was at our agency’s office and the next meeting (which is next week) will be at our house.
Despite whatever misconceptions or fears you might have about the home study (I didn’t really have any–I was too busy trying to make sure we could actually get there on time and with Lexi in good hands), they’re all unfounded. We basically sat in a room and talked about ourselves for three hours. Talk about an ego boost.
Last week when I blogged about our pre-adoption classes I mentioned a quote from an adoptee that summed up some of the tensions inherent in being adopted. I thought it’d be more helpful to read the actual quote, so here it is:
“Before I was adopted, I was separated from two families–my birth mother’s and my birth father’s. I was also separated from my culture and my race. These losses have been huge. People interpret honest talk about them to mean that I wish I weren’t a part of my family. OR that I’m not connected. OR maybe even that my mom and dad did something wrong by adopting me. OR that I am not grateful. But you know what, I am not ‘grateful’ that I had to be adopted. I don’t feel ‘wonderfully lucky’ that I was raised in a culture different from the one I was born into. What I do feel is that I love my mom and dad very much. I do feel totally connected to them. I wouldn’t trade my family for any family in the world–and still I know what I have lost.”
-Liza Steinberg Triggs in the book Inside Transracial Adoption by Gail Steinberg and Beth Hall
Whew. We just spent eight hours learning about adoption. I think it’s fair to say I have no idea what I’m talking about. There are so many potential issues and so many potential things to consider. Certainly nothing to dissuade us from adopting, but it is an awful lot to think about.
I think one of the most helpful things today was a quote from the perspective of someone who was adopted. They were talking about the loss of their culture and their race that they experienced by being adopted. They said they weren’t “grateful” to be adopted–it wasn’t a situation they were thrilled to have gone through. But that was a statement about being adopted and had no impact on their love or connection with their adopted parents. I just found it helpful to consider the child’s perspective. It’s not about ‘saving’ a child.
And that’s another helpful issue–the language. What does it do to your identity to hear that your real mother gave you up for adoption? There’s a sentiment there that she gave up on you and that your adoptive parents aren’t your real parents.
There’s a lot more to think about and process, but those are just a couple things that came to mind today.
Today and tomorrow we have all-day adoption classes that will hopefully answer some of our questions and no doubt bring up a lot more questions. But it’s exciting to move forward.
As much as I’ve talked about this process, I’m not sure I’ve talked about why we decided to adopt. And I should start by saying this is my own personal reason and I’m not suggesting it should apply to everyone. It’d be great if it did and I think maybe it should, but I won’t go that for. You’ve got to make up your own mind about that.
I want to adopt because I think there are just too many children in this world who need loving families. When I consider how many children out there are orphaned it seems almost selfish to naturally have a baby.
Continue reading Why Adoption?
I just wrote a large check for the next step in our adoption process. This is probably the last time we’ll be able to just write a check to cover the costs (unless some miraculous provision happens).
A lot of people have asked what it costs to adopt and a few people have been shocked and a bit miffed at the high price tag. It’s about equivalent to buying a new car. And considering we don’t have a second car, that works out pretty nicely. Let’s take a look at what it costs and why.
As a bit of a disclaimer, these are the numbers our agency currently has. These can vary by agency, and may be broken out differently.
Continue reading Why Is Adoption So Expensive?
Today we got word that our adoption application has been accepted. The next step is a two-day class and a large chunk of money due. Then comes the home study and an even larger chunk of money due.
It’s exciting to be moving forward. It’s also cool to be doing something so big. Granted adopting one child isn’t much in the grand scheme of six billion people, and the large chunk of change we need isn’t much considering what we just paid for a house. But adopting one child is huge in the scheme of my life and the life of my family and the life of that child. You could say it’s everything.
I think the Christian life should appear radical to an outsider, full of enormous loving actions that just don’t make sense. I think this is one of those actions. I don’t mean to minimize the small loving actions—like sponsoring a child or fasting for 30 hours or whatever. Everyday, small actions are just as important. But it’s another thing entirely to devote your life to a cause.
I’m not saying I’m some great orphan crusader. I’m not dedicating my life to that cause, but I am opening my heart and home to a new life and that’s a cause in itself that I’m wholly devoted to.
What I’m trying to say is that the Christian life should be something of consequence, through both everyday and once in a lifetime radical actions. Whether that’s giving a child a home or leaving your comfortable culture to spread God’s love in a strange land or forgoing a new car so you can fund someone else’s dream or pouring hours of your life into squirrelly teenagers or whatever it is you do. This attitude should define our lives in both big and small choices. That doesn’t always happen in my life, and what I’m trying to say is I’m joyful to see it happening now.
Sometimes as an idealistic young person we talk a big talk. It’s nice to be doing something to walk the walk.
I think one of the strangest things for me about adoption is this ability to choose a child. You can decide what you want and go find a child that fits your criteria. If you’re adopting older children they often have descriptions of what the child enjoys. So if you want a female Asian 4-year-old who enjoys the outdoors, you can probably find that. You can even flip through pages of pictures and pick out the cutest kid.
I understand that the point is to help these kids find families. But it still creeps me out. It reminds me of designer-child genetics and just feels wrong. When we had our first child naturally I was very accepting that whatever we get, we get. I had no choice in the matter. Boy or girl, skinny or fat, blond or black or brown or red hair, brainy or athletic or both or whatever–none of that mattered and I didn’t care. That baby was our child, and we would love her no matter what. Even when it came down to genetic diseases or whatever might be wrong, she was still our child and we would love her no matter what.
So suddenly having the option to pick what we want is bizarre for me. And I’m resisting it.
Continue reading Adopting: Select-a-Child Makes Me Feel Weird
So we’ve had enough depressing bridge collapse talk around here. How about something happy?
So Abby and I have decided to adopt! We’re just starting the process so it’s a long way off, but we’ve made the initial step. We’re exploring both domestic and international adoption so I don’t have a lot of specifics yet (being so open makes things pretty non-specific). But no matter what it will take a while and will be expensive.
We’ve talked about adopting for a while and now it finally seems time (we haven’t broken Lexi, so apparently we’re ready for someone else’s kid). I’ve always thought that there are so many kids in the world who need a home–as a simple practical matter it makes sense. As a moral matter it just blows me away sometimes.
So we’re starting to figure it out. Of course we have lots of questions. And will have more questions. And if we figure anything out we’re happy to answer your questions.