Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Adoption Update!

If the title of this post led you to believe that something really exciting had happened... well, I apologize :) Still no baby. And that's actually where the update comes in....

We've been homestudy ready since last June. We know that in the grand scheme of things, that really isn't a long time. And we know that in the adoption world, that definitely isn't a long time. Adoptions aren't quick. We knew that going in, and we're ok with that. Honestly, I never really expected to get a baby the first year we were approved. I just had a gut feeling that it wouldn't happen that quickly, and this time last year, I was pretty content to wait. I had a "baby." Alaina was barely a year old, and I honestly couldn't even fathom adding another baby at that point. (We would have been THRILLED to get a baby at any point, but I definitely felt like I had my hands full and was ok with waiting a while ;))

If you remember, we started this adoption process planning to adopt internationally, and we thought Hong Kong was going to be the program for us. It just seemed to fit our family's desires and needs perfectly. But then we were going through the homestudy process, we had three kids four and under, the youngest one still felt VERY much like a baby, and I just couldn't imagine adding a possibly very active toddler into the mix. Especially an active toddler with special needs that I'm not 100% familiar with. I just felt crazy overwhelmed when I started picturing what that was even going to look like. A frazzled, stressed, overwhelmed mama is NOT what I want for any of my children, and it's especially not what I want when welcoming a new person into our family. So, David and I discussed it at great length and prayed about it, and we felt like switching to domestic adoption was going to be the best thing for our family so that we would get an infant rather than a toddler. Adding an infant who wouldn't be mobile and whose needs would be a bit more straightforward for a while seemed WAY less overwhelming and more "natural", if you will. I've had babies close together. That I felt like I could handle. So, we switched to domestic adoption, and that's where we've been ever since.

As anyone with little children knows, though, a LOT changes in a year. There is an enormous difference developmentally between a twelve month old and a two year old. Huge. In the past year, I've gone from feeling like I had a baby to absolutely having a toddler. And I want a baby. I really, really want a baby. If we weren't adopting, I think we'd definitely have had another baby or I'd at least be pregnant by now. (If it were up to us, of course. I say that knowing full well that the Lord is the one who creates life, and He decides on the timing too.) (Oh, and I'm not pregnant, by the way. That's not what this post is about.)

As much as I want a baby (like, an infant), though, I've felt a shift in myself recently. I've gone from absolutely wanting a newborn baby to just wanting to grow our family. David and I are both just READY for our next child to join our family. Our kids are ready. We're all just ready.

For various reasons over the past month or so, I've felt my heart being drawn back to international adoption, and specifically, Hong Kong. Now that Alaina is two, the thought of getting an older baby or a toddler doesn't overwhelm me the way it did a year ago. David and I would still really prefer to maintain birth order, but that shouldn't be a problem since Alaina is older and the process of actually getting a child will take a while anyway. So, again, David and I have discussed this at length and prayed about it, and we've decided to pursue an adoption in Hong Kong! We are really excited to once again be on the international adoption journey!

(And I realize that I've talked a lot about our needs and our desires, but a huge deciding factor has also been children's needs. We've  thought a lot about waiting on a baby vs. adopting a waiting child. I am not saying that one is better than the other! Just that that has factored into our decision.)

One thing that I've kind of wrestled with in making this decision is feeling like the past year has been wasted. If we had remained on the Hong Kong course, we'd probably be very close to bringing our child home right now, if it hadn't already happened. Now we're kind of at square one. But the thing that I keep coming back to is that I needed this past year to really get 100% excited and comfortable with adopting a child who won't be an infant. Last year, I was really excited about the thought of adopting from Hong Kong, but I was also really nervous. Now I can say that I am completely excited! There are still some nerves - I think it would be na├»ve if we went into this thinking it was going to be a walk in the park - but I definitely feel more excited than nervous. Our kids have grown up a lot in the past year, and I just feel like I'll be at a point where I can focus more attention on this new child than I would have been able to if we hadn't slowed the process down by switching to domestic. I can also say that I've learned a lot in the past year. Adoption is such a journey and you can't help but learn through that process. I'd say the main thing that I've learned is that different families are called to different things. Some families are called to adopt little newborn babies domestically. Some are called to adopt from the foster system. Some are called to adopt older children who have less of a chance of finding families. Some are called to adopt children internationally who are in unspeakable situations and living in utter poverty. Some are called to adopt from more wealthy countries where children are well cared for and receive good medical care. Some are called to adopt children with special needs. And guess what? It's all wonderful and God honoring! Adoption is beautiful no matter where your child comes from! I am so honored that the Lord has called us to this, and I hope that I never compare what the Lord has asked of OUR family to what He has asked of another. Lastly, I don't believe that the last year has been a waste simply because I believe that God is sovereign and I know that He's directed our steps. We have felt His guidance every step of the way. I love that.

So, where does that leave us? Well, we're going to have to update our homestudy a bit and do the whole immigration and dossier process. Then we'll have to submit all of that to Hong Kong and get approved. The referral process will come sometimes after that, and who knows how long any of that will take. Our agency has given us an estimated timeframe, but I'm trying not to put too much stock in that. We know that international adoption is a lengthy and sometimes complicated process, and I don't want to be disappointed if things take longer than expected. But we'd be thrilled if you would join us in prayer that this process goes smoothly!

It truly feels like we've come full circle in this adoption journey. Now we just wait for our baby!

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