Thursday, October 30, 2014

Adoption Journey, Part 1: Why Adoption?

I am going to take detour from my typical blogs, to answer a request from some of my friends.  I have had a few friends ask me to blog about our adoption journey.  So here I go :)

Adoption is one of the most beautiful things on earth that demonstrates what Christ did for us.  

In May 2004, Miles and I met.  We started dating in August, and we were engaged officially in December (though unofficially probably September :)).  We got married March 5, 2005.  We actually loved the idea of adoption and talked about the possibility of adopting months before we got married.  

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.  The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. (Romans 8:14-17)  

My sin came between me and being able to know God.  I had to die to pay for my sin.  God had a son, Jesus.  He gave up that Son to pay the die for me, so I could live.  Jesus died a humiliating death on a cross, the death of criminals, so that He could have me live with Him eternally.  Because I accepted the gift of His death, I received the Spirit . . . God is my Father.  I call out to Him "Abba, Father"  or "Daddy".  I am His child.  I am an heir of God!  

Paul continues on in the book of Romans:
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.  Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. (Romans 8:22-25)

God adopted me! He calls me His Child! I have all the rights and privileges of being a child of God!

This is what we want to do for another child. We want to help a child that could not help themselves because this is where I was in standing before God. I could do nothing to help myself. I was at the mercy of God Almighty, and He chose me! I want to choose a child, and give them a life that will be more stable. Life in Christ is much more stable than life away from Him. I can't imagine how depressing and meaningless life would be without Him. Knowing that I am loved by Him and that He gives me meaning, keeps me from losing hope. He is my hope! Being able to help a child who has no hope, and give them a stable life of love and security based in the love that I enjoy in Christ will be a dream come true. I want nothing more than to have a child come live with us, and walk away when they become an adult knowing Christ and being a witness for Him because of their personal story . . . not because of us.

So for us, it is something that we have felt called to do.  Little did we know that it would actually be our only option physically (at 
least according to medical doctors who really don't know;  only God really knows.) Miles' health has been progressively getting worse since the mid 90s.  We have been to countless doctors, and no one really knows.  They know his body is having an auto-immune response, but they don't know why or what.  After getting to a point where he was nearly bed-ridden, we gave up on doctors and started changing the way he ate . . . drastically.  He has gotten much better, but fertility doctors told us that his health had damaged his sperm.  We probably will never have children.  This was devastating news, as it was a dream that both of us had had for years.  

During this time, we learned much about God.  We learned that His plan is perfect.  We learned that He carries us.  We learned that God is bigger than anything else on earth.  We learned that His love for us is all that is important.  We learned that following Him is all that matters.  We need to live with eternity in mind.  

I prayed for children for years.  I watched as girls who should never have children (in my human opinion) get pregnant every time they had sex.  Seriously God, she has had 3 children in under 3 years!  God, this girl is a drunk, and you have given her 4 children.  I just don't understand.  He reassured me that I could trust His plan.  He told me that He gave me children.  He told me to love His children, regardless of age.  I work with college students all week long that need parental figures.  I watch other people's children that need help.  I teach students all year long how to properly care for their own children.  This is what God has called us to do.  

Until July . . . When Miles told me that it was time.  He had been praying about it.  Miles' health had greatly improved, but he wasn't expecting to ever be well.  We need to proceed with adoption now, if we are going to do it.  So we talked with friends who have done international adoptions, private adoptions, foster care adoptions, and agency adoptions. We even considered IVF one more time. We left the consultation for IVF in agreement that we needed to just go the adoption route. 

After praying through these options, we met with two adoption agencies: Harmony Family Center (Knoxville, TN) and Bethany Christian Services (Chattanooga, TN).
We connected very well with the lady at Harmony.  She was very helpful.  She also told us that an adoption would cost anywhere from $11K on the low end to $17-18K on the high end.  

We went to Bethany's information meeting, and we didn't feel comfortable from the beginning.  Nothing seemed to fit well.  This is nothing negative about Bethany.  They do a great work all over the world.  They prepare everyone very thoroughly (maybe too thoroughly for us, if that is possible).  The last thing that helped us choose Harmony was that Bethany has a flat fee of $18K.  Then there are some other fees like attorneys and adoption finalization on top of the $18K.  

So this is how we came to the decision to adopt as well as what kind of adoption we chose.  I will blog again soon, telling you about the next step in the process . . . the home study.