Sunday, July 18, 2010

our imminent foster/adoption: what is a foster/adoption?

yesterday, i shared about how this past week we were finally certified to foster/adopt.  we could be getting kids in our home any day or week now!  i also shared more about our decision to adopt rather than try to get pregnant, and what motivated this decision.
today i want to go more into the different types of adoption, and how we landed on foster/adoption.

what is foster/adoption?

when we started to look into adoption, we learned that there are three different types of adoptions.  one option is international adoption, which is becoming increasingly popular (many stars such as angelina jolie have done this type of adoption).  the children are usually adopted at a pretty young age, and they may or may not have many special needs (many are "diagnosed" with special needs, which makes it easier for them to be adopted by americans, which magically "disappear" when the adoption is finalized).  international adoption is expensive and a lengthy process, and just didn't seem like a good fit for us at this time.

another option is private domestic adoption, which happens through an agency that matches mothers here in the US who have unwanted pregnancies to prospective parents.  adoptive parents pay all the medical bills, and are usually able to ensure a healthy pregnancy (more or less).  private adoptions are almost always for infants, matched with adoptive parents before birth.  private adoptions are also pretty expensive, and can sometimes be lengthy.

foster/adoption is adoption from the foster care system here in the US.  these are children who have been taken from their parents the government because they are being abused in some way.  it could be physical, sexual or emotional abuse, neglect, or because of prenatal drug/alcohol exposure.

children in the foster care system range from a day old to 17 years old.  some have been "in the system" (ie away from their parents and in government care) for years, some only recently.  many of them have special needs, ranging from mild (ADD, attachment disorder, etc) to severe (fetal alcohol syndrome, mental retardation, etc.).  some are still visiting with their parents with the possibility of reunification, while others are completely cleared to be adopted.  this type of adoption is essentially free.  the process can be pretty short, but it can potentially last for years.

there are a half million children in the foster care system in the US right now.  500,000 orphans!!!  over 100,000 of them are ready and waiting to be adopted at this moment.  the sad thing is, many of them wont ever be adopted, and will end up being homeless, on drugs and selling themselves in prostitution, and having more babies which will in turn end up going back into the foster care system.

this is the type of adoption that has captured our hearts, and is what we have decided to pursue. 

foster adoption is hard, and we haven't even experienced a small piece of it yet.  in the next few weeks, we will be getting our first placement of children (we hope to adopt our first placement, but this is no guarantee, as reunification with parents is always a possibility).  we have asked for a sibling set of two children between the ages of 0 and 4 (many of the children in the foster care system are sibling sets, but few people want to take more than one child at a time).  it will definitely be hard to go from 0 to 2 kids, but there is a huge need for this, and we are able, so we are making ourselves available for siblings.  this means that overnight, our family will double in size!  

we have tried our best to prepare, but it is hard to do with that big of an age gap (though just a 3 year span, the developmental changes in these years are huge).  in many ways our hands will be tied as parents, because we wont be able to parent in the way that we think is best, needing to submit to the government's rule first in everything (for example, we cant even cut the child's hair without permission from the social worker, let alone make medical or disciplinary decisions in line with our conscience).

when the children come into our home, they will probably be behind developmentally, due to the neglect they have faced (or example, we may get a three year old who is no where close to being potty trained).  it will likely be unclear if they will be adoptable, meaning that we could care for them as our own for several months or even a year, after which they may be given back to their birth family.

however, in the midst of all of this possible hardship, i rejoice, remembering my adoption into God's family.  my adoption was way more costly physically and emotionally: jesus had to die to make it possible.  the beauty of this adoption spurs me on to welcome the process God will bring us through, no matter how difficult, because i trust that His plan is to make something beautiful and good out of it.

please take a minute right now to pray that God would lovingly protect our future children right now where ever they are, and that he would lovingly prepare us for this potentially difficult journey, and set our eyes on Him during the whole thing!


  1. Best of luck with your placements. My husband and I are at the very beginning of this journey and it really helps reading about other peoples experiences/stories

  2. What a beautiful heart you have for Him. Thanks for sharing your journey and encouraging me in mine.

  3. So neat to hear of your passion for fostering. It is a difficult place, but a necessary one!