Friday, November 23, 2012

an older child(ren?) in our future

as i mentioned a few weeks ago, our time with baby girl is coming to an end even though it just started.  it may be a few more weeks, or a few months, we are not sure.  she has been a unique blessing in our lives for this time: not what we expected, but certainly a gift from God in many ways.

a picture of Messther (an apt nickname for her when she
looks like this).  not related to the topic of this post, but
just because...
and so alex and i have talked a bit about what our next placement will be like.

first of all, we are going to probably have to hold out for a child(ren) whose parental rights have been terminated.  this means a child whose parents are no longer in the picture, when we get them we will know they are adoptable (or at least something like a 90% or more chance).  we have put in our time with two emergency placements.  there is a big need to take emergency placements, and sometimes these work out to be adoptable children.  this hasn't been our experience, unfortunately, so i doubt we will be doing another emergency placement (the only exception is if we got a call for a baby whose mother has had 5 or 6 other babies taken away.  we might consider that child since it is unlikely that the birth mother will get her life together for baby #7.  and yes, that does actually happen sometimes, sadly).

second of all, i feel God drawing out hearts to an older child(ren) rather than a baby.  to clarify, by older i mean 3 or 4 years old, which is not very old for foster kids (where the critical need is to adopt teens), but that is as old as we feel like we can do right now.  

there are a number of reasons for this shift.  the main reason is because there is a big need to take in older kids.  everyone wants babies.  there is still a pretty high desire for 3-4 year olds, but less so that the babies.  previously we had limited our range to children younger than esther because we have heard that it is not good to adopt older than the kids you already have since it messes with birth order dynamics, but we are starting to feel like this might be ok for us in this situation.  first of all, esther is so young still that she will be able to flex and fit this new family dynamic (i'm sure there will be some adjustment on her part, but easier for her now than if she was like 2 for example). secondly, esther loves playing with older children and does well with them.  it seems like an older child could be really great for her.  and since there is a need for older, and it seems like we could do it, then we want to be open to it.

another reason is the fact that i have been a mom for two and a half years, but only have one 14 month old child.  i love little ones, but they are a LOT of work.  now make no mistake, i have been the mother of 3 and 4 year olds and know that they are a lot of work in a different way (even more so in the foster care system where there is no guarantee that a 3 or 4 year old is even potty trained, and possibly still tantruming frequently).

another reason for an older child is because i would like to get pregnant again sometime soon (not like soon as in the next few weeks soon, but maybe in the next year soon).  if we got another baby i would likely be breastfeeding him/her, which would make it harder to get pregnant for a while.  also, i don't think i would have the capacity to care for esther and a baby while being pregnant.  i tend to be a bit ambitious, but even i know that that is probably not the best idea.

another reason is that with an older child, there is likely to be more clarity on his/her parental situation.  with babies straight out of the hospital, you never know.  our current baby girl seemed like a good candidate for adoption when we first got the call.  but by the time she was two weeks old, it was pretty clear that she would probably go back to her mom.  the more time that passes, the more that these things become clear.

of course its exciting to think about our next placement.  also a little bit scary, as there are many unknowns.  but i know that jesus knows, and i know that he is tender and gracious.  and i know that he will prepare an equip us for that work.

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