Friday, April 29, 2011

Adopting Again

It’s a new chapter, a fresh page.

Within minutes of making the decision to adopt again, my fingers flew across the keys in research. We know where we’ve been called, what we’re looking for, and we feel equipped to do it. There’s something invigorating about such confidence that was lacking the first time around.

After ten minutes of searching, however, my balloon began to deflate.

If I thought the manual to open domestic adoption was missing, it’s completely non-existent in foster care adoption.  Every website I visited was a complicated mess of tangled details that left me with more questions than answers.

Finally, I found a site that listed Michigan adoption agencies and the type of adoptions they specialize in. I’m starting out very particular. I don’t want to use an agency that does anything more than foster care adoptions. My main reasons are both centered on pressure. I don’t want to be pressured into moving into a money-making sector of an agency, nor do I want to be talked into fostering.

For right now, we know that God is calling us to adopt child(ren) out of foster care.  We don’t feel right about fostering kids with the end goal being adoption. It goes against the grain of the system’s reconciliation purpose and it doesn’t align with what we feel God’s asking us to do.

I could only find three agencies in our area that met my specifications, so I emailed all three the same snapshot. In essence, I described our passion for adoption, our openness to race and sibling groups, and our desire to honor birth order.

We may not always feel this way, but (again) for now, we would like Ty to be the oldest. Assuming assessment and placement takes around a year, we’re asking to look at children from 0-3 years old.

This morning, I received my top-picked agency’s response.

Strike one.

I’m sorry, but we’re only accepting applications of parents wishing to adopt children over the age of 8. Parents with your specifications wait years.  If you change your mind, please contact us again.      

My heart fluttered for a moment and I thought about how much easier it would be to ignore the call of God and run back to the familiar. (How backward is your reproductive life when adopting, domestically, is the easy answer?)

Thankfully, my heart surged forward and, with determination, I reminded myself that we have two more strikes. And if need be, two after that. And four after that…

God is beckoning.

We are moving.

My dreams are too big to contain. I hope you’ll join me as we turn the page.


  1. Same thing happened to me last summer when we started searching combined with being in a new state and not knowing the laws it was a tough start.

    We're working with the county and are loving the experience so far.

    Looking forward to following your journey. Praying God continues to lead you through each decision.

  2. Well you know I will be along for the ride, whatever it entails! I hope you get the response you desire from one of the two other agencies.

    Can't wait to hear more...hugs!


  3. I'm excited for your family and to be able to read how God moves in your lives. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I am a foster adopt mom. It is not an easy road. However our approach was these kids need a loving home in the time of need. We realized that the goal in every case was family reunification. But if it is Gods plan for us to adopt them, then we got and extra 1 1/2 years with child/children. By us opening our hearts and home to these children it also was one less move for child to deal with emotionally. I realize that some foster parents wait years for their forever child or children. I also have seen several adoptions taking place from infants placed in their home as foster child. We belonged to a foster parent support group. Our group had 5 couples and 2 single ladies. And in 5 months our club celebrated the following adoptions ..Single lady adopted boy she had since birth. Couple adopted 4 siblings. 2 Couples adopted one child each that were placed in their home at birth and 6 weeks old. Then 8 months later single lady adopted 3 yr old that she had in her home 15 months. And the rest of couples in club had adopted years before. I respect your feelings...just sharing my observances.

  5. SO excited for you guys!!!!! The area that I live in ONLY has Foster Adoptions. Since we are wanting to go with the Domestic Infant process we are having to look outside of our city. If you want details on the agencies, please email me. I'd love to send it to you so that you can check it out. I actually volunteer for a Children's Home that supports foster adoptions.

  6. That is very exciting! I hope you get the answers you are looking for. I understand that many, many agencies have this same policy but remember ultimately God is in coltrol! I love your postive attitude. Have you checked out... ? They are all children available for adoption out of the foster care system. Hope that helps! :)

  7. I am sorry to say I have a negative opinion...we started with foster to adopt and it was dreadful or us....could just be NM rules but after a year of waiting we were no closer then the day we started...I did not feel supported or anything....please research carefully....good luck though maybe your experience and state will be different.....God bless....

  8. Rebekah, I will be praying for you guys as you head onto this road. What a great place you both are at and I am excited to see what God has in store for your family.

  9. Just hang on! I have a feeling God is gonna take you on wonderful wild ride:).

  10. This is so exciting and of course I will be following! I was impressed with your decision to not foster if your only goal is to adopt. I work within the foster care system and so often we have to deal with foster parents who are in it for the wrong reasons (their own desire to adopt, not to help the child reunify), and in the end, the babies suffer. I really hope you find the perfect agency and the perfect situation.

  11. If God is in the process, He will lead you to what you should do and where you should go. He has a great track record.

  12. Can't wait to see wait God has planned for you! Praying that things come clearly and without question! :) SO awesome..and very exciting! Blessings!

  13. I'm excited for your family! We are also just starting the adoption process through foster care. We are in Canada and we had the choice between infant consent, legally free and fostering to adopt. We are choosing whichever comes our way first. Our wait period right now is about 2 years for our home study and then an additional year for a placement so whatever option gets us to that forever family faster is what we will go with. I feel at peace with our decision and i hope it goes smoothly.

    I will be following along with your journey and i wish you good luck!

  14. We were in the same boat as you. We had no desire to be foster parents. I don't think I could have handled the emotional side if the child was returned. Our process with adoption from foster care from first meeting to placement was 1 year. The difference? We adopted a 9 year old. It is a frustrating loop of craziness but it can be done! We were told the same thing about infant/toddler adoption. There are tons of waiting older children and very few little ones. Good luck and God bless your journey!

  15. You know I am along for the ride. I thought you were working with an agency that was new and I guess I assumed since you were affilated with them that you were going to adopt through them too. Are you still with that agency? I know you said you would tell us more when you had time but never heard and was wondering. I am very excited for you. I am sure god will take you on a journey. It is not easy to foster children and it is not for everyone. Don't let anyone talk you into doing it unless your heart is really in it. It is an exausting process. Just to let you know you can go to dhs and tell them you only want to foster to adopt and that you only want to be called if you can go forth with adoption. Just letting you know. I hope all goes well for you and can't wait to hear about your journey. We are still waiting for a call on another child to adopt. Justin has just been begging for a sister or brother and I don't want to bring in a child that Justin gets attached to if they can be taken out of the home and that is another loss to him and the child. It is hard. Love your positive energy though

  16. Praying for Ty's baby brother/sister. =) You are right about following God's's not always easy but certanily it's the only one in which we find fulfillment.

  17. Girl, we have birth order concerns, too, but you know that many of those concerns are based on NOTHING. There's not a lot of research on the necessity of kids staying in a particular birth order.

    I think the main thing is to see what you can handle in your family w/Ty already there. For us, with two "babies" (toddler and an infant), we aren't open to kids who have known sexual abuse b/c our girls aren't old enough to tell us if something like that were to happen to them.

    We have had two kids (temporary---one for 2 days, one for 3 weeks) whose parents were choosing between placing and parenting. One child was older than our oldest, and my daughter had no issues adjusting to a new "sibling." The other child was a newborn.

    The truth is, the need in foster care adoption isn't with babies. Virtually anyone will take a baby. It's with older kids, sibling groups, and minority kids.

    We, like you, are pursing foster care adoption. I have very good friends who have adopted from the system. So much of what I'm telling you is from them.

    Read "Parenting the Hurt Child" and "Adopting the Hurt Child." The book "Damaged" (by Cathy Glass) is very good, too. Also, read "Three Little Words."

    I know this post is all over the place.

    I have a girlfriend who is like us, in late 20s, early 30s. She adopted 4 kids from foster care. 3 of them are teenagers (currently). All the time people say "we are too young to adopt a child that old"---but it's not about what we think. It's about what God tells us to do. Those kids need homes and are more likely, due to age, to age out of the system and stats say they are likely to end up homeless or in prision or as young parents if they age out of the system. (Read Michael Ohrs book "I Beat the Odds"----that's the guy whose life story was told in the movie "The Blind Side").

    Foster care adoption is scary stuff...but I feel your heart and mine are inching in ways they should. Don't give up, R!

  18. I can not wait to see what God will do. How exciting!!!!!


  19. I can't wait to hear how this progresses. There isn't much information or many bloggers out there (at least that I ahve seen) who documented their fostering to adopt journey!!!

  20. That is exciting news! Lucky child! We had looked into the same situation years ago. A case worker told us that the majority of the children that should be in foster care are not identified until they get to be school age. It breaks my heart that a child has to carry that alone for that long before receiving help.

    I also read quite a bit about birth order. It can be hard to do as sweet Ty is so young, but certainly it is certainly a valid point.

    I know that your family will be blessed richly for striving to hard to follow God's lead.

  21. I've been reading your blog for some time, but am not sure I've ever commented. I'm a social worker in the foster care field. While you didn't ask for advice, I feel compelled to protect the children I work with everyday. They are in desperate need of foster families that can genuinely support the reunification process. They also need foster parents that can remain open to adoption and keeping family ties open.

    But children 0-3 (without severe special needs) are unlikely to be free for adoption outside of foster care. It generally takes 12-24 months to legally START termination procedures. It can take even longer to actually finalize those orders. And almost every state has "concurent planning" procedures - which means that children are placed in pre-adoptive foster homes prior to parents rights being terminated. There is a huge push to not create "legal orphans" - meaning they won't even start termination process until a child is in a preadoptive home.

    I don't say these things to discourage you - but I know your heart is in adoption and I don't want to see you get frustrated. Good luck and feel free to contact me through my blog if you have questions or would like more info!

  22. Congratulations on starting the crazy ride! I too am adopting from foster care after adopting my son with a private domestic adoption. I'm a bit ahead of you, as my home study is complete and now I am just waiting to be matched. I started the process last June.

    If you really are set on a relatively healthy child under 3 you are going to have to foster first. I am a social worker too and the chances of a young child being placed with you for straight adoption are slim to none.

    My son is just a bit older than yours - he was 2 in Jan. - and I feel confident he will be able to handle an older sibling. The real adjustment will be having to share me, regardless of the age of Number Two. I did say I don't want to artificially twin but people find a way to make that work too.

    There is a lot of antecdotal evidence out there about adopting out of birth order but not a lot of real evidence. From what I've read, it depends a lot on how you as parents handle what comes up, which I'm sure you would handle with flying colors.

    Check this out:,%20Artificial%20Twinning%20and%20Other%20Controversies%20in%20Adoption

    It's probably the most thorough info I've seen out there. It doesn't sugar coat the realities of adopting out of birth order but neither does it say it will automatically be a total disaster.

    Good luck and hopefully we will both be bringing our children home soon!

  23. I've had this same problem when we started to explore adopting from foster care. North Carolina attempts to reconcile families for almost two years before the steps are taken to release the child for adoption. Our home study is for children up to 12 months. Very rarely will they terminate parental rights at birth. Sigh.

  24. Right there with you! Love you and can't wait to meet the new addition(s) to your family :)

  25. We live in different states, but you would find the same response in the state where I live. I am a foster parent, and most of the private agencies will not license people who are only open to children under the age of 5, because there is not a need. (The county will license anyone, but then you'll just go months or years without getting a placement.)

    The reason for this is that there are plenty of people willing to take young children, so it is not worth the agencies time and resources to license people who are only willing to take babies because they already have waiting lists of people that are several years long for this age group. Sadly, many people see adoption from foster care as a way to get a "free" baby. I'm not saying that is your reason for choosing younger children, but that is the reason there really is not a need for people to adopt young children from foster care.

    Of the people who do adopt young children from foster care, it is generally a situation where they took in the baby as a foster placement and then parental rights were terminated and that child became free for adoption. Most foster parents who have a baby who becomes legally free for adoption are going to adopt that child, which is one reason that there are not many babies or toddlers sitting around legally free and waiting for a family. Since you are not open to fostering, the odds go way down of you finding a young child to adopt out of the foster care system.

    If you are set on adopting through foster care, you might want to reconsider where the need is and think through if you would be able/willing to adopt an older child. If you are set on having a baby, you might want to consider adopting outside of foster care or just be very realistic that you may be waiting years for a young child who is legally free for adoption to come through your county.

  26. I am a blog stalker who has followed your blog for awhile. Linking you to

    I know you will find her blog timely and inspiring...and hopefully helpful also. She will be glad to share with you.

  27. I've always loved reading your blog and sharing (in some small way) in your story. Can't wait to see what God will do! I'm praying for you as you get ready to dip your toes back in the water... or jump in with both feet. Praying He'll direct every single step!