March 06, 2014

A Change of Plans

The last few months have been kind of eventful when it comes to our adoption journey.

A lot of people don't know this, but in October, our monthly update from our agency included a notice that there were waiting sibling groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  They were asking if anyone would be willing to adopt 2 or more children and switch countries.  After some talking, we let our case worker know we would be interested.  A week later we were matched with 2 girls.  Sisters.  A baby and a toddler.  We loved them from the moment we knew about them.

I could tell you about the first time I saw their picture, and how they took my breath away.  I could tell you about how amazingly happy we were.  I could tell you about the plans and dreams that filled every free moment.  But instead, I will make a long story short by saying that 2 weeks after we were matched, and the exact same day that our referral was made official, the DRC (essentially) closed.

I don't know quite how to describe the following months.  I don't know how to describe losing daughters I never met, or held, or could even legally call mine.  The worst part was not feeling like I had a right to mourn - or even feel - their loss.  All I will say is that, if you know someone going through the adoption process and at any point something falls through, give them a hug - acknowledge their loss and affirm their grief.  It means so much.

We switched all of our paperwork back to Uganda and decided to just wait for a while.  For once, the wait was a relief.  We needed time to recover.

In the meantime, the length of time families have to spend in-country (the biggest factor in our decision to switch to the DRC - which had a much shorter time in-country required) jumped up to 10+ weeks...and it is highly probable that the length of time will only increase as we wait.  We've been talking and talking each month about when we would reach the breaking point where we say this just isn't feasible anymore - and between the heartbreak of having a country close on us and the reality that we don't have that kind of time to spend overseas, we both realized that we had reached that point.

In the meantime, over the past 6 months (maybe longer) we've been feeling our hearts drawn more and more toward foster care and the need for foster families.  After a lot of talking, praying, and gathering of information we've decided to start the process of becoming a foster family in our community.

It wasn't a decision we made lightly.  It isn't something we think will be easy.  We know that not every child who enters our home will stay, and that no child that enters our home is truly "ours" unless a judge makes a lot of other rulings to make them so.  We also know that providing a loving, stable environment for the children who enter our home - for whatever time they are there - is worth it.  We are excited to move forward in answering the call we feel to care for the most vulnerable in our community.

I thought it would be hard to walk away from my dream of adopting from Uganda.  I thought I would feel torn or grieve the loss of that hope and expectation for our family.  I have been surprised by the peace that has accompanied this decision.  Even while talking with our case worker from the Uganda program (to officially withdraw from the program, and from their agency - which cannot license us for foster care), I felt enthusiastic and confident in this direction for our family.  It has been surprising, but also a relief.  The peace feels like confirmation that this is where we are called for now.

  We still have a heart for orphans around the world, and are talking about tangible ways (other than adoption) in which we can answer the call we feel to care for them.  One of the ways is financially.  See, we've already had some fundraisers for our adoption, but foster care is significantly less expensive than international adoption (they are literally opposite ends of the financial spectrum).  We've decided to contact those who donated large amounts to offer a refund. However, there is some we can't return (either because we didn't keep track of smaller donations and therefore don't know amounts, or because the donation was through items to sell at yard sales, or because it was through the purchase of an item). This money we are planning to donate to (un)adopted - a ministry of our adoption agency that seeks to provide better care and education for orphans and at-risk children in their own country.  See the work they are doing in Uganda here.  This way, the money that was given to help orphans in other countries will still be used for that purpose - just in a different way than we originally anticipated.

We have started the process of becoming a foster family.  It turns out that we pretty much have to redo everything we have already done - paperwork, education, home study, even fingerprints!  We've already accomplished a lot - getting enrolled, fingerprints, classes, our first home study and a LOT of paperwork.  We will keep you posted on our progress.  For now, thank you all for your prayers and support through the last couple of years.  It means more to us than we can express.

p.s. After we had made the decision and started the process, I was looking up some recipes in a favorite food blog, and discovered that she and her husband had been through a very similar adoption journey.  Her post describes perfectly our heart and what we feel as we move forward - MUCH better than what I have just written! Read HERE.

Since I wrote this post, we hit a bump in the road (or, considering the weather this winter, "gigantic pot hole" might be more appropriate!).  The twins turned 5, and one of the rules is that siblings of opposite genders may not share a room after they turn 5 - even our biological children.  Our licensing agent asked if we could be granted a waiver since ours are twins, but we were denied.  The twins very emphatically do NOT want to be in separate rooms (wouldn't you know, just within the last few months nightmares and intense fear of the dark have become a huge problem - they have no desire to be alone at night.  In fact, I think they wish there were more than 2 of them in that room!), and we very emphatically do not want to push anything that we know would be traumatic for them.  We are hoping to write a letter to appeal our case, but, other than that, our only option is to just wait until they are ready to separate and try starting the process again then.  The thought of waiting - especially for another undefined, but probably lengthy amount of time - is excruciating.  We've already waited so long! We were most likely a few weeks away from our license, and the twins have started asking daily when brothers and sisters will come to live with us.  We were all SO ready, and so excited.  This has been tough news to absorb.  Please pray for wisdom and patience as we move forward.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It will all work out in due time. For some reason things have not happened yet. You guys have so much love to give and you will do it no matter what direction it is. Prayers always. Love, Nana