In the last month, our blog has had over 1200 hits, yet we have not posted. Over 25% of all of our blog activity has occurred since the disrupted adoption process. Our situation is unique, surprising, and devastating; it is also apparently intriguing. Very little material is published on adoption processes that do not go well. In my own research on this, I could find little more than some inflammatory blogs and outdated social work textbooks circa 1985. While our situation did not involve an adoption dissolution (where the child is legally adopted, brought home, and then the adoption is broken), I am now no longer guilty of judging those parents who make that very difficult choice either. One blogger said, “Normal people do not disrupt adoptions.” I suppose that means that Kevin and I are abnormal for realizing that in an attempt to adopt one child, we would have been traumatizing 3. I don’t call that abnormal; I call that logistical. I am thankful that Kevin and I had eyes to see that bringing J home would have meant that she would have not been able to live at our house due to the severity of her needs and behaviors. There would have been no way to keep the boys safe in our own home. Having recently seen another situation somewhat similar to ours transpire in my professional life, I have a clear understanding of the trauma that would have ensued for J in a foreign (to her) country where ethically and legally she would not have been to stay in a home with our younger kids.
Everyone loves a happy ending, especially in the adoption world. It is easy to judge situations that we do not see with our own eyes. When we imagined and prepared for our situation with J, based on our referral, we envisioned a thousand different scenarios, but what we experienced was not one of them. This is of course primarily because of the deficits communication regarding her case. Readers, it is not ok, it is never ok, to not have full disclosure on safety issues, particularly when the adoptive family has younger children in the home. I cannot emphasize this enough. This experience has motivated me to shift my dissertation focus, into possibly examining the issues with deficient referrals. It has also motivated me to pursue a medical missions trip to China in August where I will be able to perform assessments on children in orphanages there, and know that families who desire to adopt these kids have an accurate picture of the special needs.
I know that many people wonder how we are doing these days. We are back to work and school and life in general. I cannot say enough wonderful things about our support systems. I do not know if I have ever personally known the power of an encouraging word so much as I do now. Our small group cleaned our house from top to bottom before we returned from Colombia and put together a lovely gift basket with foods, wine, Halloween candy for the boys, and gift cards! One of my friends sent me the cheeriest pair of sparkly shoes that make me smile when I wear them. Another friend handmade me a beautiful prayer shawl/cowl that feels like a hug when I wear it. Numerous friends have sent notes, messages, texts, and prayers. Close friends have sat and listened to the whole story with open hearts and soft words. One friend’s words resound in my heart every day, “How could you have made any other decision? ” Another said, “It took a lot of courage to do what was right for the boys.” It was so meaningful to see Jesus in our loved ones when we had difficulty understanding God’s will in the mess.
Many people have also asked if we have received an update on how J is doing. I can tell you that she was happy to leave us the day of the disruption. There were no tears, no clinging, nothing but smiles. She was convinced that her real mother was at the orphanage so, in her mind, she was going “home.” Since that day, we have not received more updates, but we anticipate that we may sometime soon. Because of what transpired in Colombia, our dossier is “frozen” there while the investigation occurs. Regardless, Kevin and I have made the decision to officially withdrawal our dossier from Colombia, meaning that we not longer wish to pursue an adoption in that country. What does this mean for our adoption process in the future? We have decided to put our materials with our adoption agency on hold for up to 2 years (this is the longest we can do so without losing our information, processes, and money). In the meantime, we will focus on learning more about other programs and refining our materials. It is not at all, and never has been, our intention to find a “perfect” child. We want to bring our family to a child that needs one! We want to provide a safe, loving home for our children, all of our children. We have made some definite decisions on what we will and will not do in the future.
-We will not pursue an adoption out of birth order ever again. We cannot put the boys in any kind of situation where their safety is compromised. We understand that many families have successfully adopted outside of birth order and have had wonderful experiences. We are not saying anything about anyone else’s situation.
-We will not pursue an adoption where we do not have video footage of the child prior to meeting them. We would also appreciate the ability to Skye with the child first.
-We will not pursue adoption until the boys have fully processed the situation in Colombia.
-We will ensure, prior to travel, that the child wants to be adopted and understands adoption (unless this is age inappropriate).
-We will ensure that we know of any aggressive behaviors (physical, sexual, etc) even if the referral states that there are none.
-We will continue to ask for God’s will in the process, even when we are not actively seeking an adoption.
In closing, I recently read an Oswald Chamber’s devotion that spoke directly to my soul. I invite you to do the same. Click here to read it. One excerpt, “Our yesterdays hold broken and irreversible things for us. It is true that we have lost opportunities that will never return, but God can transform this destructive anxiety into a constructive thoughtfulness for the future. Let the past rest, but let it rest in the sweet embrace of Christ. Leave the broken, irreversible past in His hands, and step out into the invincible future with Him.”
PS-a pic of my handsome boys on Thanksgiving…..