Saturday, December 4, 2010

Adopting Our 13 Month-Old Baby Boy

I've always loved kids and wanted lots of them--whether adopted or biological, it didn't matter--I just love the way a large family feels. In my early twenties, I adopted two young girls and thought I'd have biological children as well, but it didn't work out that way. Between my two girls, and my sister's four kids, though, there were always lots of kids around. Over time, I went through a divorce, and then got remarried and added three step-kids to the mix. Raising four teenage girls all at once was very stressful, and so when they gradually moved out of the house, Norman and I had a brief period of calm.

My youngest daughter had moved out in August of 2008--around the same time we started visiting the International House of Prayer, Atlanta. We can honestly say that going there changed our lives and the way we looked at Christianity. If you read the Bible and follow the way Jesus lived and taught us to live, it looks so different from how Christians in America live today. Norman and I joined in our church's 40 day fast in October 2008. We were praying for God to send justice to our land, especially regarding abortion. While praying one day, I felt the Holy Spirit drop into my heart the idea of adopting from foster care--older children, not babies. I know it was from God because it was one of those things I had not thought about or desired before--I thought I was done raising kids, and I didn't even know you could adopt from foster care--I thought you had to be foster parents first and then could possibly end up adopting the children in your home. I talked to Norman about it and he was open to God's will and said we should pray about it. The next day at church, Billy, the director at Ihop Atlanta, was preaching about the spirit of adoption and how it's not enough to just be against abortion--Christians need to stand up and take responsibility for the thousands of orphaned children out there. This was confirmation to us that God was putting the spirit of adoption into our hearts. The next week I contacted Bethany Christian services and in January 2009 we started taking our classes to get approved by the state to adopt from the foster care system. By July of 2009 we were home-study approved and waiting for a placement.

The most difficult part of the process for us was when caseworkers would contact us about a possible child or sibling group placement and we wouldn't feel up to the challenge and so would say no. The first sibling group we were asked about was a two-year-old and four-year-old, and the four-year-old had mental retardation and wasn't expected to ever live independently. We had told our caseworker that we could handle behavior and emotional problems but not severe medical or mental problems. But even now, this challenges us because we wonder "where is our faith?" If we have the Holy Spirit of God dwelling within us, then we, as Jesus did, should be able to bring healing and life to any child we take in. But our faith, unfortunately, wasn’t at that level at the time.

Then, in November of 2009, our caseworker called us asking if we were interested in taking a 13-month-old little boy. We were really surprised to be asked about a child so young. We knew that people wanting a baby usually have to wait for years until getting a placement. We were excited but also a little nervous, thinking “Are we too old to have a child so young?” A baby takes so much physical energy and we were unsure if we’d have the stamina, but we told the caseworker we wanted to meet him, and so a meeting was set up that following week. We met our little boy on a Monday and took him home that Friday. It was considered a “legal risk adoption” meaning his parents’ rights had not been officially terminated but it was likely that they would be soon. His caseworker told us we could start calling him whatever name we wanted to name him and so we chose David Joseph—David after Norman’s middle name and King David from the Bible, and Joseph after my dad and Joseph from the Bible.

We got David just three days before we were scheduled to fly to Pennsylvania to visit our family for Thanksgiving. So we didn’t mentioned anything about him to any of them. We wanted it to be a complete suprise--and boy were they shocked.  Everyone fell in love with him at first sight!  This was a different placement than what we were expecting (a boy 7-10 years old).  But God for some reason has chosen to bless us with this beautiful, charismatic, strong-willed, sharp little guy.  We are so thankful to Him for this "surprise" and look forward to finalization day, as well as the day when we can open our home to the other children God has prepared for us!

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