Joseph and I have been on the adoption journey for eight months now. In some ways, it feels like those eight months have passed quickly. In others, thick oatmeal moving off a wooden spoon seems like a more accurate metaphor. Is it moving? I think it’s moving. Yes, it’s moving a little. Sliding. Slowly, but yes. Plop! Something happened! Next spoonful.
Quick recap: Last Christmas, we knew God was confirming it was time to start the adoption process, so we submitted an application to DSS in early January. Once we were into the training portion of DSS’s application, we realized how much we wanted to adopt a newborn, and we decided to apply with a private agency as well. A local adoption consultant was recommended to us, and we sent her an application. Our plan was to continue the process with DSS and apply in the private sector. We saw it as casting the net wider, and it seemed like a promising plan. After moving through the private home study before we even finished our training for DSS, we found ourselves drawn more and more to a private adoption. God was providing funds in a big way, and that affirmed to us we were headed in the right direction. This summer, we received a letter from DSS indicating that our application would be on hold for at least six months due to resource limitations they’re experiencing. That letter was even more confirmation for us.
We’ve been presented twice this summer, but the birth families chose other adoptive families each time. Those were painful experiences, but they strengthened our relationship and our trust that God is sovereign and has a good plan.
Our adoption consultant contacted us a few times over the last several months. She said things were a bit slow on her end (we’ve been told adoptions are down everywhere), and she encouraged us to look for an agency or a lawyer with whom we could work directly. (Adoption consultants have relationships with multiple agencies and lawyers and connect adoptive families to those resources. They do not work directly with birth families, and they do not finalize adoptions.) We were hesitant for a while. We liked our consultant a lot (we still do!), and we didn’t sense God leading us in a different direction. If He wasn’t leading, we weren’t budging!
Each time, our consultant recommended a lawyer here in the upstate. I had all sorts of images in my mind of what working with a lawyer would be like, and none of them were positive. These images are likely the result of watching too many Sunday afternoon Lifetime movies with my grandmother. All I could picture was a lawyer driving up in a black car to meet a teenager in an alley basically to steal her baby so he could sell it to a rich couple who couldn’t conceive. Horrible! And terribly inaccurate!
We requested an information packet from the lawyer, read a little of it when it arrived, and I whined and cried! Were we seriously even considering this? I didn’t want to work with a lawyer!
Keep in mind that I never spoke with anyone about adopting through a lawyer in the 21st century and not as a part of a Lifetime movie, and our consultant spoke SO highly of this lawyer. Still, every time I thought about it, I felt sick to my stomach.
God wasn’t opening any other doors, so we decided to crawl forward. We asked our family and close friends to pray for discernment. We pulled the information packet out again and (gasp!) read the whole thing. We looked at his website and watched a video of him talking about the practice. Surprise, surprise, he wasn’t creepy. He actually seemed really down to earth and passionate about helping families adopt.
We went to a consultation with the lawyer and his social worker/birth mother counselor last week, and we really liked them. While I cried some and felt overwhelmed a few times, we also laughed a lot and felt hopeful. We both left his office knowing we wanted to sign up with him, and that’s exactly what we did the next day. We are on his active waiting list! (You may be interested to know that he doesn’t work down the waiting list, meaning people at the top of the waiting list adopt first. There is a matching process, which means we could match before a couple who’s been waiting for a while does, or we could wait a really long time!)
One of my biggest concerns with shifting directions again was that we would be starting over. That thought broke my heart. Signing up with the lawyer doesn’t feel like that at all. It almost feels like transferring to a college that accepts all your credits from your first school. You didn’t lose anything, and you ended up somewhere that’s a better fit and will get you to graduation. We didn’t lose any time or money, and we feel hopeful that we’re on the right path to bring a baby home.
Thank you all for your prayers. We appreciate them! Please be praying specifically for a match and for the remaining $15,000 or so in funds we need. We’ll be setting up a GoFundMe (or something similar) soon. We’ll keep you all updated as things happen!