While we wait for 1 piece of paper to get cleared up with our son-to-be's file in Ethiopia, we are trying to promote the cause of the orphan. Need something to keep us busy, right? Some people may tire of hearing about it, but I don't think people talk about it nearly enough. And, since November is Adoption Awareness Month and this is MY blog containing MY thoughts, I thought I'd share some of them with whomever is brave enough to read them :o)
30 Reasons why Kyle and I should NOT be adopting right now.
(Strange list to post on an adoption blog, don't you think?)
1) We have 4 children already (5 including our baby girl in Heaven)
2) Two of them are eating & growing like you wouldn't believe
3) Two of them need at least 1 surgery in the next 6 months (maybe more)
4) Our washer broke (today actually), and our dryer has been sick
5) We just repaired a leak in a bathroom
6) We're always on-the-go as it is
7) We're busy with ministry at church
8) We both have jobs that demand our time & attention
9) We only have 4 bedrooms (and they aren't very big)
10) We can seat 6 comfortably around our dining room table; not 7
11) Our kitchen is NOT made for 3 or 4 people...much less 7
12) There are repairs we "should" make to our home
13) We would need another bicycle for another child
14) We'd need more clothes and shoes for another child
15) Taking 7 people on vacation is expensive - if ever we could afford to go
16) Kyle's dad is very sick right now and we need to focus on him
17) Getting check-ups, dental exams, parent/teacher conferences for 4 is plenty
18) Our son-to-be might not like it here
19) Our kids might have a hard time with a "stranger" in the house
20) He won't speak English
21) He's never been in school, so we will probably need to home school and/or do private school
22) I'm not a home school mom.
23) Private school is expensive (MJ is in one already, can we afford another one?)
24) Our savings will be used up - again
25) We won't finalize in 2011 - our adoption tax credit won't be refundable
26) What if he comes home and he has medical issues they didn't know about?
27) If our van is out of commission, our car only seats 5
28) He'll need a dresser...or closet space...we have neither - and no room for either
29) He'll probably want his own "stuff" - but what?
30) What if he doesn't bond with us...or us with him
Why we are choosing to grow our family - again:
1) Because God told us our son is waiting for us
2) Because of the previous post entitled "Mother, that's my mother!"
3) Because we already love him...and worry about him...and think about him...
4) Because we want to
5) Because it's the right thing to do (so says the 6 of us)
I read a post on someone else's blog recently entitled "How to be the village." The adoptive mom wrote all the supportive things friends and family have done to help her...and then she boldly wrote about all the things people have said and done (or not done) that wouldn't qualify as helpful. It was the most honest thing I've read in a long time - loved it! I bet you can guess what's coming next...can't you?
If you want to bless the socks off of an adoptive family, keep these 15 things in mind:
1) It will take a while for the process to unfold...so don't ask them EVERY week "Where are you at with your adoption?" Especially at the beginning.
2) If you want to know where they are at, read their blog! They didn't create it, tell you about it and send you the link for no reason. Their blog posts will keep you updated...and it makes them feel good when you say "I read your blog about..."
3) Make comments on their blog. Give them encouragement, tell them how you felt reading it, say you love them
4) Offer to help with fundraising - Be a blessing and give them NICE things to sell. If you REALLY want to be a BLESSING, though, sell your own stuff, at your own yard sale and walk the money to their house. They're busy with paperwork and living life (see above post). Having a yard sale FOR them actually takes the stress OFF them. If they are fundraising, that means they aren't doing something else that needs their attention (again, see above post).
5) Don't assume that if they are fundraising it means they don't have enough money and they shouldn't be adopting. In actuality, most everyone you and I know could probably financially afford to care for another child should he/she show up on the doorstep without a "price tag". It's the adoption fees to get him/her to the porch that they need help with. Ask yourself: "Would I be able to come up with an extra $25-$30k in less than 12 months?" If so...well, you know what you could do with it :o)
6) Don't think of monetary donations you make the the family as a gift FOR the family. Think of it going directly to the child they are bringing home - because that's what they are spending it on. They're not keeping it, they're not buying a car or a big screen T.V. with it - promise!
7) If a family does have a fundraiser - please show up. If you don't, at least send something acknowledging that you care about the fundraising part of the process. Financial barriers are, after all, the #1 reason families site for not adopting.
8) Pray for them. And when you tell them you are praying, actually do it. Not a 1 sentence "Hail Mary" in the shower when you happen to have their name run through your head (though showering & praying can be done at the same time). Actually spend time in prayer for their particular adoption. Pray God will open the doors to the right agency, the right contacts, that the money they will need will come in, that their waiting child (wherever he or she is) is safe and being protected, that God will send someone to that child in the meantime to provide for his or her basic needs, that the anxiety and worry during the adoption process will be minimal for the family, that their current family will be protected emotionally, physically and spiritually during the process, that the paperwork necessary on both sides will be handled properly and timely....etc. etc. etc.
9) Sacrifice something of yours...for them. Giving an adoptive family something you already have laying around that you don't need (like an old bed, crib or clothes) is a nice gesture, but seriously ask yourself if you could do more. Make it a family affair. Maybe DON'T go out to dinner 5x in the next 2 months, and put the money you normally spend in the mail to the adoptive family with a note saying what you are joyfully giving up. DON'T see the new releases of the next 5 movies that come out and wait for them to hit Redbox instead. Send the money you would have spent at Cinemark to the adoptive family with a note about what you are joyfully giving up. If you receive a bonus at work, ask God if maybe your bonus was meant for someone else. If the family has children and they need to get paperwork done (or housework / car repairs done because paperwork has taken time away from housework / car repairs), treat their children to a movie, or ice cream, or invite them to your house for a sleep-over. Their current children are sacrificing - guaranteed - in order for their sibling to come home! Maybe you could, too?
10) Ask questions about the process. Ask how the home study is coming. Learn how contact between birth parents and adoptive parents happens (or doesn't). Learn something about the country they are adopting from; ask them what they are learning. It's like asking a pregnant mother "how is the baby?" or "how are you feeling these days", or has your due date changed?"
11) Admit ignorance. If you don't know why adoption is so expensive, for example - ask! Don't assume "someone" is "making money" on this. And don't talk about how corrupt "other governments" are. Adoptive families (particularly those adopting internationally) already know there are risks. Adoptive families are willing to take these risks. If you talk about these things negatively (and ignorantly), you're actually insinuating that the adoptive family is making a big mistake...or a bad investment. It's not a mistake, and this isn't some kind of investment for a portfolio. This is their child. They are investing in their child's life, and they are going to do whatever is necessary to bring their child home. This means paying all necessary and appropriate fees; foreign and/or domestic. I guess what mom says is true after all: If you can't say something nice, don't say anything."
12) Stop educating yourself about adoption by what you see on T.V. or in a movie! Media has a way of reporting the 2% that is absolutely horrible about any given topic. If you don't believe me, watch the news for 1 week and ask yourself what the first 5 minutes of any given newscast was about. Instead, educate yourself by learning from those who've been there or who work in the field. Read adoptive family blogs (they're everywhere). Ask the adoptive family questions. Call an agency yourself and ask questions. But ask...don't assume.
13) Say something. Say, "I don't know what to say". Say, "That's awesome you're adopting, I have no idea how that process works." By saying nothing to a waiting adoptive family is like saying nothing to your 9 month pregnant sister about the baby so obviously growing inside her tummy. Adoptive families are "pregnant" too - it's called being paper pregnant.
14) Don't tell the family how wonderful they are for "doing something like this." Do you tell couples who are pregnant "so glad you got 'together' 9 months ago and made one of those cute babies?" Adoption isn't charity. Adoption is one way to grow a family, and for some couples, the only way. Keep in mind that Adoption is Plan A too! After all, God invented it and Jesus was adopted.
15) If the family is adopting from another country, don't assume the child will love their new country and family so much better. There will be sadness. There will be tears. There will be a time of transition. There will be questions later in life. And there will be a need to keep one's origins in tact - lovingly. Birth families are priceless no matter what country they are from, how they lived (or how they died), and if it weren't for them, the adoptive family wouldn't be excitedly "expecting."
There are many, many more things, I'm sure. But for now, this is my little "awareness raising" or "adoption education according to me" for the day. Admittedly, this post started weeks ago...but I was busy, living life (see above post yet again), like all adoptive families do. And it took a while to make time for this, too. Hopefully someday, something here will make someone say "AH! I never thought of that." And someday, maybe YOU'LL be the one writing about adoption on your new blog (yes, this means you)!