We’ve Been Asked to Adopt a Child. Now what? {Adoption.com Article}

Being asked to adopt a child is an incredible gift, but also comes with some very serious decisions and things to consider.  Below is a link to an article I wrote for Adoption.com.  It gives suggestions on what to consider when one has been asked to adopt a child.

“Permanency through adoption for all children, regardless of the type of adoption, is something that offers children the love, stability, and protection of a family. If you have been asked to adopt a child, consider yourself blessed to be in the remarkable position of making an incredible difference in the life of a child.”

If you have been asked to adopt a child, I hope you find this helpful.

We’ve been asked to adopt a child. Now what?

Blessings,

Caroline

On the Night You were Born {Happy 9th Birthday, Son}

20150912_170003On the night you were born, I left my office with a bit of despair in my heart.  You don’t know this, but Daddy and I had said “yes” to another baby that day.  We waited, and waited, but the phone did not ring.  Later in the day, the call I received was one that told me that the little baby boy we were excited to welcome into our hearts and home would not be coming.

I was devastated.  I knew that this was a part of foster parenting, but I so wanted to wrap that little one in my arms that night.  I packed up the baby stuff I had collected, put it aside, and then went to sleep with what felt like the weight of the world on me.  I cried tears that seemed to have been held in for so many years, and I pleaded to the Lord.  I prayed.  I begged.

With sorrow and a tint of faith-stained prayer, I said,  “Father, just give me a chance to be a Mommy to a baby, even if only for a little while.  I just want to hold a baby in my arms, and feel that incredible emotion of Motherhood.  I want this, Lord.  I need this.”

On the night you were born, I cried myself to sleep.

On the night you were born, your birth mother held you in her arms while I truly wondered what my future would look like.  As she was delivering your precious little soul into this world, I was starting to question if the heartbreak of loving and potentially losing a child through fostering was worth it.

As she was giving you your name, I was feeling this nameless, faceless emptiness. As she whispered her love to you, I whispered my grief to our Father in Heaven.

On the night you were born, two mothers:  one with child, one without, felt very intense, yet different emotions.  One felt the incredible measure of love, while the other felt a deeper degree of faith.

Two days after the night you were born, you entered my life.  An unexpected phone call, quick decision, and sudden rush to the hospital resulted in my eyes viewing a beautiful, innocent, and so deeply cherished little boy.  When I first saw you, my breath was taken away.  You were, and still are, so incredible in my eyes.

Throughout fostering you, I held onto the truth that the Lord had delivered my pleadings on the night you were born.  Daddy and I did not know how long we would call you “ours”.  We wanted so much for your birth mother to work it all out, but we also feared the thought of a life without you.

We grew to care for your birth mother, deeply.  Through much prayer, we came to realize that the journey we were on was not about us, but about you.  What a gift this was.

Here we are, nine years later, and I still marvel at the makings of our story that began on the night you were born.  Words will never be able to fully explain just how much you mean to us.  Only the Lord Himself knows the language my heart cannot deliver.

On the night you were born, while I was laboring with grief, and your birth mother was laboring in hope, two mothers, and a whole host of angels were rejoicing in the scripting of the magnificent creation of you.

Nine years ago, on the night you were born, while I was meddling in the deepest pit of sorrow, and your birth mother was visiting the joys of love and concern, the Lord knew the narrative of life that was unfolding.  This knowledge, Son, is the very reason why my soul is captivated by the wonder of you, and the richness of a faithful God.

Happy 9th Birthday, Son.  Love you, forever.

Six Things NOT to Say to Someone Experiencing Infertility

From my life experience, I learned that words (whether meaning to, or not) can definitely impact the way a person feels about his or her own situation.  I think we tend to feel the need to “say something” when faced with the sadness of another one’s life.

From the very moment I had my hysterectomy so young, I caught on quickly that a gentle acknowledgement of the loss was often replaced by words of so-called wisdom from others.  Because of this, I have come up with a list of things NOT to say to someone who is experiencing infertility and barrenness.  Some of these have been spoken to me time and time again, while others are ones that I have heard said to other people.

  1. “You can always adopt.”  Yes, there is an element of truth in this, but please consider the fact that the person is still caught up in the midst of wondering why he or she cannot have biological children.  It is time that we separate infertility from adoption.  They are two completely different experiences.
  2. “If it is God’s will, then it will happen.”  Again, um…yes.  As a Christian, I believe in the will of God, but please don’t say this to people going through infertility.  Some of the most faithful, devout people I have encountered are barren.  Their very essence is screaming out to the Lord for an answer to what is going on, so please refrain from using this blanket statement.  Infertility is more complex than that.  And, for those of us who have adopted, we are fully aware of the incredible, God-driven gift our children are to us.
  3. “At least you don’t have to endure labor.”  Oh, really.  I mean, really?!?!  I would probably trade a leg for being able to birth my children.  Seriously.  I am not joking.  The physical pain experienced pales in comparison to the emotional pain experienced by infertility and barrenness.
  4. “I would love to skip the pregnancy, and just have an instant baby!”  Okay, fine.  I cannot imagine growing another human being in my body, and I am sure that it is really awkward and all, but think about what you are saying.  Those of us who have adopted may be dealing with the choices others made during their pregnancies of our children.  We think about what we would have done during our pregnancies.  We consider what choices might have been made by the birth mothers of our children, and our hearts break because of it.  Also, confession time:  I used to stick a ball under my shirt and look at myself in the mirror.  I hoped to catch a glimpse of what my “pregnant belly” would look like; kinda like when a little girl does this.  However, I was in my upper twenties-early thirties.  And, there is nothing “instant” about adoption.  Plus, see number three.
  5. “There are so many children who need families, and you can be that family.”   As an advocate for adoption, I completely agree with this.  This world has left far too many children without the presence and safety of parents.  However, when one is going through the ups and downs of infertility, they are still seeking answers to their situation.  In many respects, they are not at a place to consider bringing in a child.  An adopted child is NOT a substitute for not being able to have birth children.  The children in need of adoption are unique, precious, and far more deserving of being considered a replacement.
  6. “Just try harder.  Just relax.”  I don’t even know what to say to this, except I can tell you that people who are experiencing infertility and undergoing treatment put their lives on hold in order to have a successful pregnancy.  They put forth a tremendous amount of effort and money for this to happen.  It is not a matter of trying hard enough.  Oh, and in way, it is kinda none of your business about how hard “they are trying,”

While there are other comments I have endured listening to, these tend to pop out in my mind.  I truly hope this list doesn’t offend you.  If you have said this to someone going through infertility, don’t beat yourself up over it.  It seems that most people I know who are going through it have developed a thick shell.

I do ask that instead of saying any of these things, perhaps you would consider saying, “I don’t understand what this is like, but know that I am here for you, I am praying for you, and I will support you.”  These words tend to resonate loudly in the hearts and minds of others.

Words are an interesting thing.  We are taught as children that “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” I don’t believe that.  I think that words can be very hurtful.  I also believe that words can be empowering, insightful, and comforting.

If you are someone experiencing infertility, let me just say this:  Your journey is your own.  It is not for others to dictate.  Do what you believe is best for your life, and situation.  Know that there are so many others out there in this big world who are sharing in your struggle.  Find them.  Connect with them.  And, don’t give up.