Hi guys! I’m super excited to share this post with you today – the first ever guest post on this blog!
November is National Adoption Month and our guest blogger Naomi from Living Out 127 is here to share with us a little about her heart for adoption, as well as some of the steps to take to start the process. I loved reading what she has to say and know you will too.
Naomi has also generously offered to give away a copy of her book, Don’t Waste Your Wait: Embracing the Journey of Bringing Your Child Home. Be sure to enter the giveaway at the bottom of this post!
In Psalm 68:6, we read that God places the lonely in families. As children of God, the message of adoption is written on our hearts. Through the sacrifice of Jesus, we have all been adopted into the family of God. It is out of an overflow of that love that we consider opening our hearts and homes to a child in need of a family!
Before we began courting, I expressed to my husband the desire God had placed on my heart. From the time I was eight years old, Louisa May Alcott’s Little Men had birthed a desire in me to open my heart and home to children in need of a family. We knew it was in our future, and were constantly praying about God’s perfect timing to move forward.
When our third child was six months old, we began the adoption process. Since it was something I had known we would do, I had researched quite a bit. Being familiar with the process allowed me to focus on each step, and gave us a foundation to work from.
If you have been considering adoption from foster care, I hope the following helps you find a foundation from which to work. Laws vary by county, and every experience is unique. But there are some key ways to prepare, and a typical order in which the adoption process takes place.
Before You Begin
Take the time to pray and listen for God’s leading. Ensuring that you and your spouse are in agreement is imperative! Adoption is beautiful and hard. The trauma and loss these children have faced is often unimaginable. Beginning in unity, and keeping that as a priority, is not only best for your marriage, but best for the child you will be adopting!
Consider the options of foster care versus adoption. The purpose of foster care is reunification. This means, families providing foster care do so for the purpose of allowing the birth family time to complete an action plan that has been ordered by the judge. This plan is individual to each case, and is designed to ensure the safety and well being of the child involved. A child can be placed in your home for days to years, depending upon the parents’ involvement, participation, and success in the court ordered plans.
Find an agency. Research the agencies available in your county. Both state and private agencies exist. There are pros and cons to each, though our family has found the additional support of agency workers to be beneficial.
Attend an information meeting. You may want to attend several information meetings, with different agencies, before making your selection! These meetings should inform you of the agency’s general policies, the current need in your area, and an overview of the process. Most meetings end with a time for questions, so go prepared with the questions you have!
Fill out an application. A preliminary application will ensure your family is eligible to begin the adoption process. Upon submission, it will be reviewed by the agency. Once approved, the formal application will be sent to you. This application process includes medical forms, background checks, and references.
Complete training classes. Training is designed to equip parents to deal with the unique needs of children who have experienced trauma and neglect. Many parents have a hard time accepting the reality that children who are in need of care have experienced loss, and thus require assistance grieving. The behaviors, situations, and case histories discussed in trainings can be overwhelming. But it is important to be present, physically, emotionally, and mentally.
Prepare your home for a safety visit. Part of the homestudy process is a home safety check. Every county has different requirements. Some things every county will expect are medicines and chemicals clearly labeled and out of reach; any weapons locked up with ammunition kept locked in a separate location; vaccination records for pets; safety measures for young children (gates, cabinet locks, outlet covers, etc.); water temperature controlled; toilet flushes properly; and well water had been tested.
Prepare your heart for adoption. Trauma triggers trauma. This is something that will, hopefully, be addressed in your training. However, making sure past personal issues of abandonment, rejection, abuse, trauma, and infertility are being properly dealt with is necessary. As parents, it is our job to guide our children to and through healing. In order to do this, we must be walking in it ourselves! It does not mean we have everything all together, and have no wounds. It simply means we have acknowledged areas of personal struggle and are seeking help to deal with them in a Godly way!
We have now adopted twice from foster care. Our sons are a blessing from God, and such a beautiful part of our family! The process comes with a learning curve. There are frequently changes to plans, and it is best to expect the unexpected! But I hope this post has helped you know what to anticipate as you begin your adoption adventure!
Have you considered adoption? What part of the process are you the most excited or nervous about? We’d love to hear from you in the comments. And don’t forget to enter the giveaway below!
A little about today’s author:
Naomi loves Jesus. She is married to her best friend, John. They have six amazing, beautiful kids, two of whom have been adopted from the foster care system. Naomi homeschools their tribe of world changers. She is a type-A, list-making, change-fearing girl living an adventure that demands flexibility, spontaneity, and constant change! Through her words, she prays you’ll find something that points your heart to the Dream Giver and the Author of each of our stories – Jesus. You can find Naomi on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest 🙂