So, since our Fotolantrhopy film came out + I’ve been throwing down the challenge to say YES to what God is calling you to…I’ve had people tell me ” we want to adopt…now what?” So I thought I’d start a post and tell you some of our story + then give you some resources and connect you with some great organizations + websites to get you started.
When God put adoption on our heart, it wasn’t anything I’d ever thought of. I didn’t have friends who had adopted or were in the process of adopting, and as far as I knew I didn’t even know anyone who WAS adopted.
Seriously within the first few days God just put so many people in front of us: a little Ethiopian boy [bennett] who was a ring bearer in Stephen’s best friends wedding, a connection to an adoption blog/mama through photography stuff, an almost sister-in-law of my good friend who had a heart to adopt, my boss’ sister in law going to an adoption conference I was already going to to hear Esther Havens [didn’t even know it was an adoption conference!] , just the list goes on [by the way, I met my bestie Jenna at that conference!].
I’ve heard some call it ” the red thread”. Ya know when you are wanting to buy a new car & you see it all over town? Well it was like that, God kept putting people connected to adoption in our path. Maybe they had been there for awhile, and He gave me new eyes? Regardless, it was an exciting time. Meeting all those people connected me with more people that had been through the process. I have been known to call friends of friends or leave voicemails on random strangers home phones [who now are my good friends, mama kiki!] to ask about their story + their process to adopt.
The thing you need to know about adoption is our community is beautiful. women who are full of jesus and grace and wisdom and a lot of of information they will share with you if you’ll listen. [well, most of the time. we are human!] people that have adopted are passionate about adoption. they’ve seen an orphan find their forever home and they want it for more children -and for you! So, what I’m getting at is – don’t be timid! For a while there I was on the phone with at least 2 potential adoptive mamas a week answering questions and telling them about our experience in Ethiopia. So reach out. Ask the questions, get the contacts, don’t be timid.
I wrote a little diddy for the Fotolanthropy blog about “how to help” and I thought I’d share it here:
“I am so glad this story has inspired you and God has put something in your heart for the orphan + for adoption! Adoption is a beautiful thing, and a beautiful community! There are many resources to help you on your journey, or help you support someone you love that is on this journey. There are quite a few ways to be engaged in the adoption community and I hope to share some of them with you. There is an amazing organization that puts on a conference each year, called “Together for Adoption” that we have found very helpful over the years. This conference is the one that God used to really speak to Stephen’s heart and encourage him to say YES! The conference is each fall in a different city, and also their website also has great resources and information. Their is an amazing group of adoptive (and future adoptive) mamas that meets twice a year in the spring for a retreat called Created for Care. That has been one of the biggest blessings to me, building a strong community of adoptive mamas to walk this out with. If you are praying about the adoption process, and don’t know exactly where to start there are a few sites that give great general information on the various international adoption programs. http://rainbowkids.com If the finances are what intimidate you about starting the adoption process, there are some great resources for you. We actually have started a legacy fund with Abba Fund, to help other adoptive families have the resources they need. http://www.abbafund.org/blog/camp-asher/legacy-child/ The Abba Fund website also has some great information about the finances of adoption. Show Hope is another great organization that assists families with the finances of adoption (and orphan care in general). If you are interested in adopting a child with special needs, you need to visit the Reece’s Rainbow website. To learn more about adopting a child that is HIV+, visit Project Hopeful Another group I’ve had the chance to be a part of is Give1Save1, helping 1 family each week raise awareness and financial support through our giving based blog. I am also an ambassador for Noonday Collection and proud to say through being an ambassador for these beautiful artisans all over the world who make our jewelry + accessories, we were able to raise awareness + money to bring Camp and Asher home!” – Words from Wynne Elder
I actually [used to] have a tab up on the top of my blog called “be ruined” and that tab is FULL of resources just for you! The first one is “adoption” and most of the organizations in the paragraph above are linked in there. I am all about connecting.
I don’t have all the answers [far from it!] but I can hopefully try to connect you with someone who does. Besides all the research and finances, the first step is to PRAY. Pray that God would lead you to the country/child that He has for you. For us, it was Africa, and I can’t explain that. Once we knew it was Africa, I was praying and researching and figuring out what countries we were qualified to adopt from.
Every country has different age/marital status/how many kids at home/etc standards that you have to meet to adopt from that country. So for us, we fit with Ethiopia. The Rainbow Kids website has all of that information easy to find too. Or simply go to different agencies websites and see what countries they offer.
Picking an agency is a whole other topic, but be very prayerful about that too. Ask lots of questions, ask the same questions to several different agencies. Here’s a screen shot of my personal form I made while I was calling agencies. I had 4 or 5 of these printed and went down the list with each agency and scribbled notes like crazy. Agencies should have references you can call, and I did that too! Ask around, ask your friends who know a friend who have a friend who adopted – like I said, don’t be timid! reach out to people.
I will be praying too that God will provide you a great support system while you go through this process. It’s emotional, it’s spiritual, and you need the support of your friends and family as well as other adoptive mamas who are in the thick of it right along with ya. The people you expect to support you, might not right away and thats ok. They will come around, don’t be too discouraged. Then there will be people who come out of the woodworks and surprise you. God will you use and use your story in a powerful way to display HIS glory. Prepare your heart. Seek Him. Seek wise counsel. Say YES to God, and HE will show you the way! He will guide your every step. He has gone before you, and He is fighting for you. and your children.
then one day when it’s all said and done, you will be looking at your baby girl or boy and think to yourself “what If I had missed this?”