Category Archives: adoption

Love Knows No Bounds

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Love Knows No Bounds

There are these moments in life when you feel love for another that extends deeper than the love you shared before.  I have been having these moments with my oldest son lately.  Each time an unnameable, unmeasurable kind of love.  One that causes my heart to swell with a fullness, my lips to turn upward in a content smile, and one that provides a knowing that I am right where I belong.  I belong as his mama.  And he belongs as my son.

People often have reasons why adoption might not work for them.  They tell me their reasons as though they are absolute truths when really they are unknowns, fears, stories.  I’ve heard,

Adoption is not an option because there’s no way I could love a child as deeply as I love my biological children.

Blood is thicker than water and that applies to the children you raise as well.  I’ll automatically gravitate toward the kids I birth(ed).  

I need a mini-me.  

I have a need to pass on my genetics.  

Adoption doesn’t feel natural.  

What if I can’t love a child that does not bear resemblance to me or my husband?  What if I can’t love someone I did not make?  That I did not grow?  

I hear that adopted children are just a mess of problems.  You never know what you’re really getting when you adopt.

Let me shout it from my pedestal, my soapbox, my rooftop…I LOVE MY ADOPTED BOYS AS MUCH AS I LOVE MY BIO BOYS!!!!!  In fact, in some ways it’s easier to love them.  Their character flaws are not a mirror of my own.  Their physical features and medical issues not something I criticize in myself or passed on genetically to them.  It’s in some ways easier to see them as the individuals they are.  Separate from me.

My heart has been full with love for my oldest lately.  I’ve had remembrances of his arrival into our decade long coupledom. For a few months, he was simply a dream.  An idea.  A possibility of love extended.  And then he became a stack of papers, phone calls, interviews, background checks until eventually he became a face and a name proudly displayed on the front of our fridge.  A few thousand miles later he became the little boy with the laugh that melted me in to a pile of mushy, gushy pure, unadulterated love.  A laugh that confirmed I was meant to be his mother from the moment of his conception.  That he had called me from the womb of his sacrificial birthmom and drew me across the world to find him.  Patiently sitting out the days in that Kazakh orphanage until I heard his call and answered.  Like the story of the red thread, our thread was connected and will forever remain connected.

That little boy continues to draw me in.  Each time I learn a little more about him, his struggles, his insecurities, his passions, his longings, his miseries and his triumphs, I find that I fall deeper in love.  My heart expands even more, filling my chest with such spaciousness.  It’s in these moments that I see him.  And upon seeing him, I know my love for him is pure, genuine, unwavering, and as deep as any mother’s love is for her blood born bio children.

  • I see him when after years of struggling he gets a dyslexia and SPD diagnosis and we celebrate together.  We don’t grieve. We celebrate because this diagnosis confirms what he’s believed (but questioned) all along.  He is not dumb.  He is just challenged.
  • I see him when we send positive energy to his birthmom on his birthday because “she probably thinks about me every year on this day, Mom.”  I bet she thinks about him far more often than his birthday but that’s when he really thinks about her.
  • I see him when he cares for his chicken.  He is a chicken whisperer.
  • I see him when he’s passionately being creative behind the lens of my camera.
  • I see him when he doesn’t care about winning races.  I see his heart when a boy crashes his bike and J stops 10 yards from the finish line to help the boy up and fixes the boy’s chain.
  • I see him when I am reminded by a book chapter Adam wrote about J helping us make a decision to adopt G.  He told us, “Every kid needs a home.  We should be that home for G.”  Those moments when he simply sees clearer than I do.
  • I see him when he gets in nature and can identify every bird of prey and tell you details about the shifting of their wings to make flight and hunting more efficient.
  • I see him when he measures his feet and hands against my own and swells with pride when he realizes that we are officially equal in foot and hand size.  And then he takes over my running shoes.
  • I see him when he hides in a pair of pants every day for fear of being teased about a wart on his leg.
  • I see him when he cries because he feels so different.  When he notices his skin color and brown eyes amidst a sea of blue eyed caucasians.
  • I see him when he leans against me just to find grounding in that chaotic SPD mind of his.
  • I see him when he chooses meditation and reflection as a way to find his center.  When he gives his daddy advice that is on par with the wisdom of any guru or enlightened being.
  • I see him when he holds a burial and funeral for a bird that “died alone” in a winter’s snow.
  • I see him when we cheer for Team Astana in the Tour de France because Astana feels a bit like home.
  • I see him when we are camping and he is the first to run up and help our neighbor with an issue she is having and then he shakes her hand and introduces himself.
  • I see him when he laughs hysterically at a comic book he is silently reading. It’s that same laugh I heard in a Kazakh orphanage that taught my heart a mother’s love.
  • I see him when we watch a National Geographic documentary together about using eagles to hunt and he grows taller as he connects with the Kazakh/Mongolian men in the film.  As a family we are instantly connected to his culture and we all see him a little clearer with that connection.
  • I see him after we have watched that documentary and all of us are laughing at the fact that birds of prey and archery
    (two of his passions) might actually be in his blood.
  • I see him when I tuck him in at night and still see remnants of those super chubby baby cheeks that begged to be squeezed and kissed.
  • I see him when I apply for a job as an adoption outreach coordinator and I realize that adoption is my passion.  He has put the inspiration in me.  He’s responsible for that passion.
  • I see him when I find myself advocating for every single child to have a home.  When I encourage people to explore adoption as a very viable option for expanding their families (and hearts).
  • I see him every time I choose to see.  He’s always there, as loving and open as that very first moment.

He did not inherit my genetic code.  He in no way looks like me.  He did arrive with his own set of “problems”.  And, you know what, those truths are exactly what make our relationship beautiful.  What makes him beautiful.    Blood type, skin color, nationality, genetic predisposition, DNA, origin, womb, egg, sperm, none of these are measures for the basic human right of giving and receiving love.  When I see J, I only see love.  My love.  His love.  A love that knows no bounds.

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Breakthrough Moments

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P1030753Our oldest is adopted and is honestly one of the most beautiful human beings I have been privileged to know.  He’s kind, sincere, thoughtful, empathetic, funny, giving, smart, hard working,creative, introspective, and just a cool person to know.
But he’s also severely misunderstood.  He’s often socially awkward and sometimes kind of moody.  He’s super sensitive.  He cries and says hateful things when asked to do homework or if overstimulated.

He has struggled with school since the first day he stepped in to that kinder classroom.  By the end of first grade we were confident that he had some sort of learning disorder.  A few specialists later and he was seeing the OT each week for Sensory Integration Disorder, the PT for muscle strengthening, a speech therapist for his spelling delays, and a psychiatrist for ADHD.  While many of these services were really helping him to “perform” more appropriately in the classroom setting they were not getting to the root of his non-specified learning disorder nor were they helping him relate to his peers or manage in loud, busy settings.  As J got older and his peers got older the disparity between them became more and more obvious.  His peers were reading Harry Potter at the bus stop while J was still looking at pictures in board books.  His peers were running around playing competitive sports while J would play quietly alone in the sandbox.  His peers would breezeP1050131 through their sheet of homework each evening while J would take one to two hours to complete a simple homework assignment.  His peers played and joked with other kids of the same age while J would gravitate toward younger kids.  His peers would watch movies with more mature themes while J was still covering his ears and eyes during Winnie the Pooh.  His peers were helping their moms with grocery lists in the store while J would lean against the shelves, climb in to the small space under the cart, or simply lie down on the grocery store floor.

This is still the story of J.  A bright kid with a lot of great to offer the world but a kid who is beginning to see the disparities, who is beginning to hear and understand the harsh teasings of others, a kid who is invited to playdates mostly with kids who are 2 to 3 years his junior.  J, the kid who still cries every time a piece of homework is set in front of him and the kid who is slowly beginning to believe that he might actually be stupid.

Because of these struggles I have fought hard to get him the therapies and specialists and support that he needs.  I’ve fought to put the right people in place to help him be the best J that he can be.  It’s not that I need him to be any different.  Because I don’t.  I truly love him just as he is.   Instead I fight for these services because I believe that for the sake of J’s self worth and for the sake of his happiness, he deserves answers and resolutions to the root issue(s) of his struggles.

As any parent of a special needs child knows, finding that root cause, unfortunately, is not a simple task nor is it for the faint of heart. Over the years we have spent more hours in doctor’s offices than I care to admit.  We’ve invested in so many aids and tools to make his life more manageable.  We’ve fought the school district(s) for IEPs and special services.  We have researched schools and moved to Portland over Seattle because a slot at the perfect charter school for J became available.   And once we moved to Portland I immediately got my two special needs boys on the schedule at the children’s neurodevelopment center.  Something I had attempted in Tucson but ran in to dead end after dead end.  Six months after our move to Portland we were scheduled up the wahoo with testing and therapies.  At one point it was so overwhelming and taxing on me and J that I was ready to throw in the towel, move to Costa Rica, homeschool him and just let J manage his life going forward with the current coping skills he’s obtained.   But something in me told me to hold on.  A quietness in my being assured me that I was on the right path and that I needed to keep fighting.  Keep being the voice that he needs.  Fight the fight for him because he is not able.

In the past few weeks, hope finally found us.  And, my goodness, is she beautiful!  P1050333

One gift we were given this summer was the gift of his OT.  She has a great skill for explaining things to me in a way that helps me really connect with J.  A way in explaining things that makes me not only understand his struggles but allows me to completely empathize with where he’s at.  Her explanations have allowed me to stop being annoyed at things that he does that I don’t fully understand.  Instead of being irritated I see a boy who is working so hard and his brain is working over time for him to just keep him functioning.  This is the way that she explained his Sensory Integration issue:

Amy, imagine it’s around 5pm and you are cooking dinner in your kitchen under a disco light with your radio blasting and while you are cooking dinner the smoke alarm starts to go off because the stove is smoking and three of your kids are screaming and the mailman is ringing the doorbell, and you are trying to talk with the Dr. on the phone, and the dog is barking at the sirens of the fire engine driving by and the neighbor’s car alarm is going off and you are just trying to not go out of your mind.  J’s life is like that every waking hour of his day.  His brain cannot process all the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touches the way a healthy brain can.  Our brains naturally filter out what is not important to us at the moment.  His brain doesn’t have that filter.  Can you imagine how exhausting that must be?  It’s no question that he is always leaning on you for support.  It’s no question why he’s covering his ears.  It’s no question why he seeks solitude.  When he lies on the floor randomly or leans up against a wall or person, he is trying to ground himself.  To get some sort of footing in a world that is loud and out of control. IMG_0058

Wow!  That is a powerful way to describe his struggle and ding ding ding it all makes sense.  In fact I have changed my attitude so much since she gifted me these words because all I see when I see my son now is a boy who is so beautiful and is so beautiful in spite of how difficult every moment is for him.  So those who don’t know my son may think that my 10 year old is rude because he’s always touching you or because when there’s too much stimulation he stops responding or doesn’t look you in the eye.  You may judge me that I haven’t taught him manners because he’s always chewing gum to calm his anxiety or because I let him sleep where he needs to sleep (even if that place is my bed).  But I, on the other hand, see nothing more than a boy who needs me to go to bat for him, needs me to find the best tools to calm him, and needs me to educate those in his circles who are unaware of his circumstances.  That is the gift of my job.  My job as his mom is to be more than his cheerleader.  It’s to be his voice when he can’t find his.

IMG_0530Enter the second moment of hope.  Last week and this morning J saw a behavioral optometrist to test his vision and to see how his brain is communicating with his eyes.  An hour in to last week’s test the optometrist pulled me in to his office and said that without a doubt J’s learning disorder has to do with the fact that his eyes are not tracking as they should.  He told me what a smart kid he was but that while his vision is perfect there is a breakdown in communication between the eyes and the brain which would make reading and writing extremely difficult and exhausting.  Difficult enough to make a full grown adult quit trying.

At those words I just began to cry (as I am now).  I began to cry because we’ve been searching for answers for years now and we finally had some.  With answers comes hope.   And direction.  Not aimless ticking off of boxes in search of something.
This morning he continued his testing to pinpoint exactly what eye therapies he would be needing.  They tested his eyes on all sorts of cools machines and computers.  They tested his reading ability and I could watch on a computer screen to see how often his eyes lost their place or tracked back over words.  They tested for dyslexia as well.  With every test I got a better understanding and a deeper empathy of this wonderful child that I have been gifted to raise.  The therapist left me with,

There’s absolutely no doubt that J is going to benefit from therapy.  12 weeks of training those brain and eye muscles to communicate and he should jump grade levels ahead in his reading and writing skills.  In 2 to 3 weeks I’ll send you a detailed report of our findings and a therapy schedule.  He’s going to be a whole new kid.

Once more I cried.  Again not because I need him to be different but because we were now on a clear path to making life easier for him.  J asked me why I was crying and I told him that all this testing paid off.  All his hard work had led to this answer.  He smiled real big, put his hand in mine and replied,

I knew I wasn’t dumb, Mom.  I knew it.  I was starting to think that I was but I’m so happy to know that I’m not and that I wasn’t lying to myself because I always believed I was working hard even when people told me I was lazy.  Today’s a good day, Mom.  Thank you for taking me to these appointments.  I’m kind of excited.  P1050163

Heart melted.  Yeah, every moment has been worth hearing those words.  Every painful moment has been worth gaining the deep level of respect and empathy I have for this child.  I will never EVER stop helping him to reach his greatest potential.  And he will never stop teaching me to see the beauty in each and every human being.

Thank you, J, for the gift that you give me each day.  I am forever grateful and I am super excited to see you take this next journey.  Maybe soon you’ll be reading this blog without any difficulty and maybe soon after that you’ll even want to write an entry!  I am hopeful for the first time in so many years and I know you are too.

Journey on, Readers.  Journey on.

When You Give a Mom a Special Needs Child

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Have you ever read that wonderful children’s book, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie?  That’s how I’m feeling about my life.  My story goes a little something like this and you have to read it twice since I have two special needs kids.

If You Give a Mom a Special Needs Child

If you give a mom a special needs child, she’s going to do everything in her power to help her child thrive.

And when she starts to help her child, she’ll realize she needs the support of specialists.

And when she realizes she needs specialists, she’ll call and set up an appointment with their PCP.

When they see the PCP, they will be directed to make an appointment with the neurodevelopment center.

When she makes the appointment with the neurodevelopment center, she’ll wait six months and fill out hours of paperwork before she even sets foot in the facility.

When the appointment day finally arrives, she’ll see the physician, fill out more paperwork, and feel encouraged that help is on the way.

When she leaves the appointment, the physician tells her to schedule an appointment with the physical therapist.

When she and her child see the physical therapist, the therapist will tell her to schedule an appointment with the occupational therapist.

When they see the occupational therapist, she’ll tell them to come back every week and to schedule an appointment with the speech therapist.

When they see the speech therapist, he will tell them to come back every week and to schedule an appointment with the psychologist.

When they see the psychologist, he will give her a book to read, 2 hours of videos to watch, more paperwork, and will tell them to come back every week.  He also advises them to schedule an appointment with the psychiatrist.

When they see the psychiatrist, she will tell them to come back every month and to schedule a Behavioral Optometrist.

When they see the Behavioral Optometrist, he will tell them to follow up with the neuro specialist.  

When she sees the neuro specialist again, he will tell her make an appointment with another psychologist, with a pediatric audiologist, with a parent support group, with a cultural support group, with a pediatric audiologist, to start planning IEP meetings for next school year, to look for a tutor, and to follow the advice of all the specialists they’ve seen.

She schedules all the appointments she’s been asked to schedule and then they see the audiologist.

When they see the audiologist, they are told to schedule an appointment with the PCP so that her child’s ears can be irrigated.

And when they get to the PCP, she will be reminded that this is where their journey began and she’ll likely remember…

That when you give a mom a special needs child, she’s going to do everything in her power to help her child thrive.  

Adoption Rocks!

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For those who have been following my blog since the beginning or who know me personally you know I am an outspoken advocate for adoption.

Since November is Adoption Awareness Month I want to give you our beautiful family story.

Mark comes from a pretty rough childhood.  One in which circumstances at home forced him to leave at the age of 15.  Between the ages of 15 and 19 many families took Mark in and cared for his needs.  The kindness of those people inspired him to one day want to do the same for a child in need.  While my family was not violent it was often volatile and I too always desired to provide a safe and secure family for an orphaned child.
Our opportunity came fall 2003.  We had decided we were ready to start a family and we gave it a good solid try for 3 months with zero pregnancies.  At that point we simply sat down and had a discussion on entertaining the idea of adopting our first child since our finances were in order, we were healthy and settled with careers.  Maybe now was the best time.  By the next morning we were rapidly researching agencies and weighing the pros/cons of international vs domestic adoptions.  We literally locked ourselves up in a snowy cabin in Colorado for the entire Thanksgiving weekend and by weekend’s end we had played about a kazillion games of Aggravation and made dozens upon dozens of phone calls.  And just like that we had concluded that our first child would be adopted, the country would be Kazakhstan, the gender would be male, we did not need an infant but we would like a child under the age of 3 and if we were to get pregnant during the process, double bonus!
We worked with a local agency called Commonwealth Adoptions and adopting through them was smooth sailing.  After our dossier was complete, fingerprints approved, background check and interviews cleared, monies paid, references submitted, and home inspected everything was set in fast motion for us.  We received a picture of a little boy that needed us and we committed to meeting him, getting to know him, and ultimately to care for him for the entirety of his lifetime.

The summer of 2004 we traveled with two other couples, rented an apartment in Almaty, KZ for 6 weeks and embarked on the most beautiful journey of our lifetimes.  I’ll never forget that first moment when we met this brown eyed boy.  He was nervous.  He had a giant bandage on his hand because he had been chewing the skin off his fingers.  Five minutes and a few cookies later he gifted us with a laugh.  That was the moment I fell in love.  That was the moment he became my son.  I can still hear the giggle while I sit here reminiscing.  We spent the next 6 weeks spending time every day at the orphanage getting to know each other, learning his routine and habits, immersing ourselves in the Kazakh culture, preparing him to feel safe leaving the only home he’d known for 15 months.  We presented our case to a judge, gifted all the wonderful women who had cared for our son, and before we knew it we were officially and legally a small, little family of three.

Caring for J has been one of the greatest joys of my life.  This is a child who loves harder than anybody else I know.  He’s kind, empathetic, environmentally conscious, a leader, an innovator, a damn good lego builder, and he’s the world’s best big brother.  And I’m jealous of the genetics that give him thick, curly hair, perfectly smooth brown skin and the leanest body!  My damn genes gave me a thick waist, acne, and man calves!  LOL
After more than a year of trying we never did get pregnant and I still so badly wanted to experience a pregnancy and birth.  It was another one of those things that I wanted to try because it was simply a new experience.  I wasn’t chomping at the bit to have my genetics passed on or to have little mini me’s or mini Mark’s.  I simply wanted to know what pregnancy and birth were like.  We weren’t willing to do IVF as it was expensive, it wasn’t worth it to us, and we would rather just adopt again.  Instead we opted to have 3 rounds of artificial insemination and eat lots of salmon!   For those who don’t know AI is as simple as Mark depositing a sample, the lab spins it down, sucks it up in to a tube and then deposits sample closer to my uterus.  Well we got pregnant the first round but I lost that baby at J’s second birthday party.  Round 2.  Nothing.  Round 3 and I was so certain that I wasn’t pregnant that I had started researching adoption again.  But it turns out that we were indeed pregnant with twin boys!  And let me tell you I should’ve just left nature alone.  Pregnancy was not for me.  I vomited nonstop for 5 months and just when I began to feel good I blew up and had ankles the size of coffee cans.  By month 7 I was on bedrest in the hospital and just a few days in to bedrest Pierce’s sac ruptured causing for an emergency C-section.  After the C-section I got a high fever and pneumonia and was not able to meet the twins for the first 10 days of their life.  I sat in a separate hospital room from them pumping milk for babies I had never met while they fought for their lives in the NICU.  It was a very trying time for our family, full of worry and heartbreaks but also full of appreciation for the fragility of life.  After 6 weeks the boys were able to come home and we became a family of 5.

At this point I’m feeling pretty beat down.  Pretty tired.  And we’ve decided this family is finished growing.  That was until we met G.  We knew G and his foster family from the time he was 7 days old.  Circumstances did not allow for his foster family to adopt him and social services was going to move him in to a group home.  That was not an option in our eyes so just before his second birthday G joined our family.  We fostered him for 6 months before finalizing the adoption on April 6, 2008.  G is the little gem of a boy who wouldn’t talk or play or let us love him in any way when he first entered our home.  And with patience, gentle guidance, and lots of probing from his new brothers he has become our socialite.  He’s the kid that is never afraid to talk, has a million and one things to say, makes up super silly stories, laughs until he can’t breathe, and fights to be heard.  He loves to sing and dance and every day he will have another crazy accident in which it looks like we are going to need to call an ambulance and instead he jumps up and laughs.  It’s become quite comical and we now refer to him as “noodles” or our permanent drunk driver.  Always crashing.  Never hurt.

So now I (we) are completely finished.  A family of 6.  Two adoptees with a pair of biologicals sandwiched between.  It’s balanced and perfect.
I feel that I have a pretty good grasp on adoption.  And I can tell you, Adoption Rocks!
The only thing I would do differently is have open adoptions.  I do wish I had more information for the boys about their birth families.  I hate not having those answers for them and I know it would fill some of the holes that sometimes leave them feeling empty.  But maybe one day we will find the answers.
I think Adoption Rocks and here’s why:
Pregnancy is not all it’s made out to be.  Really, ladies, I can tell you from experience that bringing home a child that someone else had the privilege of carrying really is ideal.  No vomiting.  No stretchmarks.  No ugly veins.  No premature labor.  No pushing a big headed baby out of your vagina.  No ripping.  No c-section scars.  No apologies for all the horrible names you called your significant other,  No clogged milk ducts and saggy breasts.  No post baby weight gain.  And if you are lucky like us and you bring home toddlers instead of infants you don’t have to do all the sleepless nights!                                                                                                                 For those who are stuck on thinking they could not love a child they did not birth or that does not share their genetics, this is just plain ignorance!  My adopted children are just as much mine as the ones I birthed.  So much so that I often forget that they are not biologically mine.  For example the pediatrician recently told me that wetting the bed is genetic so when we were speaking about my oldest wetting the bed I responded with, “Oh that explains a lot.  Mark has family who wet their bed for a very long time.”  The pediatrician then went on to say, “Amy, I hate to break it to you but you are not in any way responsible for J’s genetics.”  Ha!  I totally forgot.  Because in my mind he’s the same as those I nurtured, grew, and passed my DNA to.  I live and die for these boys and where their life began has nothing to do with the depth of my love.
People often think they cannot adopt because it’s too expensive.  While International Adoption can be expensive there is a tax credit that gives you nearly half of your expenses back.  And you can claim that credit for three years after you adopt.  And with foster/adopt we actually get paid to have G as part of this family.  The state pays us each month until he’s 18.  That was certainly an unexpected benefit.
People think they will get burned in the process and cannot handle the heartache.  This does happen.  But if you are willing to adopt a child that is already in the foster care system or who is slightly older your chances of having a failed adoption are far less.  Going international can also lessen your risk.   I know there are those of you out there who are shaking your heads at my endorsement of international adoptions.  Just read Without Borders and that will explain my take.
People often say to me, “Well, you know adopting a kid really is scary because you never know what problems they are going to have.”
Yep, you are absolutely right.  We don’t know and we take that risk.  But you take that risk when you get pregnant too.  My twins were not healthy and one has severe asthma and the other has some speech issues.  And, yes, my adopted boys both have special needs too.  Starting life in an orphanage or in the womb of a cocaine addicted birthmom challenges the way one approaches life.   And while their needs are challenging the love that we receive from them and the knowledge of how much better off they are with a loving family than in an institution far outweighs the day to day challenges.  We gain more than we give if we choose to accept what these children are here to teach us and how rich they make our lives.
I know adoption is not for every one but with the millions of orphaned children in our world there are numerous ways you can help without having to commit to raising a child.  Find a group home in your area and make sure the needs of those children are being met (I know of a great one in Tucson!), sponsor a child in any orphanage across the globe, spend time volunteering (if you want a very eye opening experience I’ll connect you with the organization I volunteered with in Haiti), or become a foster parent.  There are so many ways you can make a difference in the lives of these children.
And if you really are brave and willing, go out and adopt!  I promise you won’t regret it.  Will it be difficult?  Yes!  But will it be worth it?  A million times, YES!
I wish I could start a campaign called,
Stop Birthing.  Start Adopting.
How different would our world look if we started caring for the least of us?  Now that’s a movement I’d be proud to see.
Happy Adoption Month and kudos out there to all of you adoptive families.
Photo Credits:
Kazakhstan Flag: Maps of the World
Orphan Stats: Hearts and Hands International
USA Money: GovLoans
Adoption is the New Pregnancy: Adoption Mama

No Child Waiting

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Yesterday I posted about the need for christians to stop controlling women’s access to birth control and abortions but rather do something positive such as start caring for the half a million foster children in the US.  Read Here.

Today I want to prove I can be positive too and give props to the Arizona churches that are calling on their members to do just that.  I heard about No Child Waiting through my ex-home church and found myself very interested in seeing what the church communities were asking their members to do.

A description of NCW and their mission:

No Child Waiting is a coalition of Evangelical churches and non-profit agencies who envision a day when there is no child waiting to be placed in a home. There are over 500 children in Arizona that are eligible to be adopted but are awaiting a home. There are 11,000 children in foster care that need healthy homes and families to provide support, mentoring, love and grace through this difficult time in their family. The church is clearly called in Scripture to care for these children:

We exist to glorify God by uniting and mobilizing the Evangelical churches in Arizona for the purpose of connecting every waiting child in foster care into Christ centered families by December 31, 2015.

Now this is a mission I can support the church in.  Currently there are 14 churches/organizations in AZ involved with NCW.  If you would like to encourage your pastoral staff to become part of NCW ask them to join the cause.

The churches encourage their members to not only foster/adopt the children but also are encouraging members who are not in a position to foster/adopt to be mentors to teens in the foster system or offer support to the families that have taken on the extra burden of housing children.  There are many ways one can be involved and successfully care for these many children.

My only hang up is that I know of some of these organizations.  One through which we adopted our fourth son.    They have mission statements and requirements of faith to care for children.  Children will only be adopted to heterosexual married couples.  No adoptions to same sex couples, non-christian couples, or singles.  My feeling is that if you really cared about this mission to provide “healthy homes and families” you would open up the consideration to more than just evangelicals who are willing to sign a statement of faith.  But you can read my rant on that organization and it’s policies on this previous post: Only Christians Need Apply

But seeing as this is mostly positive I want to at least acknowledge that some churches seem to have the right focus.  Be a part of the positive change.  That ultimately makes the biggest difference.

If you would like to learn more attend an information meeting:

On February 11, 2012 from 1pm-5pm at Scottsdale Bible Church hear about AZ kids who are waiting, the process of adoption from foster care and ways to support adoptive families. In addition, agency and county representatives will be on site to answer questions and help you get started. 

http://nochildwaiting.org/