Thursday, October 1, 2009

International Adoption VS. Adoption from the Foster System

I’ve had a lot of people ask me lately about our foster adoption of Kaden Vs. our international adoptions of Aleigha and Mya from Guatemala. I am not sure if this is what you are looking for- but it is truly what I believe.

I have to be honest and say that we feel that both experiences were equally amazing... because they both resulted in our children coming home.

I think sometimes people get an idea in their head or a stereo type of one program verses the other. It’s almost as if some feel one is better or worse than the other. The truth is- they both rock. A child needing a family is a child needing a family- whether they are in your home town or across the world.

I could go on and on about the similarities and the differences between adopting out of the foster system and adopting international. But honestly, what matters most is that you follow where God leads you personally. Period.

He will call some of us to Africa and some of us to China. He will call some of us to the US foster system, some of us to older children and some of us to special needs. He will call some of us to boys and some of us to sibling groups. They are all His children- and they all matter to him- a lot.

Sometimes you will just be a better fit for one program or another. God already knows that- it’s a part of His plan. If he called us all to Guatemala then who would take the kids from Russia? If he called us all to adopt older children- then who would take the babies? Sometimes we just have to learn to hear and trust His plans.

Every persons individual journey will be different- and I can almost promise you that none of them will always be smooth. We have had to pick our hearts up off the floor more than once. We endured long waits (2 years +). We’ve lost referrals and felt like our hearts had been ripped out. We have had children come into our home whom we believed were forever- and it was not to be. Beside them we’ve faced disease and we’ve faced past abuse.

Trust me, there was pain involved- and
a lot of it.

We’ve faced tragedy and triumph, we’ve lost money and we've wasted some time- and we have grown through it all.

Was it easy?


Was it worth it?


It was worth every single heart ache, every single tear and every single minute.

You and I both know there are no guarantees in life. None of us make it through without scars. We have no guarantees with biological children- and none with adopted children.

Life in general is a risk- because when we step out of our comfort zones- there is a chance we could fail. If we fail or if we fall, there will be pain.

And sometimes the fear of that pain keeps us stranded- afraid to move.

Yet without taking that risk- are we really living?

As I look back over my life and all of the risks we have taken- some ended up working out and some ended us up in a place we never wanted to be…

Yet through it all God was there by our side, holding us- knowing that we knew He was always worth the risk.

Each one of these precious childrens lives- whether they come from Guatemala, Africa, China, or the United States are our future.

They are our greatest gifts- our greatest treasures- so we must invest into them our time, our strength, our energy- our lives. They are worth the risk.

So if God has given you a heart for adoption, pick up the phone and find your way.

Take a chance.

Invest yourself in the life of someone else. Ask God to lead you to your child. Don’t be afraid to really live- because through you, a child to will have a chance really live also.

You won’t be sorry, I promise.

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves... speak up and judge fairly. Proverbs 31:8-9

P.S I apologize for the crazy font on this post- no clue why it's doing this.

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JG said...

Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this. Again, it's hard for anyone whose heart hasn't been led to adoption to understand things like this. I was in a ladies' Bible study once back in college, and when I shared my heart for adoption (how I knew that I *knew* I had a daughter waiting for me in China) one of the women in our group who worked for DHS basically bit my head off about "How can you adopt children internationally when there are kids who need families here right now? Until we get all our own children taken care of, it's not right to look elsewhere." And it's not that I don't understand her thinking (sort of....) but really now. All adoption is beautiful, regardless of the origin of the child.

Jaime G. said...

thanks for addressing this. it's odd how some people view other programs as better or more deserving than others. when really, they are all the same. they are all children with a past who need the love of a family.

Beth said...

Well said! A child in need, is a child in need, no matter where they are located!

:-) Beth... a mom called to adopt through our county's foster care system (for now).

angela said...

Several friends are adopting Internationally...we are adopting domestically. Sometimes I get a twinge of the feeling that somehow it isn't quite as needed here. (Especially when I go to put my homestudy on a sibling group only to find that in 4 days they got 50 homestudies and I'm locked out of the bidding, so to speak.) My heart breaks for those little AIDS orphans in the Ukraine and yet, God clearly said to adopt from here. In fact we have no choice.... not being Americans and all we can't adopt internationally. A pretty clear indication of the direction we are suppose to go ;-) I appreciated your post.

darci said...

This was beautiful , amy! (as usual!) We have always tried to not ever run ahead of God, but also not fail to obey when He is leading us. THat is why, I think, even when our agency went bankrupt and it seemed 'over', we could hold on to the fact that God had led us to that place, even in what seemed like a mistake. I have often thought what you said, that there are NO guarantees, whether adopted/bio--we have faced some doubts and fears on our behalf (I think) about not knowing what we're 'getting into'-and that has been my answer. thanks for this post. makes me think! darci

Andrea said...

Amen and Amen... indeed we are all called to different avenues, different countries, different programs... we are all individuals that's what makes us special. ;o)
No child is less worthy!

Intentional Living Homestead said...

No other word comes to me except AMEN!!


Dardi said...

I am always in AWE of how God intertwines the lives of those that are following Him!! I was LITERALLY just having this conversation on the phone today with a friend I met through blogland! You have worded it so beautifully, & I totally agree with Jaime's comment that regardless of international vs. domestic, these are children that have a past (often full of pain) that need HOPE for a future.

We continue to make the calls, looking for God's direction for what comes once we finalize the adoption of our beautiful daughter from foster care. Waiting in anticipation of what His answer will be!! :o)

Karin said...

I love that you posted this. It's so true that God leads us all to different places and there is no need to be judging the places people go. :) Great post!

"Are These Kids All Yours?" said...

OOOO- Can I get an AMEN! Yep, done both and feel the same way. Bumps on all the roads, but the best was seeing God place children into a family! YEAH!!

April said...

girl, I so needed this tonight! We started our first initial paperwork tonight to adopt from the foster care system. My mother in law (bless her heart, she means well but truly doesn't have a clue how hurtful she is sometimes) says tonight "Well, how old is this kid gonna be? I mean really older than 12 or so?" I just asked her in the most polite way I knew "WHY DOES IT MATTER???" She was quiet after that. I know this is one of the many comments to come from those on the outside who can't understand why we won't just "try one more time" to have our own, but God knows where our child is and HE will bring him/her home! Thank you for your willingness to share your heart!

April said...

girl, I so needed this tonight! We started our first initial paperwork tonight to adopt from the foster care system. My mother in law (bless her heart, she means well but truly doesn't have a clue how hurtful she is sometimes) says tonight "Well, how old is this kid gonna be? I mean really older than 12 or so?" I just asked her in the most polite way I knew "WHY DOES IT MATTER???" She was quiet after that. I know this is one of the many comments to come from those on the outside who can't understand why we won't just "try one more time" to have our own, but God knows where our child is and HE will bring him/her home! Thank you for your willingness to share your heart!

Unknown said...

Beautiful post and one that is close to my heart. Our fist adoption was through US foster care and now we are going to China to adopt. The only way I can answer why we wouldn't just adopt locally again is that God is leading us to China and we know where He leads we must go. Thank you for posting.

Adeye said...

Beautifully written--with such tenderness, truth and grace!

You're so right--there are no guarantees in life--might as well just take the plunge and see what happens, hey??? Rather that than spend your entire life wondering what could have been, if you just had the courage to do it.

Nikki Bettis said...

I am new to your blog but I was immediately captivated by even the title of this post, as we are now venturing on the international side of adoption. We have 8 young bio children already and in Sept our 9th baby was welcomed into the heaven at only 14 wks gestation. We recently were devastated when we got almost to the end of our domestic adoption requirements to find that they adamently put their foot down at the last minute and said a vehement no. They blamed other disqualifying factors were to blame but in all reality it came down to the size of our family and the fact they thought we were absolutely nuts. But the door was shut so hard there is no possibility of pursuing it anymore from here on out. This was very traumatic as we had 1 specific group we were ready to pursue and were waiting on our HS to be completed to place them with us. We finally accepted this and came to see that this was the Lord not closing the door on adoption completely but only directing us in another path to gather our children home to us. We now have turned our attention towards Columbia as we both feel very very called there and have always had a heart for both Guatamala and Columbia. We're in the process of looking for a pro-large family adoption agency that will work with our family. I would love to email with you more about some of the specific obstacles you have had to overcome with international adoption, financial and otherwise. I look forward to gaining any wisdom from you I can and hear about your different adoption experiences.

Andrea Hill said...

You truly know what you are talking about because you have tried both sides. What a great post, Amy.

Kimmie said...

Hi Amy;

I agree they are both amazing, different in many ways, but wonderful. We have done both several times now.

I would add that you go wherever God has your children and that by seeking Him is how you know.

We just announced our newest adoption....come by when you get a minute...we'd love to share!

mama to 7
one homemade and 6 adopted

Geezees Custom Canvas Art said...

What a beautiful post!
Thank you for sharing.

Sara said...

Too often people let fear rule their lives, afraid of the unknown. I look at it as, what might I MISS vs WHAT IF. There are so many things in life that are risky, but I remind myself that God only gives you what you can handle and if you are meant to the risk, He WILL carry you through.

Courtney said...

hi! i'm not sure how i happened upon your blog. but just wanted to say hi. and thanks for your words. for your heart for ALL the and there. your family is beautiful!

junglemama said...

Wonderful post. Your words were perfect.

Christi U said...

Amy - God is using YOU!!! Your words are perfect! Look at all these comments on your blog... that's exactly what several people needed to hear... including my hubby and I!

Thanks for all you do!!

Bill and Christina said...

Great post! And so very true.

Bill and Christina said...

Awesome post! And very true.

Elisabeth said...

Well said! We are adopting from Korea and I really admire your heart for adoption and for the Lord. God bless you! Elisabeth

Sand and Paint said...

Thank you Amy for all of your knowledge and wllingness to share your journey. A friend of mine suggested that I look at your blog and a couple of others. As I began to read your stories and see your families sweet faces God has began to move in my heart for the children of Ethiopia. I am just in awe and kinda confused right now, but what I do know is God is soverign- he holds this world in the palm of his hand. We have adopted 2 children through the foster care system and are trying to figure out what God is doing, but what I am sure of is he is stirring our hearts. I just need some guideiance, would you be willing to help us. Thanks Christine

Tracie said...

Just found your blog here through a friend. I love it! I love your heart, as I see our Jesus there! I am a fellow adoptive mom of three. One from China, two from S Korea, and trying to bring home another two or three by the US foster system. I will be following and praying for your family as you journey to Guatemala!

Micah said...

My husband found your blog this am and sent me your link! We are adopting from Ethiopia and we get asked all the time "Why Ethiopia? Why not right here in the US?" And we have struggled between genders and ages. U r right, u have to go where God is leading you. I will be honest and say I would love either two boys or one of each, but we did not get specific b/c we know God will give us who he wants us to have. Adoption is such a beautiful thing. We have not ruled out a domestic adoption ever, but since we missioned to Africa...her orphans have been on our hearts. You can check our journey out at...

Blessing to you and your precious children; Micah Frey

Missy said...

Rock on sister.

And blogger does the crazy font thing to me too. I know not why.

Jessie Gunderson said...

I'm so glad you explained this. It isn't that I doubt God but was just curious about the different processes. You really brought it back to perspective. Who cares if it's hard, if God's asking, do it! :)

I had been told that with adoption through foster care you have to do foster care for a time first. IOW you can't get approved and then begin the adoption process without first having foster children in and through your home. Do you know if that's true? I'm still looking into it. :) Long process, at least here.

Rob & Julianne said...

Amy, I am just re-reading your blog this evening and am so pleased to see my friend Jessie G has a comment right above mine. You would love her story. She just wrote a blog last night on their story and how God is so faithful and has directed them.
I am prompted to write here because I confess I used to be obe of those who said "Why not from here"...eventhough I am not from here :-)but have fostered for over 13 years. We have completed a private domestic adoption and are now seeking God's direction on the next step...after all the years of fostering we too were turned down for several adoptions that "were in the bag". God is the father to the fatherless and He holds the future. He also has the best record keeping and bank accounts. Praying for you and your family. Thank you for bringing clarity to this issue that, unfortunately for the orphans, does have sides.