This weekend I participated in an adoptive parent panel discussion hosted by our adoption agency, which is part off the required training for families who are on the waiting list. When I had first walked in at the back of the room, having arrived plenty early, I sat down and looked around at all the couples who were sitting in the same place I had sat three years ago. Out of the blue, I started tearing up. Why? It reminded me of the ACHE. I don’t know how else to put it. Seeing all those waiting couples brought back the same emotion I had had in that same room while we were waiting for J. Little did I know at the time, but the wait would be another two years.
When it was time for me to speak, one of the things I shared with the group is something I don’t think I’ve addressed on this site yet, and that is how one can best get through the waiting of a domestic adoption. Kristi has often shared with us her experiences with waiting for an international placement, but domestic adoptions are very different. In most cases, when you work with an agency you are notified periodically when a birthfamily is looking at your profile and you’re given some limited information about the child. Sometimes you are notified if there is a child who doesn’t quite match what your preferences were on your paperwork, but the agency thinks you might still want to be considered. In our case, we received these notifications every few months, sometimes several back-to-back. How can you not get your hopes up? How can you not feel rejected when you’re not picked? With international adoption there is often just silence. With domestic adoption there can be plenty of false alarms. Both scenarios can be torture.
The perspective you have during this process determines whether you can handle these potential matchings with grace and patience, or whether they give you ulcers and prematurely greying hair. If adopting really is all about YOU and what YOU want, then each time you don’t get picked you will feel like the victim of injustice. (Hey, been there!) But what if the waiting period wasn’t just about how long it is taking for a family to pick you, and instead it is about you being in a unique position where you are made aware of women experiencing crisis pregnancies who need lots of prayer, both for themselves as well as for their babies? What if this time was designed to give you another chance to serve your neighbor and better understand the needs of families in your community?
Quite a number of birthmothers contact agencies before letting anyone else in their family know they are pregnant. Some do this because they have relatives who will pressure them to abort the child. When you find out about this mother and child through the agency, you may be one of only a handful of people who knows that this child even exists! Because of your new “vocation” you are given the most wonderful privilege to be able to approach the Heavenly Father on this child’s behalf and ask that He would shelter, protect, love and care for this baby by providing the best home possible for her. And you can ask for wisdom, healthy, maturity and peace for the birthparents, that He would give them what they need to either responsibly parent or confidently release this child into someone else’s arms.
When your focus is on serving these children and their biological families through prayer and not just on getting a child for yourself, you can sincerely rejoice when you hear that a baby is being placed with a family, even if it’s not your family. Your prayers have been answered! Thank God that He is caring for these children through your agency and the money you are paying the agency is not just helping you find a child, but it is helping women in your community who are in crisis to get support and guidance in making the most difficult decision of their lives.
The waiting period is not wasted time. It is not a time to navel-gaze and wonder what’s wrong with you and your spouse that you haven’t been chosen yet. The waiting period can be about serving through prayer, and ACHING for the difficult lives and tough decisions these birthparents have, not just aching for yourself. Spend your time wisely and prayerfully, and one magical day you may be surprised to find out that the latest child you’ve been privileged to pray for is about to become your own.