We are so excited for you, and for your little child(ren) waiting for you. You are about to become the most needed, most drastic form of joy and healing in the life of a child, and there are few greater ventures, purposes or callings. You are amazing and you are about to go on the most wonderful adventure of your life.
Get ready for amazing.
We offer our support to you, because we truly desire that each child in the world would have a home and family of their own. Here are a couple basic things to get you going in the right direction, even if adoption is just a lofty dream for one day in the future, you can begin now!
But here’s the thing, even if you were to skip all these and start tomorrow you would be fine. I think of it like camping. You could leave right now and get it done, just you with some gear in the woods, but just like camping the better prepared you become before you commit, might just make it all so much smoother, which when you’re adopting, is nice.
1. Get real about your personal finances. Many of us come from amazing, Godly communities, many of whom love and support adoption, but the best thing you can do is to tell yourself from the get go that you are paying for this adoption all on your own. That way, if anyone donates to you, you will be blown away with gratitude, and if people don’t, you won’t feel sad–it’s the best attitude to have. But with that said, I have never met one family with all the funds they need before they commit. Never once.
The most important thing you can do is to take a Dave Ramsey class. Like yesterday. Even if you aren’t adopting for years to come. Even if you are single. Even if you have no debt, or if you have piles of debt. Sign up and take Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, it’s fun and he’s funny. Get out of debt, start saving, take control, make financing an adoption graspable. And more so, it will prepare you and your family to have peace and calm in your home on many levels that when you add an adopted child to your home, the focus will be on nurturing and therapeutic parenting, not on the distraction and woes of money friction.
If you want a jump start, he offers the basics on line for free, but taking the class is best. In a nut shell, make a budget together, stick to the budget; every day, every month, every shopping trip. You don’t use credit cards or debit cards (I know, right!?) you take out cash, put it in envelopes, and only spend that cash for each area of your life (groceries, etc etc) You end up with a lot of extra money at the end of each month you never had before, so then what? Then, with that savings pay off every penny of debt you ever had. After, look for more ways to save money, and follow his savings baby steps. I would say be out of debt before you commit to a child. Live below your means and find greater joy and satisfaction out of life. Don’t believe me, check out this minimalist mom. Life’s better on less. Our adopted kids agree! It’s not like I’m saying your Starbucks or eating out lifestyles would keep you from adopting. Or am I? 😉 Dave Ramsey helped our marriage, our parenting, our friends, our community, orphans, our well being, our Maria and Elijah and, well, everything. We never really knew how much this stuff affects our life, you know?
Here’s the thing. Many of us like to be known as “not really caring about money,” because we know that it can become an ugly, nasty trap if we’re not careful. But if we don’t take it seriously, money will run through your hands, with nothing to show for it for your family, or for people you could be helping. Take control, cut back, do better!
2. PRAY! Wow, pray. Pray that God leads you to the child that He would have for you, because I promise you, that He knows best–and I believe it with my whole being, GOD KNOWS WHAT’S BEST! We are blown away with the blessing of seeking out the children He had for us, despite conventional wisdom.
While you might think that adopting a perfect chubby infant with curly hair might suit you and your young family just right, God might have different plans, and it might surprise you, but trust him. He might instead ask you to adopt a 10 year old from Russia.
“Russia!?” you ask. “But isn’t that pretty expensive and far?”
But He’s serious about this one. And He’s telling both you and your husband, even after you say no…
“But, um, so, she’s 10, God. That’s crazy.”
But God keeps saying yes.
“But God, we’re pretty certain we’ll lose all our money, and all our friends if we adopt this little girl we’ve never even met, and who had lived her whole life in an institution! Don’t you think it’s best if we don’t? What if…
(Fill in the blank for days…)
But God says go.
So you pray, “Ok, fine God, we have learned you always know what’s best for us each time in the past.
So we’re saying yes to You.
We count the cost, we know what we can and will lose, but we say yes to You.”
And you offer up your tiny lunch box to God, offer everything you have and hold dear. “It’s all yours God, take it.”
And even though you’re really, really scared, and living in a low income, two bedroom apartment with your tiny, infant son, you just say yes, willing to give everything up to follow God, cause he’s never let you down as of yet.
3. Don’t be afraid! Don’t be afraid! Listen, with all good things, you’ll be excited, then a little fear might creep in. Don’t dwell on it.
|Yeah you were!
There are a whole lot of what if’s in adoption, but make it productive. “What if my adopted child is poor at math?” you might ask yourself in a panic one day. Let yourself think about it once, and make a quick game plan. “Well, then I’ll buy some flash cards!” and move on.
The joy of adopting a child, will out weigh potential what if’s. If I share with you all my what if’s I had in the car on our way to meet Maria, you would scoff at me and think I was crazy. Keep your eyes on the outstretched hand, not on the rising waters.
And chose who you seek as wise counsel carefully. Just as an FYI, many people are sorely uneducated about adoption, but guess what? That’s ok. If they matter, they’ll learn.
4. Look for opportunities to empty yourself of yourself. If you don’t go into the adoption with a selfless attitude, you will have a rough road, and could end up with a lot of disappointment. Look at adoption as a powerful way to serve a tiny human, and not how this child will serve your life pursuits.
Look for areas to serve others and not yourself. Go sign up to take meals to a homeless shelter three times in one month, or in a week. Sign up to volunteer and mentor in the junior high group at your church. “Oh, I don’t have time for that, and it may be awkward for me because I am not familiar in that situation, or those people.” If that’s you, even better, go today! Sand down the corners of the awkwardness in these new situations with new people. Feel the feelings and emotions that come after being extremely sacrificial. Start becoming comfortable in situations you may initially deem awkward and learn skills to associate with them. They may come in handy in many situations.
5. Find opportunities to expose yourself to new cultures. Go eat at an Ethiopian restaurant. Go on a missions trip to Fiji. Go on a missions trip ANYWHERE! Sign up to teach English to Somalian refugees, don’t hang only in your bubble even though I’m sure it’s super cool and fun!
6. Be SURE that you have sources of love and support in your life that are strong and unwavering before you adopt. There is the strongest and obvious. If you’re married, make sure you guys are doing well. If you are married or single, join a group bible study, invest in your friendships. Never go into an adoption with the purpose of seeking love for yourself. Do not expect to find the love that you need in your heart from an orphaned child who has lived their life in an orphanage or foster home. You will need strong sources of love in your life. You will need to be constantly refreshed by the sources. To be able to pour into that child all the love that they have been lacking and deprived of in their life. There is NO greater joy or satisfaction you will feel than to be able to provide love and a life for a child who would otherwise never experience it. Please don’t adopt an orphan because you’re lonely, or because you don’t have friends of your own, or because all your sisters have kids. Your child will need you at your best, fullest, splashing love on them in all situations. You got this!
6. Ok, google your city name and “Adoption Homestudy.” Pick 2 or 3 companies you like and call them to chat. Set up appointments, and you’re pretty much on your way at that point, everything kind of falls into place after that point. Be sure to ask how long, on average, it takes them to complete a homestudy. Look for agencies who on average are about 8 weeks.
Listen, I am sure each of us can think of a whole laundry list of reasons why it would just be easier not to adopt an orphan. I hear you. But, I wish I could share with you even just a fragment of what we have experienced in this process. We have grown in more ways than I can even share. Adoption is like treading on holy ground, and we felt God lavish blessing onto our lives, and directly into our hearts. We are new people, and we are thankful. He took our tiny lunch box, our fishes and loaves and he multiplied. He was present and real. And when we stepped out of that van and our eyes saw the girl that God had so placed on our hearts, it all made sense.
It. Is. Worth. It.
With every step, the good, and the set backs, this was the verse that was always put in my heart through our adoption;
The Numbers: Why adoption is important
- The number of people currently held in literal slavery around the world today (a $32 billion a year industry).
- Of all human trafficking victims are women and children forced into the commercial sex trade.
- The number of children trapped in the international commercial sex trade.
- Of girls aging out of government orphanages in Eastern Europe at age 16 wind up in prostitution.
- Of orphans in some Eastern European countries have parents…but they have been turned over to the state due to alcoholism, imprisonment, or abandonment. Source
Follow adoption blogs.
Donate to orphans and adopting families.
Join adoption chat rooms.
High five people.