Let's start with WHY do you choose to adopt when you can have children of your own? This one is pretty easy for me to answer. I have always thought of my children as "God's" children and not "my" children. I am their chosen "mommy" and am so thankful for that opportunity! I tell them all the time that I am so happy that God has chosen me to be their mommy. What an amazing gift, really WOW! I truly feel in my heart that I have another child out there who does not have a mommy of his own and that I am meant to be his. God has clearly put adoption on my heart and I am following his direction. We have the desire, we have the room, and most of all we have the love to share!
Is Jeff ready? Adoption is not one of those things that most men think about or desire. It is usually the wife that plants the thought of adoption in their minds and the Lord who plants it in their hearts. I have heard many people say that it took a long time for their husbands to come around adopting but once they decided it was time they were just as excited as the wives. Jeff however, has always been open to the idea since we first discussed it on like our 3rd date:) He just didn't know when. Well, I'm not sure what happened in that heart of his but he IS on board to start this roller coaster! He also realized that he would rather have our children closer now then have a big gap btw them and starting all over. I think God did a great job matching us up because he keeps me grounded and realistic, while I keep him moving and dreaming.
WHY now? Why adopt while your children are so young? Well it's just so plain and simple for me but I can see where people may wonder why. Like I have said before I have always known I am going to adopt. Right now I am a stay at home mom and to us that just makes sense since we plan on adopting a younger child. We like having our children close and I really want our next child to grow up with his siblings. Also, I hate to say but we are not getting any younger:) In a few years Jeff will be the big 40! Crazy! (sorry for sharing Jeff:) I always look at these families out there and think "oh they are in the same place we are, or oh I wonder if we graduated around the same time"? Then only to find out they are like in their 20's! Am I the only one this happens to? I swear it happens every day! The last 8 years have seriously just flown by! Another great thing about bringing in our next child now vs later is that my children are so used to sharing mommy and daddy anyways that I don't think it will be as much of a shock as if we waited until they were older. I have heard it many times that going from 2 to 3 children is the hardest but after that it's no big deal! We will soon find out if that holds true:)
Why not adopt domestically? This is a great question and I think every family and every situation is different. For starters we would like our next child not to be older than our oldest child Avery. I have always pondered the idea of domestic adoption but what I have found out is that unless you want to adopt an infant there really are not many toddler or preschool age children out there up for adoption. I do not feel right about adopting an infant especially when there are many loving families out there who can not have children of their own and are waiting for a baby. We have had the wonderful opportunity to raise three babies already.
So that left international adoption. I have always been drawn to Africa. The statistics that I will share over time is so heartbreaking. There are soooo many orphans. One in five children die before their 5th birthday. 5.4 million people have died in Congo as a result of war, with 2.7 of them being children. I could go on and on but I will share more facts in a later blog.
A friend of mine who has a heart of gold shared a website called Reece's Rainbow months back. Most all of these children have down syndrome and live in "baby houses". Unfortunately after they turn a certain age (usually 5 or 6) they are then transferred to adult mental institutions. Yes ADULT INSTITUTIONS! This made me sick to think about. Over the months I would check back and wonder if maybe our child was one of them. Even though I was favoring the thought of adopting from Africa I had their sweet faces stuck in my mind, in my heart. I began to imagine how wonderful it would be to share our hearts with one of these children. I found myself in my head naming them, rearranging our bedrooms, our schedules for them. How could they do that to them? Many of these children were healthy happy little kids that should be starting kindergarten not thrown into an institution. I used to work with down syndrome individuals and they have amazing spirits and were such a joy to those around them. Well after months of this I prayed, visited with Jeff, and even started inquiring about one of the children. Turns out I am not eligible to adopt from the countries that these angels were from because I am on anxiety medicine. There are so many countries that won't even consider you if you are on any form of antidepressant or anxiety medicine. They must think if you are on any of these meds you are crazy or something, I don't know! I guess I am a little crazy but it's only since I became a mom that I went a little nuts:) For example when we first had Avery my family put up an "It's a Girl!" sign up in our front yard. Well, I was worried someone might see that and know there was a new born inside and try and steal her! So of course I took it down! Then I would find myself checking the windows and doors every night because I didn't want anyone coming in and kidnapping my babies. Or loosing sleep because I was afraid a fire might break out upstairs where they sleep. That one still keeps me up sometimes:) I guess I am crazy but it's only because I love them so much!
Needless to say the doors to adopting one of the children on Reece's Rainbow closed. However, Africa's doors were still open and after talking more and more with Jeff on the issue he was much more open to Africa anyways. It felt like God was backing that decision and made it clear that that is where our child is.
Why Congo? It really didn't matter to us where we adopted from in Africa at first. As I began researching though I came across a picture of a waiting child from Congo. He was 4 years old and adorable. I inquired about him and soon after got a call from his agency. Well we became very interested in him and began to research a little more on Congo. This little guy did find his forever home but I am so glad we came across him as we are now aware of the significant need in Congo and are working with the same agency that placed him. I also came across this video clip of Congo. It is very sad but is one of the first videos I seen of Congo so it really struck me hard.
thanx for reading:)