It’s been a little while since my last adoption update and I thought I might tell you guys where we are with our journey.
When I last wrote an update Dave and I had gone to the orientation for adoption in LA County. Since then, we’ve concluded our mandatory parent education classes (which are known as PS-MAPP) for Adoption in LA. That process was… heavy.
For six weeks we met every Saturday at a community college across town from 9AM – 4PM. It was a heavy experience because for hours we watched videos or read case studies or listened to lessons on children in the foster care system. Imagine spending the bulk of your weekend listening to stories about children who’ve been moved over and over from one home to another. Imagine hours of focus on precious babies who’ve been physically or emotionally abused. Imagine trying to wrap your mind around the emotional scars that your adoptive child might have because of that. The purpose was to best prepare us to parent those children but it was so sad and so discouraging. We’d drive home almost every single Saturday thinking, What are we doing? Who are we to think we can take on something this big?
We also walked in that first day knowing that classes were a required part of adoption in LA. What we didn’t know at the time is that you have to commit to six months of foster care service before you can move into the adoption program. Six months of foster care! So we started out this process to adopt a daughter and then found out on class one that we’d have to foster a baby that wouldn’t be our daughter. We’ll have to foster a baby that will be taken away from us. And with foster care, there’s no guarantee as to how long you might have that baby. It could be a week, a month, a year and half.
This news was devastating to us.
How hard would it be to grow attached to a baby and then have her taken away? How hard was this going to be on our boys? How would we even start to explain it to them? We had so many questions and no idea where to find the right answers.
When we got in the car after that first class I will be totally honest, we were really angry. We honestly felt like we’d been tricked. We had already gone through orientation and paperwork and at the end of the first class the foster care piece was just casually slipped it into conversation like it wasn’t world-rocking information: six months of foster care required. We fumed and argued and thankfully had an hour in the car to discuss it all. I will forever count that car ride home as one of the most important conversations we’ve ever had (or maybe will ever have) in our marriage. Our ultimate conclusion was this: We believe that God has called us to adopt in exactly this way. Not through private adoption but through LA County which we now know, is a foster to adopt process. And if we really believe God is calling us, we don’t get to back off or whine or change our plans simply because it’s hard. This will absolutely disrupt our perfectly manicured, infinitely blessed existence. This will fundamentally change the structure of our family. This will rock us to our core and yet we are continuing to walk into it head long. The next step on that walk was explaining all of this to our children. We sat down and explained it to our older boys who took the news with the adaptable acceptance found only in little kids. Jackson, our pragmatic oldest child wanted to know the logistics of how it would all work. Sawyer, our sensitive bruiser (yes, that’s totally a real thing) said, “Mommy, I feel like I would be so sad if a baby came to live with us and then had to leave.” I must have sat there silently for several minutes trying to figure out the right way to respond… ultimately, I just went with the absolute unsugar-coated truth. “Buddy,” I said, “I would be so sad too. But I would rather the do the right thing to help someone else, even if it’s hard, then not help just because it was going to be difficult for me.” Sawyer nodded like a sage old man and responded, “That makes sense. Can I go play Minecraft now?” Bless.
I think what I have learned most in this process is that I am 100% not in control. I have no idea what’s going to happen or how it’s going to happen or who will be brought into our lives because of it. All I can do is have faith in this journey and that even though it’s long and the road has been rough we are headed exactly where we’re meant to be.