It’s a question I’ve asked myself many times over the course of the past several years during our quest to grow our family. Not surprisingly, it’s also a question we’ve been asked by friends, family, neighbors and random passersby in the grocery store who stop to inquire about our…”unique” family. Why did we choose adoption over foster care the first time, and why are we choosing it the second time as well?
Foster Care vs Adoption
Honestly, the answer isn’t a simple one. Throughout our journey to build a family, we’ve spent many nights discussing and contemplating our options. In the beginning, the discussion usually began with a lot of frustration and maybe even a little anger and hurt over the fact that, to a certain extent, we weren’t in control of our own decisions. But as time passed, our acceptance of the circumstances we’d been given grew and so did our perspectives on life. With maturity and a growing perspective, came the ability to see “the family” in a new light, and realize that families take many different shapes.
Our understanding of that concept grew exponentially with the adoption of our son in 2011. We now have first hand experience with how little genetics matter when it comes to loving your child. A mother’s love is a mother’s love. That’s it. We know so much more about the power of love through the miracle of adoption, than we ever realized was possible.
Our Decision To Pursue Adoption
So, when it comes to our decision to pursue adoption, instead of foster care at this point in our lives, it really doesn’t have to do with any one thing in particular. I’ve seen foster care do wonderful things for friends and neighbors. Through many different experiences, over the course of my life, I’ve witnessed the power in giving a child a home, and I know what a blessing it can be to the child and foster parents alike.
The easy answer, would be that I don’t feel prepared to take on a child who could have problems. That is a legitimate answer that people can relate to. Anyone can understand the sizable undertaking that would be, and a person needs to honestly be prepared to take it on in order to be fair to that child. But that’s not the reason we aren’t pursuing foster care. In all honesty, I definitely don’t feel prepared to take on something like that… but I would, if I felt like that was what I was supposed to do.
I believe with all my heart that God is with me. I feel His hand in every decision that I make. So if that was the direction He led me, then I know He would be there to help me and I know that I could handle it. But I also don’t believe that every child in foster care has problems. While I think it’s a legitimate fear, I also think that there are just as many children in the foster care system, who just want a family. They just want to belong, and live in a regular, happy, healthy home. And I think there may come a point in my life where I feel that this is something I am called to do. In fact, I hope it is. What an incredible gift to be able to give a child, and I think it could be an amazing experience.
So Why Not Foster Care?
I’ve always followed my gut when I make big decisions. I can think it through, research it, talk it out until I’m blue in the face… but for me, it’s always come down to how I feel. We started to pursue foster care a while back. We also pursued surrogacy, or the possibility of me carrying a donated egg on my own. The reasons we are not pursuing foster care aren’t any different than the reasons we aren’t pursuing surrogacy or any other options at this point. We started to pursue each one, and somewhere along the line, we felt strongly that it wasn’t what we were supposed to be doing. There’s always a sign, you know? They aren’t big signs like skywriting in the Emerald City or anything… Subtle signs, like you can’t seem to find the time to get the paperwork done. Or you just can’t seem to get excited about the idea.
When D turned a year old, our plan was to get back on the adoption list right away so that we could grow our family again. Well, November 2012 came and went, and we never noticed. Around the beginning of 2013, we realized D had turned a year and we hadn’t made plans to get back on the list. So we began the process… Well, here he is 4 years old, and we are JUST NOW getting back on the adoption list. Life got in the way, and we just didn’t feel like it was time yet.
I wish I had a more profound answer for why we do certain things… maybe even something that would help guide you in your decision, if that’s the reason you’re reading this post. But sometimes, in matters of the heart, it’s best to let your gut do the talking and see where it leads you.
I was beginning to give up on family building. Together, Hubbalicious and I were working towards accepting that we would just have one baby. Just one precious, perfect child. It wasn’t ideal, because we always wanted him to have siblings, but we were happy. And after exploring several different options, it just didn’t seem like it was going to happen, so we were making peace with it.
It was only after we took a step back, and let go of the control, in an effort to find that peace, that an opportunity presented itself. Maybe we’ll adopt again, and maybe we won’t… but this time, everything fell into place and felt just right. And that’s what we’ve been looking for.
Maybe someday, we’ll pursue foster care. I think it would be incredibly rewarding, and such a gift. But for now, exploring adoption again, feels right. And we are excited to once again, be hoping to adopt.
PS: As a fun little extra to my blog:
I’ve recently started a YouTube series called “Lately With Leah.” I guess you could say it’s like a video diary about basically anything and everything. In this week’s video, I share what it’s like when your man is better in the kitchen than you are. So if you’re just dying to hear what I have to say about random topics (which, duh…haha!), or you’re bored and just curious about how my voice sounds in real life, feel free to check it out. If you like it, please subscribe and share it to help spread the word. Thanks for the support!