The transition to North Carolina has gone well, but a consequence of our move to High Point was that our adoption process lost momentum. Once it became clear the Father was moving our family, we had two decisions to make. First, we had to decide whether to complete our home study in Tennessee, knowing we would have to amend it once we became residents in North Carolina, or simply suspend our home study in Tennessee and start over in North Carolina. We decided to complete our home study and amend it, and we are still working through that process.
Our second decision was a little more significant. As residents of Tennessee, the only adoption we could pursue through Lifeline Children’s Services was an international adoption. This was because Lifeline does not do domestic adoptions in Tennessee. During the relocation process to North Carolina, we learned that Lifeline had an office in Charlotte and that we could, if we chose to, pursue either a domestic or international adoption as North Carolina residents.
This presented an intriguing option for us that we did not have to consider in Tennessee. The differences between a domestic adoption versus an international adoption are significant. Yes, there a wide gap in the financial cost of a domestic adoption and an international adoption. But there were more significant considerations for our family.
A domestic adoption would have likely meant: (a) adopting an infant; (b) being actively involved in caring for and serving the birth mother (a ministry we were very open to); (c) the likelihood of an open adoption (an option we have felt some anxiety about). None of these were insurmountable in our minds, but there were obstacles for our family with a domestic adoption.
According to our social worker, the fact that we already have 4 children would have made us a less attractive option for a birth mother for several reasons. First, many birth mothers who courageously choose adoption desire their child to be welcomed into a family where the birth mother sees a real need and longing for the placement of her child. That often means selecting a family that does not already have children. Another obstacle for both the birth mother and our family would have been the age of our children. Josie, our youngest child, is now 6 years old. Bringing an infant into our home would be like hitting the reset button on the birth order. An adopted baby would not have the joy of growing up with siblings around his or her age. That might make our family less attractive to a birth mother as well.
Emily and I shared these concerns for our family. It was difficult to imagine welcoming a baby into our busy home. In addition, our kids want to grow up with their adopted brother and/or sister. They want them to be closer in age to them.
So, we decided to stick with our original plan to adopt internationally. We are still planning to adopt from Costa Rica. Adopting an older child presents a whole other set of obstacles, but that’s another blog for another day.
We’re intrigued at the story God is writing for our family. The church I now pastor (Community Bible Church) sent out a family from our congregation to advance the gospel in Costa Rica several years ago. Emily and I both find this to be an encouraging act of providence from the Lord. That means, whenever we travel to Costa Rica, not only will we have the joy of receiving our son, but we will also have ample opportunity to encourage our missionaries and assist them in their work.
We’re hoping our home study will be amended and finalized by the end of the year. Following that process we hope to complete our dossier by the end of the first quarter of 2017. At that point the waiting begins, but at least we’re gaining traction again in the process.
Over the next several months we will start sharing information about how you can partner with us in this journey. We will not be able to finish what we have started with your prayerful support. We are trusting the Father to provide the patience, perseverance, and finances necessary to complete the journey we believe He’s called us to in this season of life.