God's Adoption Plan is Jesus

I was not yet a mom when I spent a week at a state run orphanage in Moldova.

Christians and Adoption

I have a confession.  I was a little ambivalent about attending my first Christian adoption conference.

I read a lot of blogs.  (Too many blogs). Some of them are very critical of adoption.  I am an advocate for adoption, but I read with interest because I also think the system needs massive reform, and because I think it’s good to get the perspective of others.  Usually I have a pretty high tolerance for listening to viewpoints that differ from my own.


One of the things that has been heavily criticized in the adoption blog world is the Christian movement of “orphan care”.  The group of missionaries in Haiti that tried to take a group of children to the Dominican only fueled the sentiment that pro-adoption Christians are wreckless, short-sighted, and self-serving.  I like to think I remain objective when reading stuff like this, but I admit I entered this conference with some skepticism. 

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What I Wanted to Say . . .


 Well, folks, my fifteen minutes is up.  I was glad have a chance to share a bit of our adoption story on a national media outlet.  Leading up to the show, my mind was racing with points I wanted to make about adoption.  It's something I'm so passionate about, and it's hard not to replay what I wish I would have said.  Here's a bit of it . . .

The View from here

So . . . some big news.

I flew to New York today to do a taping for The View.  It will air this Friday.  It is for a segment about adoption.

(Mark and I on the plane from LAX to JFK)

Oh my word.  I am not usually the nervous type.  I AM NERVOUS.

I started thinking today about everything I want to say about adoption.  I started planning the points I wanted to make, and the myths I wanted to dispel, and the realities that need to be heard.  And then I remembered the handfull of interviews I did after the earthquake, and how fast it goes.  And how you think you know what you want to say, but the questions may not give way to the points you've planned, and before you know it they are wrapping up.  And suddenly you and Don Lemon are having a bumbling moment of confusion on live tv because he doesn't realize that my Haitian son isn't a baby, so when he refers to the baby you think he's talking about Karis, so then you explain that the baby came home from Haiti, and then he's confused because he thought your child was still in Haiti, and OH MY GOSH WHO'S ON FIRST?

And The View.  I mean, those ladies.  Who can keep up with them?  My only hope is that I'm just talking to one of them, not ALL FIVE.  Yeesh.

Only I hope it's not Joy.  Because all I will be able to think of is Fred Armisen saying, ""So what? Who cares?"and talking about his brasierre.

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Support Beams

We had the good fortune to travel to the balmy island of Kaua’i (notice the apostrophe – I’m pretty much a local now) last week. We try to get to Hawai’i (again, notice apostrophe) every February to escape the gray doldrums of living in the Pacific Northwest in the winter. Mid-January, our Southern California blood starts demanding we get it some Vitamin D. We use our companion tickets for airfare and my in-laws graciously cover the accommodations. So, the trip really is almost free, if we refrain from eating out too much while we’re on the island. Almost free paradise is my kind of paradise. We were in Kaua’i when we got the news that we can go pick up our son at the end of March. The news felt surreal, dream-like. We weren’t expecting this news until at least mid-summer. I e-mailed a few friends about the news but mostly just walked around in a daze induced by tropical landscape and shock. Toward the end of our trip, I was finally able to blog about it somewhat articulately to announce the news to the world (see previous post).
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Incredible News

We have some incredible news to share. This is not your run of the mill incredible news. This is over the top, mind blowing incredible news. This is news that has sent us to the moon and back several times over the last few days. Over a year ago, I wrote a blog about our heart for adoption, about how we felt God strongly calling us to expand our family. You can read it here.

So, people, here’s our news: WE ARE GOING TO PICK UP OUR SON THE LAST WEEK OF MARCH. THAT’S FOUR WEEKS FROM NOW. We started the adoption process in October of 2009 and now, just a short 5 months later, we have a court date. If you are at all familiar with normal international adoption processes, this is really, really fast. My husband’s brother’s family waited over two years. Other friends have waited eighteen months.

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When Mark and I are "on our game" (which we are not right now), we like to do affirmations with the kids at the dinner table. Generally it involves us going around the table and saying a few things we like about each kid, and a few ways they have made us proud that day. We haven't done this since Kembe came home, and the other night as we were eating it occurred to me that we needed to include him in this tradition.

I went around the table, saying the usual things. As we affirmed Jafta, and then India, and then each other, Kembe sat there quietly, with wide eyes and a curious look. I could tell he understood what I was saying and was watching with anticipation. Then, it was his turn. I told him in my best Krenglish how much I loved him, how funny he is, how nice he is to the baby, how handsome he is, and how happy we are that he is in our family.

Oh my word. If I could have somehow captured the look on his face at this moment, it would melt your heart. He just got this look about him that I've never seen. It was pure joy . . . just unadulterated excitement and pride and happiness. He was BEAMING. And seeing him, I just thought: this.

This is what every child longs for and deserves . . . the adoration and affection from a parent. This is why I spent the better part of a day sounding off at a small portion of a news program dissing adoption. This is why I get so frustrated with attempts to shut down children being placed in the home of a loving family, because of something like race, or location, or sexual orientation, or finances, or home size.

When you see a glimpse of a child getting it - this. This family thing. When that starts to click and you get to bear witness to it . . . I just don't think there is anything more beautiful.

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We’ve spent the better part of the last month making copies of our birth certificates, getting physicals, being interviewed by social workers, and installing more smoke alarms. We’ve filled out questionnaires about parenting, watched hours of training on trans-racial adoption, read books on attachment, given over our 3 years of tax forms, and prayed a lot. Finally, after many trips to the notary and the post office, I’m happy to report we have finally mailed off all our official adoption documents.

People keep asking me what our timeline is, when our son will be home. It’s absolutely maddening that I have to answer truthfully, “I don’t know.” The process is out of our hands and in the hands of 2 government bureaucracies. Every day when the mail truck arrives (at precisely 3:22pm) I bolt outside to get it, hoping there will be some receipt or communication that will advance us to the next step.

Prayers for Ronel

My heart is heavy tonight for the adoptive parents who are still waiting to get their children home from Haiti, and for the children who wait in the balance. Since we got our son out of Haiti last week, things have changed dramatically. On January 18th, the US government announced it was granting humanitarian parole for orphans already in the process of adoption. This made perfect sense: these children were shown to be eligible for adoption prior to the earthquake. The Haitian and US government go through extensive searches when a child enters the system to show this to be true, including the procurement of death certificates, DNA testing, and birthparent interviews. I was so proud that our country saw the value of evacuating these children into the care of waiting families in the US, not only to remove them from a precarious situation, but also to free up room in orphanages to take care of children who are orphaned or displaced as a result of the earthquake.

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