Adoption found us.
When it did, a boatload of really difficult and confusing and overwhelming decisions were made for us. They just fell into place. Our story is pretty unusual, and is an example of how God chose to use a 2×4 upside of our heads to get our attention and change our lives…
For most families, it goes a little differently. A million paths as unique as the families following them lead to the decision to adopt. A million equally unique paths follow after that critical decision.
I’m not an expert in every family’s journey into the decision to adopt. While I can empathize and pray and love them through it, I can’t claim to know or truly understand the pain of infertility, or the lifelong passion to be a parent. I can’t and won’t campaign for adoption until a family is truly ready to be open to it — not as a last resort but as simply another path to building a family.
What I can and do understand: how overwhelming and terrifying and paralyzing the “where do i start” decision can be.
The Big Three
We’ve participated in several Adoption Q&A sessions, and met countless people starting to consider adoption. Every time, almost without fail, we hear them struggling with the same three questions:
- Where do we start?
- How long does it take?
- How much does it cost?
And every time, almost without fail, the answer to all three of those questions:
Where should I start?
Endless questions fly around in your head and it’s hard to develop answers and a strategy without understanding many of the implications. The single best place we’ve found to start is NOT Google. Unless you want your head to explode.
Loving Shepherd Ministries offers a free confidential online survey to help guide you through some of the key questions at the beginning of your adoption journey. Some questions will help confirm things that have been bouncing around in your mind. Some questions will bring up all new avenues to consider. For y’all who sit down thinking “this will be a nice quick online thingamabobbie,” you’re just so adorable…..
Ultimately, the process will help guide you through a lot of important considerations, and will help you narrow your choices to a few that are most suited to your unique family needs and your unique adoption goals.
In addition, they also have done extensive research about many agencies. While they will not *recommend* a particular agency, they are able to share impartial evaluations of each agency’s operations and financial stability, and share a list of the agencies that might be options based on your recommended path.
How much will it cost?
Cost can be a really intimidating factor when you’re considering adoption. We’ve all heard the stories about adoption costs running as much as $50,000 or more. But they can also be as little as practically nothing. When you start unpacking the money issue, the most important things to realize:
- you can influence the overall cost through your choices,
- you usually don’t have to pay for everything all at once, and
- you don’t have to do it alone.
Julie Gumm’s Adopt Without Debt is one of the most comprehensive guides to creative financing options to cover adoption costs. In addition to sharing her own adoption story, Julie shares details about how to get the most cash by selling stuff, how to run an effective fundraiser, how to find grants, etc. She blogs and maintains links to a variety of funding resources on her website, too.
How long will it take?
Unlike an “old-fashioned” birth, every adoption timeline is different, and an adoption can take anywhere from just a few months to several years.
Some families going through the local foster system can have a placement very quickly. Some families with specific requirements and committed to a specific country have waited several years.
In general, the more flexible you can be, the more options you’ll have to reduce the waiting time and cost, but ultimately, it’s all in God’s hands. The most important thing is to be as open as possible while still prayerfully understanding your limitations, and feeling no guilt about setting boundaries around what you can’t deal with.
Considering adoption? Strap yourselves in, ladies and gentlemen…you are in for the ride of your life!
Are you starting an adoption journey? Leave a comment and tell us about it!