Today’s post is from a family who felt the call to adopt and are in the process of going through a local adoption through foster care. They will soon be bringing home a sibling set of four children.
A Mom Shares Why She Chose to Adopt from Foster Care
Spotlight on Local Adoption
by Chantelle Moore
We have always wanted bigger family. Not Duggar big, but somewhere between a basketball team and a soccer team. I (Telly) have just one sibling who is 6 years older, so a lot of times growing up I yearned for siblings who were more like friends. I want my own kids to have more sibling camaraderie than I did.
There are kids everywhere who need help. The bible tells us to take care of the orphans. Not everyone can adopt, we know that. Not everyone is called to, but we DO feel called. Strongly. We may not have a lot of money, but our family is rich in love, support, and friendship. We have a lot to offer kids, especially those that have been taken into the foster system.
Adoption is a perfect picture of the gospel. To take in someone who was not born to you, who hasn’t done anything to deserve a spot in your family, but giving them a home simply because every person is worthy of love.
We both felt called to domestic adoption because there are so many kids locally who need homes, and financially international adoption does not seem like it would ever be feasible for us. As a teacher in a low income area, I meet kids all the time who tell me horrific stories about their homes, and I’ve wanted so many times to swoop them up and take them to mine. I couldn’t imagine going overseas when I had children yanking on my heart strings right here.
If we wanted to meet the needs of kids, we asked ourselves what was the highest need that we felt comfortable handling? Sibling groups are some of the hardest to place, and we thought that adopting two at once may help them adjust. We were open to any race, and several disabilities, depending on the range of care needed. We really liked the idea of having an ethnically diverse family.
We decided we wanted to adopt before we had any kids at all, but now that I’ve had 3 kids and 3 c-sections (in less than 3 years) it seems like God telling us that my body needs a rest. Rather than wait for healing and creating a gap in our children’s ages, let’s fill the gap with non-Bio kids!
Our Adoption Story (so far)
I don’t remember how it came up, but when Jon and I were in our pre-marital counseling, I was relieved to find out that he liked the idea of adoption just as much as I did. As we talked more, we both felt happy with a blend of biological and adopted children. In the optimistic planning that you do as star eyed about to be newlyweds, we liked the idea of having two biological children, then adopting after that.
And so we did. We had our first child, Scott in 2013. At his first birthday party, we announced we were pregnant with another bundle. At our 20 week check up we found out that there were abnormalities in our growing baby’s heart. The abnormalities were rare, serious, and should have taken his life long before delivery, but by God’s grace, we held our baby boy James Arthur for several minutes before he went home to Heaven. My husband and I only had a brief moment to consider if we were ready to proceed with our adoption plan because just 3 months later we were pregnant again with our rainbow baby.
Even as I was pregnant with Adelaide, adoption was heavy on my heart. I was so overwhelmed with joy as I held her for the first time, but even then I was secretly wondering how soon was too soon to start the adoption process. I was ready, but I knew my husband wasn’t yet. So I waited for God’s timing to bring it up with Jon.
That time was less than a month later when we saw a flyer for an adoption information fair being thrown by some local organizations. Jon was skeptical, but we went merely as a curiosity to learn what steps we would need to take once we were ready to start. We must have looked overwhelmed and aimless as we stood amid several agency booths because we were quickly spotted by someone who gently probed our intentions and circumstances. We connected with a family who had adopted four (“Wow, that’s a lot!” we thought). The agency they used specialized in helping fund adoptions for harder to place children (minorities, special needs, sibling groups) from foster care.
The right fit
This perked up our ears for two reasons:
1) We are not rich…by a long shot. At the time we were narrowly making ends meet off of a teacher’s salary and a fluctuating part-time income. The cost of adoption was one of our (perceived) largest barriers to getting started. Any agency that helped cover costs was exactly what we needed!
2) Our hearts were drawn to adopting the “harder to place” children. This agency specialized in our sweet spot.
This family told us how their kids came from foster care in Texas.
Oh, did you know that kids from foster care continue to receive a monthly stipend even after the adoption is finalized?
Did you know that kids adopted from foster care are automatically on Medicaid until they’re 18?
Did you know that in kids who go through the foster care system in Texas are granted free tuition at several universities (online and on campus) around the state?
So maybe, just maybe, adoption was more affordable than we thought.
Praying for the Children
We sat down to listen to several families talk about their adoption process in forum style. One of the mom’s said the adoption bug really hit her when God put a thought on her heart: Your kids are already out there. If you’re adopting anything other than a baby, and you’re already thinking about adopting, then chances are that the child destined to be yours is already born, already living in a situation that is unloving or dangerous, maybe already taken into custody and waiting for you.
That idea hit me in the guy. Like a Hulk fist straight to the heart. I started praying for “my kids” that night, that wherever they were they would feel love, and be comforted by God’s peace, and my pre-emptive love.
After that conference, I was down for the count and ready to start filling out paperwork right there. You know those “Sign and Drive” sales events at car dealerships? I could have “Sign and Adopted” right there. But Jon wisely held back and advised more prayer and wisdom-seeking.
Finding the Right Agency
A few months later we met up for a longer Q&A session with the couple we met at the conference who had adopted four (Yikes!), kids. We learned more about their process with the agency they went with. We learned about the adjustment to the new family, particularly melding it with the two bio kids they already had. Most importantly to Jon, we learned about how they made it all work on a teacher’s salary.
We came away from that meeting knowing that we had found the right agency to work with. Jon felt more confident that we didn’t have to have markedly better jobs or our house perfect before we could start the process. I’ve often heard people say that they aren’t ready to get pregnant because they’re waiting for the perfect time, whether that is money, house, job situation, family drama, etc. But as many seasoned parents know, you will never be completely ready for children. I think the same is true for adoption. We can try our best to prepare, research, and get our ducks in a row, but the only thing that has to be ready is your heart.
Where we are Now
We started filling out paperwork in January. Our physicals, background checks, and meetings happened in February. In March we had our home study, and in April we started to see profiles of children that were waiting for homes. The agency showed us many different types of children, many who didn’t fit the profile of what we thought we wanted. Perhaps the hardest part of this stage was saying “no” to an innocent, smiling face of a hopeful child. We waited eagerly for a profile to come in that grabbed our hearts. I don’t think either of us expected love at first sight, but we knew that God would nudge and guide when something good came our way.
I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse into local adoption. Tomorrow we will feature a family who has adopted internationally.