Deciding to move forward with the adoption meant changing several things...going into secret mode which is not fun as we are pretty open and honest with our families and friends... deciding not to start some projects until we knew what we were getting into (like putting down hard wood floors, oh how I wish we could still do this, maybe someday)... and we had to work on our prayer life, our marriage communication, and our relationship with God.
Not that our marriage or relationship with God was struggling, but you have to remember that we had gone through one year of questioning God, having out emotions tugged in every direction, having my hopes and dreams diverted to new hopes and dreams, etc... our communication with each other and with God needed some time to tune up :) I truly appreciate our family and friends who gave us bonding and relationship advice at a time that you may have not even known that we needed it... just goes to show how God works through people when we don't expect it!
So moving forward, taking the next step, we had to choose an adoption agency. I can't tell you how crazy lost I was when I typed in "adoption agencies in Texas" into google... I mean wow I was just overwhelmed. I prayed for direction and then I remembered a conversation I had with a friend at the beginning of the year. I had just shared with this friend how I wasn't going to be having kids because of what God had told me and she immediately started talking to me about adoption if we became interested in adoption (at that time I wasn't sure)... so she mentions to me a friend of hers, Holly Ann Petree, and that I should email her.
Somewhere in my phone I saved her email address and name so I looked her up and her agency, Addy's Hope.
Addy's Hope was founded by John and Holly Ann Petree in memory of their daughter, Addy. In 2004, The Petree's set out to adopt from Sierra Leon, Africa. Addy was in every way their daughter, but contracted Cholera and died before she was able to be given the right help and make it home to her new family. God then lead them down the path to create Addy's Hope in order to help families add to their homes and to save orphans all over the world. Just reading the story itself was enough for God to give me the signals I needed. I contacted Holly Ann in January, but to give us more time to prepare ourselves and our marriage for what was to come, we didn't end up getting to meet with her until March 20th.
I apologize to all my family and friends for the...ummm... little white lies that were told during this time... we had to keep this a secret until we knew what we were up against, and when I had to sneak away to that lunch on that Wednesday, I had to make up some good excuses bc some of you people are crafty and clever, lol!
So we met with Holly Ann and all I could remember was praying "God is this it, is this our agency, is this our path, please give us peace about this and a clear decision!" Holly Ann began talking with us on the different types of adoption, different types that I had never even heard of. We knew we wanted to adopt domestically because Robert has always shared his heart for kids and teens in this state and area. We also knew that we may or may not be able to afford adoption of a baby or infant, but we wanted to know everything. Finding out that infant adoption can be over 30 grand was litterally painful to hear. It just didn't feel right to us when she was talking about baby adoption.
Then she mentioned a program where you adopt from children who have been in the "system" for over a year and or have their parental rights terminated. A program called Waiting Child. In this program, the children who shuffle through the foster care system for a year have their parent's rights terminated meaning they can no longer go back to their families for whatever reason determined by the courts, so the child is placed on the Waiting Child List. This means that the child will be at least a year old if not older. There are thousands of older kids who are placed on this list their whole childhood because they are overlooked for younger kids. If the child turns 18 years while in this program (without being adopted), they are adopted out of the system and basically thrown to the wolves of life, wished good luck, but let go without anything. To type this still just breaks my heart for all those children who feel unloved and unwanted enough that they don't get adopted and then they have no stability or family to fall back on. Robert and I have a huge heart for these kids and while we may not be in the position to adopt these older children at our age, we hope to come up with more solutions for their furture... but thats another post :)
We knew this Waiting Child program was for us. And while we had so many questions and uncertainties, we were ready to commit blindly trusting our faith. It was a strong bold step in the right direction towards our future.
If you or anyone has questions about the Waiting Child program or how you can support these children, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.