How long does the adoption process usually take?
The timeline for adoption really is quite unpredictable. Generally speaking, international adoption right now takes anywhere from 2-5 years. The ideal timeline is about two years, but I’ve known families that have experienced a much longer waiting time. If adopting from the foster care system, it’s impossible to give a timeline up front.
How do you adopt internationally?
I have never adopted internationally and therefore even though I’m familiar with the process I asked my dad to speak on this question;
“The most important thing for anybody wanting to adopt internationally is to find the right and best agency who will walk them through the steps. Find an agency that has long-standing experience working in a particular country and if possible comes recommended through people you know who have used them.
They will walk you through step-by-step but the steps include having to be approved for an international adoption by both your country and the international country from which the child is coming. This is where a home study is done, paperwork for the international country etc.
Again an agency will walk you through every step and agencies provide free orientation and consultation before any one needs to make a decision.”
Will you ever tell Mason he’s adopted?
Yes!! We already talk to him about being adopted and believe it is so important. From my work in the field and now being an adoptive mom, I stand behind the belief that a child has the right to know their full story. However, the details of their story should be given at age appropriate times. That means, over time, facts and details will be added to their story. Sometimes, if their story doesn’t have as many complications it can be given all at the beginning. Each family will have their own way of having this conversation, but yes we plan to always talk about adoption with Mason.
Do you want to adopt again?
Yes! God willing we would love to adopt again. We have a big heart for foster care and reunification and right now that is our focus. But, we both feel really called to care for the orphans of the world and know there are so many who need a forever family. So we are hopeful we will welcome other sons and/or daughters by means of adoption.
How to deal with the child when he grows up and doesn’t like that he’s adopted?
This one I can only answer from my work experience because I haven’t experienced it from the mom perspective yet. Like I’ve said many times before, adoption cannot happen without loss, which means your child will at some point experience emotions of frustration, hurt, possibly abandonment – and they will most likely take it out on you as the adoptive parent. What you have to remember is that it’s a defensive mechanism, and not them telling you they don’t love you anymore. They want you to be there for them, but do it on their terms and timing. Give them the freedom to process these emotions and make sure they know you’ll always be there for them.
What are some books you would recommend to read?
I am a huge fan of The Connected Child by Karyn Purvis, as well as The Whole Brain Child by Daniel Siegel, and Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew by Sherrie Eldrige. Those are great books to start with.
What were your feelings when Mason finally got your second name?
The first thing that comes to mind when I think about that moment was relief and gratitude. I am so incredibly grateful that God chose me to be his mom. And after multiple years of the unknown, it was the biggest weight lifted off my shoulders when I heard his new last name. It was our seal, our promise that he would never be taken away. It was beautifully overwhelming.
Do you feel drawn to Liam, your biological child, more than Mason?
No. I love both of my boys equally, both of them drive me crazy at times, and I would do anything for either of them. For me personally, maybe because I have adopted siblings, having the same blood has never been significant in defining family. To us, family is more than blood. So my siblings have always been and will always be my siblings, and my kids are no different. They are my kids, both of them.
How do you know if you are ready to adopt? I feel I have so much love to give but it’s scary.
My suggestion would be that if you are considering it, and in a season of life to move forward, then do it. Truthfully, it will always be a little scary. But it doesn’t hurt to ask questions and pursue it a little further.
Can you be single and adopt?
Is it really as expensive as it seems?
Private adoption can be very expensive. There are grants offered and I know many people fundraiser, but yes, private adoption is costly. But if it’s something you feel called to do, God always makes a way.
We are pursuing foster care but have MAJOR pushback from immediate fam. Advice?
I think pushback is normal from at least one person in a family when pursuing foster care. I would say to be honest with them about the reality of what loving these kiddos means. Also, don’t sugar coat what it will be like because when something goes wrong, it’ll be harder to have them on your side. Be honest with why you’re doing it and the desperate need that is there for foster families. But be sensitive. They are probably scared and giving pushback because they are selfishly wanting the “best life” for you, and foster care comes with a lot of unknowns and often chaos. So with grace, remind them that this is the best thing you could do for yourself, to love another.
Another big thing I’d encourage you in is if there’s still pushback when you have children in your home, you have to protect those kiddos. Make sure those kids know you don’t agree with the pushback if it’s voiced in front of them, and don’t defend it to the kids. They wont understand that “it’s coming from a good place” they will just hear more abandonment. It’s a hard road to walk, but I commend you for choosing to love these kiddos. I will be praying for unity in your family!
Did you intentionally decide to foster/adopt before having a biological child. If so, why?
We always knew we wanted to foster and adopt and truthfully thought we’d have biological children first. But, we felt a strong call to help so we decided to sign up for short term placements which turned into full blown fostering and then happened to get pregnant in the process. Some people really believe in birth order and that is totally fine, but for Zach and I it has never been a huge factor.
What are the requirements needed for adopting?
Requirements vary from agency to agency, state to state and country to country. It is very important to research requirements before selecting an agency or a country to adopt from.
How do you talk to your adoptive child about their biological parents?
This will vary based on your child’s adoption story, but my one piece of advice is to do so lovingly. Remember, they are still their parents. You don’t ever want to make your child feel like one set of parents is better than the other. Birth parents are family and they should be talked about with respect. If they hurt your child or made terrible decisions give that information (at an appropriate age) as facts. You don’t have to justify it, please don’t, but don’t add your personal comments or opinions to it. Approach the conversation clinging to the hope that people can be healed of addictions, pain, trauma and that maybe someday your child can know their birth parents in a healthy manner.
Do you have a closed or open adoption? Are you still in contact with the birth parents?
We have an open adoption. We do have contact with Mason’s family and I don’t ever plan to go into detail about it out of respect for them. But I will say if it’s possible, adoption should always be open. I understand that sometimes it can’t be. But it is better for the child in the long run, if it’s a healthy relationship, to know their birth family.
Any tips on balancing fostering/adopting when you have biological children in your home already?
This is a hard one. Because I want to say that all children should be parented and given equal attention, but the reality is that probably won’t happen. Kiddos coming from trauma need extra hands on care that sometimes takes away from your biological children. When you can, pull your biological kids aside to remind them that they are loved and important. Take all your kids on individual dates even if it’s just to go to Starbucks. Do your best to not divide your kids between biological and adopted, but rather promote a unified family unit. This way it’s easier to understand that we are one family but sometimes that means we support different members at different times based on their needs.
Do you know of any Christian adoption agencies?
Bethany Christian Services
All God’s Children