I have looked forward to adopting a child for almost half of my life. I grew up around others who had grown their families through adoption, and I thought it was beautiful. My love for adoption grew as a teenager when I, along with my other sisters, tried to convince our parents that they should adopt. What started out as feeble attempts at convincing them that we needed another sister turned into the beginnings of my family’s journey to adopting my sister Gabi. My family’s adoption journey solidified my heart’s desire to adopt. I knew someday, I too, would adopt. Fast forward ten years.
Last month marks three years since my husband, Michael, and I began the adoption process. As our friends can tell from the lack of an Instagram feed filled with photos of a sweet little boy, we still have not completed our adoption.
It is a strange journey, adoption is. No two experiences are the same. The process is full of unknowns. It could take a few weeks or it could take a few years. I have stories of friends who started the process, but were not able to complete an adoption because of roadblocks that came up during the journey. But for those who do succeed and bring a child into their home, the adventure is just beginning.
At a time when I needed a little encouragement with our adoption experience, I had the opportunity to hear from a few different families who have gone through the process. Hearing these stories from families that have gone through the long and difficult process of adoption encouraged me because, in each instance, I could see God’s perfect timing in every situation. So to those of you pursuing adoption, or maybe even those that have completed an adoption and feel weary from the unique struggles that come with it, take heart—God is for you.
For the family that has just started the process and feel overwhelmed by the mass amounts of paperwork, approvals, interviews, meetings, expenses, and unknowns—be encouraged. God is in the details and takes care of his children.
For the family that has been waiting for a child for months and months—or years and years—don’t lose hope. God knows your child and will bring your family together at the right time.
For the family that may be praying about whether or not to pursue adoption, it is a hard but rewarding journey.
Adopting is not for everyone. While it is scary to consider providing a home to a child that has experienced trauma, every child deserves to be in a family and be loved. We need families that say “yes” to adoption. And as the church, we are reminded, that genuine spirituality includes in caring for the orphaned (James 1:27).
As for us, the country where we applied for adopting a child decided to reform their international adoption policies. Because of this, our adoption has been “on hold” for a year while waiting for the country to vote on the new law. We have waited, and hoped, that the new law would still allow us to pursue adoption from that country.
Two weeks ago we finally heard back from our adoption agency. The new law was finally voted in. Sadly, we learned the new laws will not allow us to continue to pursue the adoption that we have been working toward for three years. This is not how we wanted our adoption journey to go. But I know our story is still being written.
Though we cannot see the end in sight, we believe the years of waiting will be worth it. As we seek wisdom to know which country to switch to and to pursue adoption, we know that every child, in every country, is worth this hard process. Every life is special. Every life is valuable.
Lauren McAfee is a connector, Museum of the Bible advocate, and brunch enthusiast with a heart to engage others in the Bible.
An Oklahoma girl living in Manhattan. Third generation member of the Hobby Lobby Green family. Happily married to her High School Sweetheart Michael McAfee. Committed to Jesus Christ. Addicted to Starbucks Chai. Compelled to buy more books than she could ever read. Follow @laurenamcafee and read her blog.
Photo Credit: Courtney Carmody