If I only knew the risks…a reflection on adoption to date.

2 Jun

Can I be honest right now.  The past week or so, I’ve been having cold feet about the entire adoption process.  This is a total “spill it all” post, so you’re going to read a bit of our honest fears and thoughts, which isn’t easy, but necessary for me to just get it out there.  Especially when the question is always, “How’s the adoption going?” 

Did you know that international adoption isn’t easy. (well, I’d be willing to bet domestic, too) And when I say “isn’t easy”, I don’t mean that lightly.  The process isn’t hugely difficult.  You have to be open to having your life gone through with a fine-tooth comb, which we didn’t entirely enjoy.  You have to fill out a million forms and ask people to support you.  Visit your bank, your insurance provider and your HR rep to verify you’re in good standings and write out a bunch of checks.  Homeland Security has to ensure you’re a “good person”, too.

All of that is understandable, but here’s my issue – all programs…I’m pretty much thinking everyone one…is not the right one for us.  In fact, many (many!) countries are closed currently.  I say we missed our opportunity by a few years.  The countries that are open are mainly open for special needs. 

Special needs can be anything from a missing finger or limb to spinal bifida to autism to blindness or deafness to well, so many things.  There are some really major needs and some pretty minor needs, but needs none the less. And thank God for those families with hearts wide open to those needs! I’ve been so blessed to read so many amazing families with open hearts to the biggest range of needs available!

And if you find a country that is open to adoption on NON-special needs kids (which right now, isn’t easy to find.)  you’re also looking at other issues – prenatal exposure to alcohol, for example.  And then, you have to worry about what life is like currently for that child and if that child will be able to attach to you.

And attachment is a whole topic in and of itself.  There are so many things people look at, like was the child in foster or an orphanage, did they bond once before? Were they moved around so many times that they never got the chance to bond, was their orphanage short on care takers so much that they didn’t ever get the chance to know what it was to bond to an adult.

Add in the fears of older child adoption, where SOOOOO many online things say that the child is never going to be happy or adjust and he/she is going to eventually hate you. (my words). It’s enough to scare you right out of the game instantly!!

And then, there’s timeframe.  We’re in the S. Korea program, and we’d most likely be getting a referral of a 5-7mo old. (Which has been a big compromise for me because I”m not certain about the age difference between Logan and Miles and the new child.)  Korea is trying to encourage domestic adoption and stop international adoption, so they’ve put a quota on the number of kids that will be able to leave Korea each year.  It’s already been hit for the year.  So, people are looking now at 14 months post referral to travel for the one that used to be 11 months, and remember the one that said 2-4 months? Now at 9-10 months.  So that baby…not going to be a baby. Though we’re open to an older child adoption from S. Korea as well. 

And then I add in the fact that I am blessed currently. HAPPY and blessed and have wonderful kids.  Do I really want to wait until 2013 to add to my family?  And what will it be like when I have an 8 and 11 year old?  Life will be even easier.

And so I’m acknowledging these feelings and if you’ve been down the road, I’d appreciate encouragement, but not the “adoption isn’t for the feint of heart, because my heart is something I’m struggling with already….” I’ll be honest and say it would be easy to just chalk up the time and $$ already spent as personal growth for Dave and my marriage. (Cause it has been!) and move out of this role.

But then, while doing some research, I came across this wonderful statement from someone that touched on the fears…

  • If I would have only known the risks that could have come out of marriage, would I have gotten married?
  • If I would have only known when I was 16 how many people die each year from car accidents, would I have gotten my liscense?
  • If I would have only known how many medical issues my kids could have had, would I have even had kids?
  • Or if I would have known how many women die giving birth, would I have risked my life?
  • What about every time I get on an airplane? 

And so, we keep walking ahead, admitting our fears and talking about them. Something that Dave and I are acknowledging as a couple:

  • Just because you want to get pregnant does not mean you will be able to get pregnant. 
  • Just because you get pregnant does not mean you will have a baby. 
  • Just because you want to adopt does not mean that there will be a child adopted into your family.

And that’s just something that we’re being honest about.  And I’ll touch on my faith side of this, too.  I know that doors will open that God wants to open and doors will close that God wants to close.  I don’t know if adoption is God’s goal in all of this. But I know He’s directing the show and we’re following His lead, faithfully.


I think it’s so good that I was honest and put this post up, and guess what? Your posts back to me were so beneficial.  I can tell you it was a moment of cold feet.  A being honest and admitting my fear.  And as Brett so perfectly put, I over it already!!  I’m not afraid – I think I needed to just purge these feelings so I could move on to the next feelings.

I’m still not 100% positive what the outcome of this process will be – where will this road take us, but I do know that every part of it has been beneficial to date.  Our marriage, though always strong, has gotten stronger.  I feel now more than ever that my husband has “got my back”, so to say.  Our adoption circle in real life is so small that I don’t have anyone in real life to talk about these fears, and so, I wrote them, and the amazing internet responded.  Thank you, to those of you who did.

Now, let’s get on with this adoption process, shall we!? πŸ˜‰


7 Responses to “If I only knew the risks…a reflection on adoption to date.”

  1. Anonymous June 2, 2011 at 6:50 pm #

    Do you know how many times I had cold feet? Plenty!! But think of it this way… 20 years from now would you look back and see that you backed out due to fear? Don't let fear of the unknown sidetrack you Jen! It's true.. adoption is not for the feint of heart and it really is taking the road less traveled. Your paperwork is in so try and put all your speculations on hold until the call comes. Your heart may melt once you see that child, and it may not. And if that call comes in 2013 and you feel it's not good timing or a wrong fit, THEN close the door. Just keep on because I think deep down inside you really want that little girl! XXOO Donna

  2. Anonymous June 2, 2011 at 10:29 pm #

    I love Donna's comment. I am of the opinion, that go into the dark all you can. Explore your heart. You are brave to write about it. It will not be wise to expect all positive all the time. You will doubt. We doubt every thing all the time. You are expanding your family and bringing in a family member. Kudos to your honesty.-Abha

  3. Stephanie June 3, 2011 at 1:28 am #

    Your honesty is amazing…and so familiar. Adoption is hard, and when the reality of adding another child to your (happy and functioning) family gets closer, it is so common to second guess and to want to stay right where you are. To not rock the boat…don't mess with the good thing that my family is right now. My friends with only bio children can recall some of the same feelings with each pregnancy. "What are we doing?!? We have it really good right now, do we really want to do this?"Change is hard. Adoption is hard. But, it's also pretty great, too! When we were engaged we heard SO many people say, "Oh, your life is over!" types of comments. Your freedom is over, etc…We began to wonder why anyone got married if it is so awful. Sure, marriage takes work and isn't all rose petals and candles, but it's pretty stinking great, too! Same thing when we were pregnant…we heard all the time, "You will never sleep again. Your life will never be the same." etc…all negative comments — at least we took them that way. But, one of Matt's friend (with 4 boys!) said, "They are right, your life will never be the same again…but you won't want it to be either." That's how I think of adoption. πŸ™‚

  4. Anonymous June 6, 2011 at 1:42 pm #

    We were such a happy little family of three for so many years. But my DH has 4 siblings, and I have one, and we REALLY wanted that experience for our son. We wanted him to grow up with a little brother to play with, someone who shares his birth culture, and to have an adult sibling when they are all grown up to talk to about how many parenting mistakes their mom and dad made. πŸ™‚ So — we went for it. At times it honestly felt like we were forcing ourselves to do it. I think both DH and I could have been happy not going through with it, but that wasn't the family we wanted. And so, we pressed on. And you know what? Our little guy is so hilarious, so fiercely bonded to us, such a clown, such a delight, so incredibly loved and part of my heart right now I can't believe I ever thought of not doing this. I can't bear the thought of what we would have missed out on.~Elizabeth D~

  5. Brett June 9, 2011 at 3:02 am #

    Hello Jen. Nice blog you have here, you have a talent for transmitting your thoughts and feelings well.The feelings and doubts that you are experiencing now are common, I think everyone goes through them especially the first time. I definitely remember having doubts about whether I could love a child who wasn't biologically related to me – it seemed like a valid concern and it was. Adopting a child internationally is hard, but nothing worthwhile is ever really easy. You are an experienced mom – you and your husband are experienced parents – you will do great when your time comes! Your daughter is in Korea somewhere waiting for you. This is what I can tell you about daughters (I have 2 of them). They are precious jewels, more precious than anything, more precious than can even be imagined. These feelings and doubts you are experiencing will pass (they probably have already) and they will fade from your memory.Hang in there!Brett

  6. astepinfaith June 9, 2011 at 2:29 pm #

    Very honest thoughts Jen. Good for you. All ok and normal!

  7. Surely June 22, 2011 at 10:30 pm #

    Hello! Stopping in from the holt BB. Now, more than ever before we'll have to hold on tight bc it's going to be a wild ride. I am encouraged by your comments and also preparing myself for the long haul. Hang in there! We will make it through!! πŸ™‚

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