April 21, 2016

[Disclaimer: I am only speaking in reference to U.S. Domestic adoptions done through the foster care system and not private adoption. I have not done as much research on international or private adoptions so I am not speaking about those processes. If you would care to share about your experience, please do so because I love learning about other peoples journeys. Leave a comment below.]

Adoption has been on my heart since high school and I look forward to the day when Lord-willing we can adopt a sweet child. Throughout the past year though I have seen some crazy flaws in the adoption system/process that makes me not only upset but sad. You may or may not know that the average U.S. adoption takes about 12 months and that is from the time a home study is completed until placement. This time frame does not include how long it takes to finalize the adoption. In 2001 there were around 1.5 million kids in the U.S. waiting to be adopted. 1.5 million!!!!!! What really gets me going is that these are children who do not currently have a stable home environment. There are many great foster families out there (shout out to all my foster moms), but in many cases these are just temporary homes until they are reunited with their birth family or adopted family.

One of the problems is that there is a shortage of case workers and CPS workers to take care of the huge number of children who need help being placed in foster families or adoptive families.  Why doesn't the government increase employment in those areas? These are kids we are talking about. The future of America. 

Another problem that I have seen in the little time I have spent researching and exploring domestic adoption is how long it can take to complete all the paperwork and classes needed to even be considered for placement. For example, Nick and I went to a introductory class  which was 2 hours long and happens only every 6 weeks or so in our area. We learned we needed to complete 27 hours of classes before we could get placed with a child on top of lots of paperwork, a home study, a few immunizations, back ground checks, etc. The classes needed are held over 40 minutes away from our house and both of us would have to attend. Since we have kids this means we would probably have to alternate times we went if we did not have a sitter which could prolong the process. I understand they want to make sure that all of the children are being put in safe, loving, and prepared homes but the amount of time and inconvenience of location makes it almost impossible for a working Dad and full-time stay-at-home mom to complete. Can't imagine how hard it would be for two working parents, or a single mom or dad for that matter. 

On top of that you cannot move to another county (like Orange County) because the counties typically do not speak to each other. This means you would need to start all over with the process if you move. This is a big reason why we have stopped for the time being on our process of adoption. If we decide to move to the OC anytime within the next year we would have to start all over again and would have completed all of those classes for nothing. Another sad thing I picked up on while at the intro class was the type of people who wanted to either foster or adopt. There were about 4 other couples who looked "normal," but most of the people there had many questions about the compensation they would receive, seemed to have completely lost their minds (based on their questions), or knew little to nothing about children. I am only saying this out of observation. I obviously did not know these people, but let's just say I would never let them watch my boys or any of my friend's children.

There are so many great foster families out there who make a difference in many kids lives, but being in that room also reminded me of how many people out there are not looking out for the best interest of the children. Frankly, this scared me a little. With so many obstacles that can get in the way of a domestic adoption through the foster care system, I can see how much easier it could be to have another one of your own (if that is an option), or to go international, or to simply ditch the dream. I often find myself questioning when we can commit to the process and dreaming of the day we can call another sweet child our own. My prayer is that the government and voters will find a way to help speed the process up for domestic adoptions. That we would see the need for these children to be in loving homes so they can grow and thrive. That we would use all resources necessary to make sure that the child's best interest is always first and that money would not be an issue. 

Sorry for this long rant. I know there are many routes and journeys to embark on when deciding to adopt, but it is hard to not get discouraged. I am thankful for the many friends I know who have persevered despite the many trials they faced and are now united with their beautiful kids. Since I was able to get pregnant pretty quickly with both boys and did not have complications it is hard to wait and to be okay with the unknown. I hope that my fears (whether they are legitimate or illegitimate) about the system breaking my heart or failing our family does not get in the way of us starting and completing our journey. If you have ever adopted or are in the process of adopting I would love to hear more about your story. I have interviewed a couple of moms who have already gone through this and am learning something new each time. 

I have been adopted in Christ in spite of my sinfulness. I am a co-heir with Christ, having done nothing to earn or deserve His unconditional love. It is the love that Christ has bestowed onto his adopted children that encourages me to want to adopt a child. It excites me to have the opportunity to love someone unconditionally and to raise them in the fear and knowledge of the Lord. To share the Gospel with someone who may have otherwise never had the opportunity to hear it. 

1 John 3:1-2 "See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is."

Ephesians 1:5 " He predestined us to be adopted as sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will"

Psalm 127 "Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord" 

10 on Tuesday

Happy Tuesday everyone, only 3 more days until the weekend..... I am linking up with Karli from September Farm for another 10 on Tuesday.  I love being a stay-at-home mom and think it is the best "job" in the world but I often think about other fun jobs I would like to dabble into one day.  My degree is in Communication is pretty broad which can make chosing a career path a little difficult. The list of jobs below are a mixture of ones that are way out of my league and talent and some are ones I truly would love to do.  I wish I knew about more career options while in college and before having kids but you live and learn right?  I am still young enough to make a career shift one day in the future so you never know.

10 Jobs I Think I Would Enjoy

  1. Lactation Consultant- Had I known this was a job or something I would enjoy doing while I was still in school I would have totally got my bachelors in nursing and then became a IBCLC lactation consultant. My breastfeeding success is largely due to my consultants and a few good momma friends. I also had some bad experiences with lactation consultant in the hospitals. My dream would be to help out women in inner cities who might desire to breastfeed but just need the tools and knowledge to make it work. (disclaimer: yes, I know there are so many other factors that can lead to a mom not being able to nurse her baby. I support you if you did or did not breastfeed. I happened to breastfeed and am passionate about, that's it). 
  2. Adoption Agency Consultant- Adoption has been on my heart for a few years now. I feel like this would be a problem-solving job that would be so fulfilling in the end if I could help make a difference in a few kiddos lives. This is also a job that Lord-willing I truly think I want to try out in the future.
  3. Florist- I love and appreciate the work florist do to make something beautiful out of God's creation. I think it would be so much fun to assist in making bouquets and arrangements for weddings and special events. Plus, all the knowledge I would gain on flowers would be incredible.
  4. Bed and Breakfast Owner- Have you seen Fixer Upper's Chip and Joanna Gaines new B&B? I fell in love with it and now want my own B&B to run. I can imagine the smell of coffee, fresh linens, and some Ray Lamontagne all day long. 
  5. Personal Organizer- I was a nanny for a lady who hired a organizer to help her get things in order in her home. I never knew this career even existed but I think this would top all the other options on here for career paths. I would love the task of de-cluttering someones stuff and helping them live more simply, seriously!!!
  6. Chocolatier - Chocolate is a food group in my mind and growing up I always admired the movie Choocolat. Although I would most likely eat everything I made I wouldn't mind bringing smiles to people with some good old chocolate. 
  7. Judge- This has been a dream of mine since I was 5 years old. I am the oldest child and I am controlling which makes sense why this job appeals to me.
  8. Bar tender for Stone Brewery- Stone only serves beer on draft, wine, and some specialty bottled drinks so not much training would be involved. 
  9. Photographer- I appreciate photographers and their artistic eye and wish so badly I was good at this. 
  10. Professional Dancer- Can I be Val's partner on Dancing With the Stars? 

Are you currently at your dream job? What did you want to be when you were little? Did you get a degree in something you regret or would change?

why not wanting a lot of kids is OK.

In many mom circles there always seems to be a spoken and unspoken debate over breast feeding vs. formula feeding, co-sleeping vs. separate beds, baby-led weaning vs. purees, spanking vs. no-spanking, homeschooling vs. public school, and the list goes on. I have noticed though that there are a lot of opinions (both solicited and unsolicited) on how many kids a family should have. Some women like myself can get pregnant pretty quickly and have fairly easy pregnancies and safe deliveries. But there are also women who are barren, women who only adopt, mixed families, families with kids via IVF, families with 8 kids, and families who just want one child. 

Every mother has her own set of values, problems, struggles, anxieties, financial restraints, health issues, dreams, goals, etc. Each family needs to exercise wisdom in making the decision to have one child or ten children. Not wanting a lot of kids is OK.

Genesis 1:22 "And God blessed them saying, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let the birds multiply the earth."

Psalm 127:1-5 "Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives his beloved sleep. Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate."

Biblically, there is no set number of children that a mother should have. A mom with 6 kids is not held up any higher in the sight of God than the woman with 2 kids. As sinful people we can defend either side of the coin to justify our reasoning, but what it comes down to is being in prayer and using wisdom. Ultimately, what matters most is that mom is taking care of her children and raising 2, or all 6, or 19 kids in the fear and admonition of the Lord. That's what God cares about. 

I want to be the best mom and wife to my husband and boys, because at the end of the day this is the family God has blessed me with and it is my responsibility and privilege to care for each of them. Our decision on whether we should add another sweet child into our family will not alter my calling to be a great mom to Calvin and Max.

Depending on what time of the month it is, I have recently considered whether we should have another biological baby or not. Being the planner that I am, I go through scenarios like: what time of year is best to have another baby, what's an ideal age difference between my kids, would we need a bigger car, etc. But then there are days like today when I am totally content with where we are at. Contentment does not mean that I am lazy, complacent, or not wanting things to be hard. I am content and happy to be able to be home and love on my kids. I am so thankful that there are days that I am able to help watch a friend's baby or when I can complete the laundry and actually make some dinner. Adding another baby could change a lot of what I am able to do now, but that doesn't mean they would be an inconvenience. A new baby or child changes a lot in a household, mostly for the good. For example, I have yet to meet a family who regretted adding another child to their family. But if I or any other friend have decided that what they currently have is enough for them, that is OK! 

Honoring God in our callings as mothers should take place no matter the number. The greatest gift apart from Christ is to be able to love on your family. So whether you are in favor of giving the whole scenario to God to decide how many kids you will have, you are on birth control, condoms, your husband gets a vasectomy, whatever, know that the woman next to you probably has her own reasoning. Encourage her to be the best mom and friend she can be instead of judging how many kids she does or doesn't have.

I personally am not convicted about having a huge family. God is sovereign over all and can change my convictions and my plans and that would be fine. But in the meantime I pray that God will continue to grow and use me to be the best mother and teacher for my boys. If you want to have a big family or are going to have a super small one know that I support you. The laundry, cooking, cleaning, book reading, diaper changes, and memorable moments will always be there (well, hopefully not the diapers forever). We each will have our pleasant and more trying times despite how many mouths we are feeding. Let's glorify God in the privilege and honor of being mothers, together.