Our Adoption Story

Over the next several weeks I am going to be blogging about our adoption journey.  The whole story, from start to finish.  Why several weeks?  It’s a really long story.  Ten years long.  Ten years ago I took a class, nothing spectacular.  Just a regular, soon-to-be-sophomore taking her very first college course (English to be exact).  I was super excited.  My sister and I were taking it together; we had to drive half an hour to the nearest community college.  It was an interesting experience for so many reasons, but I’ll just focus on the one for now.

IMG_3092Our first two class periods, the professor did not show up.  So we drove an hour round-trip, sat in a classroom for probably close to that time, and had nothing to do.  Nothing except talk amongst ourselves.  We met some of the other students in the room, all of whom came from many various walks of life.  Much more culturally interesting than my high school class.  I was the youngest person there, but I didn’t feel out of place because the age range was quite large.

I ended up chatting with a lady in her mid-thirties who was sitting nearby.  I remember next to nothing about her.  I don’t know what her name was or why she was taking college courses.  She had dirty blonde hair; I think it was wavy, but that could be my memory just trying to fill in the blanks.  I don’t remember this lady.  But I remember what she said.  It is so strange to be eternally indebted to a person you don’t remember, know nothing about and won’t ever meet again this side of heaven.

I asked her about her family and what I thought was a basic question: “How many children do you have?”.  The look she gave me I remember, because it’s the same look I get when people ask me (military brat that I am) where I’m from.  Umm… it’s complicated.  She then proceeded to tell me that her and her husband were foster parents.  She said that they typically foster older children, teenagers who are aging out of the system.  She said that she considered all of them her children, even if they were never formally adopted, and that they always make sure the children know that they will be there for holidays, or if they ever want a family to come home to.

She told me about how sometimes it was hard raising a teenager who you just met and who came from such loss and hurt.  But that it was rewarding and a privilege to give these young people the opportunity for a good life from the beginning.  We talked about hobbies, and I learned that she loved cooking – it was how they spent their family time together.  She said that it was great for bonding with their teens.  I don’t remember much else about the conversation; I think that was all that we talked about about her life.  I assumed I would get a chance to ask her more about it in future weeks, but I never was able to.  I mean, usually, classrooms have teachers and you actually do work.  That night, though, there was Someone else at work… and He was planting seeds.

I thought about fostering and adoption all that evening.  I couldn’t think about anything else.  Mother Teresa was a hero of mine, and I always resonated with the story of how her mother and father were poor but took in anyone who was needy, and how that sharing of her life with others in need shaped her as she grew older.  What an amazing ministry, I thought, to be able to give of yourself and your home to young people who are at risk for becoming impoverished and needy to prevent it from happening in the first place.  To catch these precious children of God before they fall through the cracks.

A spark was kindled in my heart.  But I was cautious about bringing it to light.  I was obviously too young to be a foster parent, and I felt probably too young to even be considering it.  Well, to be perfectly honest, I knew I wasn’t too young to be thinking about it, but I was afraid of being discouraged from it if I opened up to someone.  So I kept quiet.  But I was just dying to talk about it!  Little did I know… God was already planning to have a “discussion” with me about this.

Shortly after my conversation with the saintly lady from my English 101 course, I had a dream.  And this time, I didn’t forget the details.  They are as vivid to me now as they were years ago…

READ PART II

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