I fell in love with their picture on the Internet and Troy, for the first time, said what he's now told me at least ten times. "It doesn't hurt to inquire." And so I inquired on them. Weeks later, we were contacted and asked to send our home study in by the end of February.
The thing was, we didn't have a home study completed. And they aren't cheap. We knew that, because these girls were featured on the Internet, there were dozens if not hundreds of perspective adoptive parents inquiring about them. We knew it was an enormous long shot. Was it even worth it to spend all that money to have a home study completed? Could it even be accomplished in the short amount of time we had? We prayed and, in the end, we had a social worker put a mad dash crazy rush on completing a home study for us.
We sent it in just days before it was due and received information that there were many, many interested families and the top five would be selected to move on to the next stage.
We never heard another thing about those girls. Troy discovered, through a separate Internet search, maybe a month later, that they had an adoption pending. Our hearts were so happy, knowing that those girls would not be left to float through the system, tossed and tumbled by circumstances they could never have changed.
We sent inquiries on dozens of children. Some sibling sets with one brother and one sister. Some sets with two sisters. Sometimes just one little girl who stared at me from behind eyes too old for her years. We heard back on a few of them. There was one girl who needed to be placed in a home where she would be an only child. There was another who had a history of extreme violence toward other children. When we told our social worker that we thought we needed to protect the two children God has already entrusted us with, she said she understood completely, but that any of the legally free children we found on the Internet would likely have similar concerns. She encouraged us to think about foster care.
For the record, I would love to provide foster care for a child. But, at this point, we think Matthew is too young to process his own security in our family while foster sisters might come and go. The goal of foster care is reunification and adoption is always the second choice. I'm not sure our family is in a place where our boys can understand that adoption was the first choice for Matthew but wouldn't be for a child that came to us through the system.
Our social worker told us that waiting children might be a very difficult avenue for us to pursue. At least, given our current situation and the ages of our boys. That was near the beginning of summer. Over the warm months, I occasionally looked at the websites and I inquired on several children, never hearing anything back. It was easy to distract myself with vacations and the pool and popsicles. Then the boys started school and I busied myself with getting back into the flow of their routines.
In September, I started thinking about overseas adoption. International adoption has always been something Troy and I have valued. My recent hesitancy has been related to the high costs. My brain started to think--which is always a problem--about ways to raise money and maybe, one day, bring home a daughter from another country. I also wondered if our family was complete and that the word I'd heard from God was concerning a different type of mother/daughter relationship altogether. At the same time, my boys were playing soccer with the most beautiful family. Their oldest son, Garrett's age, is Latino. Their daughter, Matthew's age, is from Africa. During the soccer season, they took their entire family to China to bring home their newest member. He's been toddling around soccer games ever since. My adoption heart beats a little stronger when I see them.
Could we do it?
Could we raise approximately 30,000 dollars to adopt a child from overseas?
And how would I know God was leading? My prayer all along has been that He would open a door that was so obvious, there was simply nothing left to do but walk through it.
On my dad's birthday, October 18, I woke up. It was just another Saturday...
Or was it?