I am an enthusiastic adoption advocate, but as I’ve said before, I never want to paint such a rosy picture that families enter into the process blindly. Today’s post focuses on some of the challenges within the adoption process, as well as what you can do even if you don’t feel called to adopt.
What was the biggest hurdle in the adoption process?
For us personally, the biggest hurdle in the adoption process was when a communication fail at our agency resulted in our paperwork being misplaced for months before we even knew about it. I was upset about this at the time, but once things got rolling again, everything went very quickly.
But I’m just one mom, so I’m sharing answers to this question from other adoptive parents, including those in domestic, international, and foster-adoptive families:
“For us the hardest part was the uncertainty; the process in Ukraine seems to change with the wind, and there was always some new regulation or rule or change in paperwork or risk of shutdown or delay. It was difficult to learn to focus on the things we could control and to just let go of the things we couldn’t control.”
“We’ve adopted twice from our state’s foster care system. Our daughter’s adoption was a dream, no birth family visits, she was free for adoption the second we brought her home, and the whole thing was wrapped up 6 months after. Our son went 2x a week on visits with his birth family and we had to fight for his rights to be heard in court. We didn’t feel like we had enough say in the court hearings. But in the end, the truth came out and really, God gave us strength to stand up and be heard.”
“We could not get over how much “silly” info that was requested from us. For example, we have a septic tank that needed to be inspected; we had to have physicals, which included blood work, and we knew these were just the “hoops” to pass through but there are so many situations in a biological birth that there is no info needed. The paperwork is overwhelming.“
“Our hurdle was a bit different from most. Our 1st placement was removed from her previous foster home after they had already been given consent to adopt. Before they filed their petition to adopt some charges came about and she was removed from their home and their home was shut down as a foster home. They filed to adopt her anyway and we had a huge custody battle in court that lasted a year and a half. It was a long, tiring battle but after a year and a half we got the verdict that she was ours.”
“We did not really encounter any hurdles, the process was involved but not difficult. I think the hardest part was waiting to get kids after we were certified. I would go to our agency’s office once every other week to look at profiles of kids who were new to the system, that was always very sad for me – first, when I didn’t see any who felt like a good “fit” for our family and vice versa, and also to see how many new kids were in foster care each month, just in our area.”
“I was shocked and appalled at how centered the court was on [the birth mother's] needs at the expense of the girl’s needs. I wanted to minister to her but not at the detriment of the girls. There seemed to be no balance.“
“It feels like all the different departments don’t communicate with each. Your lawyer doesn’t have the information that your caseworker has, and your caseworker doesn’t have the information that your adoption worker has. This is why it’s very important to keep good records so that you are the one who has ALL of the information. Remember that you are only one of a very large caseload, and no one will care as much as you do.”
“The path that we started down was not the path we ended up on, yet where we ended was exactly where God wanted us! Most likely your adoption will not end up exactly as you envision it… but it will end up exactly as God intends if you stay in step with His leading. Also, the system is generally in place for the children… it might irritate you, invade your privacy, take longer than you think it should, but just remember the paperwork/invasions of privacy/lengthy waits… are in place to make sure that the outcome is best for the child.”
What if God closes the door on adoption?
This is hard, and I surely don’t want to give a flippant answer.
Every adoption story I’ve ever heard has it’s share of bumps in the road, some bigger than others: social workers being ill; lost paperwork; sudden changes in laws of the country they were adopting from. Things that range from little inconveniences to disrupted adoptions. Most adoptive parents agree that not everyone is called to adopt — but if you have felt that calling, then God has probably not closed the door. Perhaps He is sending you in an unexpected direction.
Remember, God’s timing is seldom our own, and sometimes His picture of things is different than ours. But I can promise you that His plans are far better (but perhaps much harder!) than anything you could dream.
One mom said, “Perhaps the journey is not going to look exactly like you thought it was going to look, but just allow God to direct you and He will see you through. We thought we were going to adopt a baby girl from China, and ended up adopting a boy with special needs from the foster system. God didn’t close the door; He simply redirected us to His perfect plan for our family.”
Tomorrow, please come back as we wrap this series up.
New to this series? Here’s what you’ve missed:
1 – 10 Days of Adoption: Introduction
2 – Why is Adoption So Important?
3 – If We Want to Adopt, Where Do We Begin?
4 – Common Types of Adoption
5 – Greatest Misconceptions About Adoption
6 – Can We Afford to Adopt?
7 – Special Needs Adoption: Could I Handle It?
8 – One Big Happy Family: Bonding in Adoption