The Bittersweet Side of Adoption

Last week I wrote about the "Emotional Side of Adoption" we have been experiencing the last few weeks. As I said, it has been quite a road.  A road that we were traveling and maneuvering until we recently came upon a 'wall' called Bittersweet.

Throughout the whole process, bittersweet hadn't even occurred to me until it hit me - and in the effort of being honest, it hit me pretty hard.  I think our 'car' was lacking airbags because it hurt.

This weekend our power went out on Sunday and the roast we had in the oven didn't finish cooking properly.  We packed up shop and took the boys for a fall drive to the country side for lunch.  Little did I know, but this was uniquely designed plan to help me realize something.  

It soon occurred to us that this would be the last day like this for the 4 of us as we know it.  You see, these kids we are potentially adopting are moving into our house soon.  Don't get me wrong, we are very excited about what the new family will look like and the memories that will come with that.  But for years, it has been the 4 of us.  So many good times with the most amazing 3 people in my life.  Those simple memory making rides, experiences, moments of laughter and joy are becoming just that.  Memories

Kelly and I will be the first to tell you what blessed parents we are with these 2 boys.  We have enjoyed the last 8 years more than we ever thought we would.  But now that changes.  Bittersweet....very bittersweet.

Admittedly, the more I began to realize this, the more I broke down with sobbing multiple times.  This was then magnified by how amazingly the boys responded to me in those moments.  With love, concern and care - How beautiful they are.  This then lead to an array of thoughts and emotions in me.  I couldn't shake them.

  • As the "head' of my household, am I leading my family down a road that will affect myself, Kelly and the boys in a negative way?
  • Regret?  Are we doing the right thing?
  • We have opened an emotional, stress-inducing, money-pulling door that will change our life forever.  
  • What will the teen years look like?
  • and so on.  
As usual, a great moment of prayer with Kelly to close the evening helped right the ship.  Are we still emotional, yes?  Are we confident in God's calling, yes - however this ends up.  We stay the course and be parental examples in God's love, mercy, acceptance and redemption.  For our boys and any future world changers the God brings our way.  We will be obedient to that.  


The Emotional Side of Adoption

Emotions?  Thought I have felt them all; looks like I was wrong.

The last two months and few weeks especially have really brought out thought processes, strengths, worries and emotions that I have never really experienced before.  At various times for both Kelly and myself, we have been high and low on every end of the emotional spectrum.

‎"For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, 

I am the one who helps you.” Is. 41:13

You know how when you go through an amusement park, you get a map of all the rides and the park lay out?  Here is the best map I can give you of the variety of emotions we have been feeling.  Some our obvious and some just happen:

  • Excitement
    • For multiple children potentially coming
    • How this will make our family dynamic so different
    • The opportunity to influence children in the way God has called us to
  • Worry
    • Are we equipped to walk these children through hurts, abandonment, etc
    • What affect with this have on our boys
    • Clothes, Food, College Educations, etc AHH!!!
  • Confidence
    • In knowing we have been called to this
    • God wont give us anything we cant handle or that He hasn't equipped us for
    • Not only are Kelly and I a great team, but the boys both have very special gifts to bring to the table in this
  • Sadness
    • Our hearts break for the kids and the life they have experienced
    • Our hearts break for parents who are potentially losing their children
I could go on and on.  It has been a very strengthening time for my relationship with Kelly.  Every leans on certain things in life circumstances like this.  We both have leaned very heavily on God, scripture, others praying for us, books, blogs and support groups for those in the same situation.  If you find yourself in this situation, I highly suggest you find a compilation from the above and stay focused.  Maybe you have found something else that helps you?


The Call Came.....

Around the same time everything mentioned in my "Adoption? Remember That?" post happened, we were also influenced by our dear friend Erica who was championing adoption out of foster care around Grace.  So Kelly and I ended up going through Family Services in Erie, PA to explore training and opportunities to be a loving home for a child who for reasons beyond their control were in need of a loving home.

We attended training and eventually put together a profile and ended up on a list for case workers to pull from as they try to match children with appropriate families.  After some hits and misses, we received a call on vacation this July about a child........well actually more than one.  We were kind of blown away, excited, scared and prepared for anything at the same time.  We knew that there are no guarantees until the final day before adoption.  Kids could go back with their parents or a family member could pop up.

Well, its been an emotional road!  It's kind of hard to explain unless you are going through it.  To make a long story short, we have had weekly visits including overnights to slowly introduce the children to our home and family.  They have currently been with the most amazing foster family who have really helped them emotionally and grow in their physical abilities, etc.

A few weeks ago, a judge issued an order a move to fully begin the process of adoption.  Just out of the blue….. So, Kelly and I have been able to have the kids every weekend F-Sun.  We are excited, yet our hearts break for the parents.  Like I said, it is kind of a mixed bag of emotions.  We know God has a plan and whatever it is, the road will be less dragged out and these kids can get to some form of stability and begin a healing process.

Now this doesn’t come without the possibility of any glitches.  There is always a risk until the adoption is final and the last name of the changes. That could take 3 months to a year and a half.  But regardless they will be living with us and we can walk the road of transition, etc.

We are thanking God for this step so far and are asking for continued prayers for the following:

·         Transition – This can be tough, these little girls are dealing with confusion many of us have never experienced.  And for Eli and Owen becoming big brothers in a short time.  They have not had nine months to process a baby coming let alone multiple kids. 
·         The Parents – God loves them as much as their children they may be losing. 
·         That if this truly is God’s will, the timing of the rest of this will proceed quickly.  The major hurdle will be the parental rights.

Please join us in prayer - it will be gratefully appreciated.   


Adoption? Remember that?

My wife Kelly and I spent a lot of time and prayer in our early years of marriage thinking that adoption was for us.  This faded away naturally as we became expectant parents of our quiet and loving first son Eli.  2 years later, our second son Owen "kool-aid manned" his way into the world.

Sometimes in life it's kind of funny the way things happen.  Many of you have experienced the type of moment I am about to describe.  It's a moment that you remember like it happened 5 minutes ago.  Kelly and I (and the boys) were on our way to a family reunion one beautiful late fall day in November in Tennessee in 2010.  Often times when you travel, your conversation can go up and down roads of the past, present and future.  We slowly made our way back down the road of "remember the whole adoption thing".  As we traveled down the road (no pun intended) we began to realize the following:
  • We each still very much had the feeling that God was clearly calling us into caring for orphans.
  • We each felt like we were the only one feeling that way in our marriage and we each were avoiding the conversation with the other simply because we thought our spouse had moved on from that calling. 
Well, it was one of those light bulb moments.  In that car, we laughed, we cried, we talked about how God has uniquely designed our hearts and both of our boys in a unique way to open our home to His calling on our lives.  

Thus began a ride we have been on ever since...........


The Value of the Goal Check In

Ever make a goal and forget about it or slowly stop chasing after it?  That usually means one of 2 things:

1.  You never captured the goal in writing.
2.  You never communicated it to someone that could hold you accountable.

These are 2 obvious keys to measuring the success of a goal yet poorly practiced.  

This week I will begin checking in with the staff on the goals they set at the beginning of the ministry year separate from their team goals.  It is such an honor to check in with these God-gifted and talented people.  I have such affection for each of these hard working individuals and I love discussing their goals with them, especially when it is an area I have no gifting in.  I am humbled to help lead people who are more talented than me.  

This year we each have a goal in the following 4 areas:
  • One to represent a goal with the teams you work with.  Either how you are developing, progressing or leading them.
  • One to represent a goal among the staff and your relationships with them.
  • One to represent a goal with the specific ministry you lead.  This can include events, weekly initiatives, culture, etc
  • One to represent a goal with a leadership attribute you recognize needing your focus and attention