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National Adoption Month 2013

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Adoption.  The acceptance of responsibility to love, care for, and provide for someone who is of the age to be considered a child but who is not your own biological offspring. (definition my own)

When I think of adoption I think of it as a natural occurrence and one as old as the history of mankind.  We’ve certainly managed to “fine tune” the process through the years as laws came into the process.  Which, by the way, isn’t a bad thing. 

Adoptions occur every day in courtrooms and law offices all over the world.  It also occurs when one family or person takes in another and that is that, a new family member is added or a new family is made.  God adopts us as His children, so our adopting His children as our own makes for a wonderful follow through on the example of His love for us and our love for Him. 

It always saddens me to learn of an adoption where the child or children are unloved, where their basics needs are unmet, where they are abused and even worse, when the child dies at the hand of an adoptive parent.  Laws exist to prevent this type of unsuccessful adoption. 

Sadly, they don’t always work. Whenever you mix imperfect humans in anything there are going to be mistakes, deceptions, inabilities, good intentions with bad results and sometimes, plain ole’ evil to contend with.

November is National Adoption Month in the United States.  An entire month set aside to bring the subject of adoption to the forefront of people’s minds.  I’d like to help with doing that so I’ll be posting about adoption throughout this month.

Adoption is personal in our home.  My husband and I adopted our daughter, who is a biological relative, and so the courts made legal what our hearts had discovered long before.  All three of us are also God’s adopted children.  Our forever family has eternal roots.

Sharing adoption stories are important.  Besides sharing ours, I’d love to share your stories as well.  Please leave me a message/comment and we can work from there.

Meanwhile, adoption, it is a forever good thing!

–Faye

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Our Adoption Story – Part 2

Having secured Alicia* willingness to have her parental rights severed we had to focus on the biological father’s parental rights.   Finding him was impossible.  We would no sooner find him at one address than he’d move.  Letters to him in care of his mother never came back but received no response either.  Court ordered to pay child support he had the habit of working at one job until the Department of Children’s Services caught up with him and would garnish his wages for child support and then he’d quit, find another job or go without work.  Once we were able to find out where he was working and planned to drive up and meet him at his job but on the morning of our planned trip I called the company only to learn that Tim* had quit.  We were never able to find him again.  When the child support stopped we learned that after six months of no child support we could notify Tim of our intention to adopt his daughter by publishing an ad in the local paper in his hometown.

Six months passed, the ad was placed and neither he nor anyone in his family responded to it.  The court severed his parental rights.  Kiana was five by this time and in kindergarten.  Tim had never seen her, not once, not even when she was first-born and a paternity test was ordered to prove who her biological father was.  No one in his family had ever seen her.  Alicia had sent his mother a picture at Kiana’s first Christmas which was returned torn into multiple pieces.  His wife, who was unable to have children too, and he had once told the court they wanted custody of Kiana when Helen* still had custody.

However, upon arriving for court the first time and the judge not allowing Tim’s wife to speak for her husband, the second time they did not show up.  That was the end of any of Tim’s family even acknowledging Kiana’s existence or relationship to her biological father.  I believe the challenge was retaliation for Alicia having seen Tim, told him of her plans to enlist and telling him he “better not try to mess it up” for her during a visit back to Tennessee before boot camp, his wife’s anger that her husband (they weren’t married then) having a child with another woman and Alicia pushing for child support when Tim would quit a job.  Nonetheless that was the last any of us heard from Tim or his family.

At last on November 25, 2007 we were allowed to adopt Kiana and the two-year battle was over.  In the seven years she has been with us and since that one heart breaking visit to Dollywood, Kiana has refused to see Alicia or Helen.  Kiana has seen therapists during these years to help her cope with abandonment issues, her anger at Alicia and the emotional damage she’d suffered with Alicia and Helen.

Initially Kiana was so underweight when I gave her a bath or helped her change clothes I could count her ribs and she looked like she was only skin and bones.  She ate little and it wasn’t until during a play therapy session she told her therapist and me that we didn’t understand.  If she ate all the food on her plate then Alicia and Helen would go hungry.  Kiana had learned to starve herself believing that they would starve if she didn’t.  It wasn’t true.  Neither of them were anywhere near a weight nor suffering any health issues suggesting they went hungry.  In fact, one of Alicia’s obstacles to enlistment was her weight being too high and that was why she joined the Army, who would take her as she was, instead of the Air Force where she wanted to go.  Several heart wrenching truths came out during Kiana’s play therapy appointments, she had been left alone in an empty apartment, exposed to adult situations and led to believe she alone was responsible for Alicia or Helen’s happiness.  It was difficult to hear Kiana talk about these things during her therapy sessions but it was more difficult to know how she had suffered.

Kiana still wrestles with some issues around being adopted.  She still refuses to talk to Alicia or Helen nor will she barely acknowledge her half siblings (one boy, one girl).  She is treated for depression and anxiety, is far more comfortable with adults or young children than children of her own age.

Paul* and Alicia did marry but are now separated and filing for a divorce, after having two children together.  Helen spends her time between her apartment in Tennessee and with Alicia and her two grandchildren in Washington.

Kiana is very well bonded with her dad and me.  We have our family traditions which Kiana counts on.  She is not fond of being away from her home or us.  She no longer gets up in the night to check to be sure I am still here as she did the first few years.  Nor is rough housing her way of showing affection as it was when she first came to live with her permanently.

Kiana chose to call me Mama a couple months before Alicia left for the Army.  She had already asked me if I would take care of her for the rest of her life.  During one of the court sessions about her custody the judge asked me if I was willing to risk having my heart ripped out if Alicia or Tim should come forth and want Kiana.  There was no hesitation on my part as I answered, “Yes, I am.”  I knew this child needed me and there was no way I was going to not fulfill that need for her as long as it was up to me.  I knew the risks.  I accepted them.

God choose to fulfill my husband and my desire for children through a family adoption.  An unexpected but wonderful thing and a blessing I cannot begin to explain.  Kiana is our daughter and I hate it when people feel the need to stipulate that she is our adopted daughter.

I do wish Chris and I had understood adoption better before delving into adopting Kiana in that knowing the laws and more of the how to do this and that would have been valuable information.  That is one reason I advocate for adoption now.  There are so many children who need families.  Some of them may already be part of your extended family, as Kiana was for us.  Some of them may live next door or down the street.  Some of them in your city, county or state and some of them in another country, but they all have the same need regardless of where they are or where you are located, a safe and loving home.

Options for adopt are many.  Which will you choose to take to heart?

*Names changed to protect the privacy of those involved.

Our Adoption Story – Part 1

My husband and I had been married ten years when we finally accepted the fact that God did not intend to give us children the “natural” way.  We had suffered through our third miscarriage and the heartache for me was heavy and suffocating.  On top of this I had been through other health issues that made even trying to have another child ill-advised.

I had become one of those women who looked longingly at new-born babies in their parent’s arms and felt as if I was being stabbed in the heart by the site.  Toddlers who wobbled their way down the church aisle or said “Hi” to everyone they saw when they were encased in shopping carts being pushed along sometimes brought tears to my eyes.  I would mentally compare the ages of the children I saw with the children I never saw, the ones who died inside of me.  It was a process but I did reach a point of acceptance.

My husband and I did discuss adoption but we also did so with a lot of bad information in our minds.  We failed to actually look at adoption or contact an adoption agency or child protective services about fostering in hopes of adopting.  From the stories we’d heard about adoption people were going through agencies who arranged adoptions from countries overseas and the costs involved prevented us from trying.  So although we know better now, we didn’t then and we failed to educate ourselves properly.  However, God was working where we were not.

Christmas time 2005 and I agreed to sing one solo with our church choir.  It was a song I’d heard Whitney Houston sing in the movie, “The Preacher’s Wife”.  The morning of the performance as I stood to sing, the words enveloped me to the point it felt as if they were a physical thing.  “Mommies and Daddy’s, always believe, that their little angel is special indeed.  But of all of the wonderful things they could be, who would imagine a king?”  Of course the song refers to Mary and Joseph with Jesus but the miracle of Jesus birth was renewed in my heart.  As I sang, my hand rested on my stomach, right where a baby would grow, and I prayed from the innermost depths of my heart one more time that God would open my womb and allow me to have a child, allow me to be a mother.

That same Christmas my husband’s sister, her four-year old daughter and his mother moved in with us for the third time.  Our 16×80’ pre-manufactured home was full of people, but Alicia* my sister-in-law had enlisted in the Army and with my mother-in-law, Helen*, aging and beginning to experience more serious medical issues it made sense that she and Kiana would move in with us until Alicia got her orders and settled in one place following boot camp.  It took a little longer for Alicia to get all the pre-enlistment things in order than she’d planned.  One thing that slowed down her process was the custody issue of her daughter, a matter still unsettled when Alicia left for boot camp in April.

Kiana’s custody turned out to be a legal maze of red tape, greatly hampered by Alicia’s absence in court, her presence in boot camp and her not responding to court sent communications.  Another obstacle was the inability we had, or our attorney had, in being able to reach Kiana’s biological father.  A third was the lack of cooperation with the Department of Children’s Protective Services in Tennessee, who even refused to talk with the judge in our case.  Meanwhile we had undergone a home study through our Department of Human Resources in Alabama and were granted foster parent eligibility status.  This would have allowed us not only to have legal custody of Kiana but enroll her in Medicaid and receive other services from the state and DHR.  We elected not to apply for nor receive any of these services.  Kiana was our responsibility and we would provide for her.

By the time we’d finally settled the custody issue and my husband and I were her legal guardians the entire case changed.  Alicia called shortly after she’d completed boot camp from school in Texas and asked me if we’d adopt Kiana.  When I got home Helen asked me if Alicia had called and I told her yes, hesitating to tell her she’d asked us to adopt.  Helen hesitated to tell me her news too but we finally just said what needing saying and between us we had a better picture of what was going on.

Alicia was pregnant and the father was a fellow recruit from boot camp who was also with her at school.  They planned on getting married when school was over.  What I suspected to be part of the picture we were not seeing was that her fiancé’ wasn’t thrilled with the idea of raising Kiana.  It would be a few years before Alicia admitted that to me.

Meanwhile, Alicia’s second pregnancy was difficult, especially during the first trimester and the Army discharged her on a medical discharge.  She moved back to her hometown, living with different friends and planning a wedding as soon as Paul* was out of school and on leave.  Finally Helen moved back too and they moved in with Helen’s mother.  Paul joined them around Thanksgiving.

We went to visit and to secure Alicia’s signature on her giving up her parental rights so we could go ahead with adoption.  The whole visit was awkward.  Kiana sensed Paul didn’t like her and she wasn’t thrilled to see that a new baby was growing in her Mommy’s tummy.  During our trip to Dollywood Paul’s mood was dark and Alicia cried.   We split into two groups, Alicia going with Paul to the arcade where he wanted to go and the rest of us to do the rides and things in the Pigeon Forge located theme park.

At the end of the day, when dark had fallen, we prepared to leave and Kiana’s heart was broken.  She was really unhappy leaving her Mommy with Paul since Paul had made her cry, she was tired from being active all day, and she was torn between the Mommy she loved and the Mama and Daddy she also loved.  Even at four she recognized she felt safer with us, but Mommy was who she’d known her whole life and who seemed so unhappy without her.  None of us knew that this visit would be the last time we’d see Alicia and Helen for a very long time.

*Names changed to protect the privacy of those involved.

Who Am I? (A Guest Post Story by My Daughter)

This story was written by my daughter.  On her own initiative she decided to make her writing project for her 6th grade Language Arts a story about adoption.

She graciously agreed to allow me to post it on fvbf (Faith View by Faye) to help bring awareness to the need for adoptive parents.

The story of our adoption of her will be part of the overall focus of National Adoption Awareness Month during November 2012.

…FROM CHAPTER 3

When she picked it up she noticed it had pencil sized holes on the lid.  Could they be air holes?  Bella was confused.  She carefully untied the ribbon, lifted the lid and…

??????

CHAPTER 4

…a KITTEN!

“Awww…it’s just so adorable!” Bella squealed.  The kitten hopped out of the box and Bella could see it was a calico kitten.  Its ears were a light shade of orange, her nose was pink and twitchy, her eyes big and green.  Its paws were white and as was the underside of her body but the rest of her was varying shades of tan, and near orange.  The very tip of its tail was white too.

Bella thought the kitten looked like it was smiling.  “I’ll name you Butterscotch!”  Bella exclaimed.  “I think it is a perfect name for a calico kitten.”

Her new parents came into her room and asked, “Well?  Do you like her?”

“Oh yes!  Thank you!  I named her Butterscotch!”

“What a lovely name you’ve given your kitten Bella.” Bella’s mother, whose name was Sondra, said.

Bella looked up at her new parents and spoke her thoughts aloud.  “What should I name you?”

“You could call me Jason.”  Her new dad said.

“And I guess you can call me Sondra,” said her new mom, “We will work it out.”

“No, I think I will call you Mama and Daddy.” Bella said, petting Butterscotch who was nestled in her lap.  “I think Butterscotch is hungry, and so am I, may I give her half of my ham sandwich and some warm milk?”

“Of course,” her Dad said, “but we did buy Butterscotch some special kitten food.”

“Okay,” Bella answered.  “Which way to the kitchen?”  Her laughter rang out as Butterscotch gave her sandpapery kisses.

Three years later and Bella was seven years old now.  Butterscotch had given birth to one perfect kitten, that looked just like her mom, but Butterscotch died soon after.  Bella kept the new kitten and named her Buttercup.  She and her parents buried Butterscotch in the backyard the next day and had a funeral.

Joey

This is a true story.  I know the people who live these lives.  Only the names* have been changed for protection of their privacy.

Joey* is a success story for Alabama’s foster care system.  We often hear the stories of failure but there are successful and good stories of the system working, they just don’t get the spotlight as often as the times the system isn’t successful do.

Joey, at the age of eight had enough wisdom to know he didn’t want to grow up in a home where drugs and alcohol were more necessary than food, shelter and clothing. Joey didn’t want to never know who that man was in his house when he came home from or went to school. A lot was wrong in the home Joey was being raised in and Joey knew if he didn’t get out then he’d grow up to do what he saw his mom and older siblings doing; dealing and using drugs.  So Joey ran away to the Department of Human Services.  He then became a child placed in the state foster care system, as did his younger brothers, of which one had learning disabilities.

Even though he made the decision to leave his family, Joey was having a hard time letting go of the life he’d had for eight years.  He had an even harder time facing how his mother’s actions were saying she valued her drugs more than him or his younger brothers.  She certainly couldn’t give up drugs to get them back, so what else was he to think?  Until she did she couldn’t provide adequate housing or provisions for her youngest children.

It took DHR several foster home placements before DHR found him a home that fit Joey and his needs.  Carla and Jesse Carter* accepted Joey as he was and he felt their love for him in many ways.  He also knew he loved them too but it was hard to let the old life go. Having had to raise himself, living by his own rules, doing what he felt he had to in order to simply have enough to eat, these were the past realities for Joey and it was hard to let someone else take care of those things.  It was all he had ever known.   Plus, there was the hope nearly all foster children shelter in their hearts; the hope their parents will change.

Joey was a therapeutic foster child because of his emotional needs. He was on the verge of becoming a teenager now, at the age of 12, and he was changing in many ways. His behavior escalated and then his foster-father, Jesse, died after a battle with lung cancer from working in the coal mines. Joey’s acting out his unspoken inner feelings made him defiant, angry, sullen and obstinate.  He refused to obey the Carter’s house rules. He added much to Carla’s grief and refused all her attempts to help, love and support him. Carla had to admit she couldn’t handle Joey’s behavior on her own while she and her older children were mourning Jesse’s death too. She explained to Joey what the family was going through and told him they needed to work together to move on without Jesse.

Counseling, behavioral modification, respite services and Carla’s unending love didn’t help. Joey grew more out of control and violent in his anger. Her broken heart from her husband’s death now shattered feeling that she was unable to help Joey. Reluctantly and with much sorrow Carla called and asked the foster care agency to remove Joey.

He went through more foster care placements but Joey was out of control, his behavior ruled by his anger. He had many things to be angry about, Joey was angry his mother refused to change, not to get him or his siblings back, not if it required giving up drugs. He was angry Jesse died.  He was angry he had to change foster homes.  Everything and everybody was against him, in his mind.  Everything was a reason to be angry.  Finally Joey’s anger caused him to be so out of control that he found himself in an inpatient psychiatric facility.

Now forced to be quiet and still and however reluctantly, to take part in counseling and group therapy as well as to take medication, Joey had time to think.  Once more Joey’s wisdom managed to at last rule his emotions. He remembered Carla’s promise to him, when he was willing to change she would be waiting. Joey thought about why he left his mother’s house to begin with, not wanting to be the type person she and his older siblings were.  He realized his behavior, his choices were as destructive as his mother and older siblings and even without drugs he was headed down the wrong road. Joey begged someone to call Carla.

Carla came. Joey went back home, the only real home he’d ever had. He started trying at school and his grades came up, he was then allowed to play basketball by the school. He began to date and to work part-time jobs.

Joey, Carla and her two older adopted children became a solid family. The court wanted to sever Joey’s biological mother’s parental rights but every time his mother would seem to have stopped doing drugs and was willing to get her life together to get her kids back.  But every time she would not stay clean long enough for her kids to come back to her home.  It was a painful see-sawing experience for all involved.

Wanting very badly for Carla to adopt him so he could be her “legal” son was something Joey talked about with Carla regularly.  His heart only accepted the reality of that not happening when Carla told him, “Joey, you are my son.  In my heart, and in Jesse’s, you have been our son since the day you crossed the threshold into our home.  Now nothing can change the fact that biologically your mother is your mother.  Nothing can change that Daisy* is going to do what Daisy is going to do.  Everyone who matters knows you are my son.  Gene* and Alicia* know that when I pass away everything gets split three ways and it’s in my will that way.  Put your energy into your hopes and dreams for your future and I will always be here to cheer you on.”

That’s exactly what Joey did too.   He graduated high school with grades good enough to get into one of the best universities in the country. He started attending college, living on his own, through our agency’s independent living program and he worked part-time.  He soon discovered that though his basic needs were met it was a challenging lifestyle.  So Joey thought long and hard and after talking to Carla he enlisted in the Navy.

He spent time in Iraq, volunteering to go with a team of Marines and he went to Cuba to be a guard at the military prison there.  Joey managed to see many parts of the world while in the Navy and experience many different types of work.  When his enlistment was up he returned home, a new wife beside him, and resumed his college career.

Joey and Eileen* found marriage wasn’t  as simple as they thought.  Eileen was accustom to having plenty of money and Joey, working part-time and going to school full-time wasn’t making much money.  Eileen found the adjustments to life in the South from life in the North ones she felt she just couldn’t make.  So even though she was expecting their son she left Joey and moved back home to her parents.

Carlos* was born premature and has some medical struggles.  Eileen and Joey agreed they are better people when they are not together and that divorce is best for them. A failed marriage was not in Joey’s plans and he accepts his own role in the break-up of his and Eileen’s marriage but he is as much a part of Carlos’ life as he can be and financially Carlos is well taken care of now.

From a desperate eight year old little boy forced to take on his own survival to a member of a loving “permanent” foster family to the U.S. Navy to a college graduate to the owner of his own security business, Joey has proven that the foster care system can produce productive and honorable members of the world community.  Especially with those like Joey who learn that they do indeed control some of their lives with the decisions they make and who find foster parents like Jesse and Carla.  The Carter’s, especially Carla, were willing to work hard with the foster child who was struggling like Joey had been.

There should be successful foster home placements for all the kids like Joey.  If you’re considering adoption consider foster care as an option to find the child that is right for you.  There are many successful adoptions through the foster care system.  Can you and your family help a child like Joey?  Also, don’t overlook the older child or sibling groups that are in need of forever families too.

Adopting those Whose Hope is Fading

(This blog is based on what was on the Alabama Department of Human Resources official website and the blogger’s personal opinions on what is reported there.)

There are 106 children and/or sibling groups in the State of Alabama, over the age of 8 who need forever families.  Some of them are very close to aging out of the foster care system and this means they will most likely not have family support as they make their first steps into independent adulthood.  If I check back on the DHR website in a year, most of those faces will still be there, a few will be very blessed and be adopted (I pray), some will have aged out, but for the majority they will just move up in the progression of foster care and waiting.

There are many avenues to adoption in our country.  In the State of Alabama one of those avenues is through DHR.  How quickly an adoption can take place through DHR is going to be partly up to you as an adopting parent and your first decision is what age child are you willing to adopt.  Many people want to adopt babies or young toddlers.  I understand that, it is difficult when a child remembers their biological family/parent(s).  The older a child is often the more physical, emotional or mental scarring or damage is likely to have occurred, making their needs more intense.

There are some very big advantages to adopting an older child or children.  One is you can spend less time waiting for a child become ready to be adopted.  The process of a parents rights being terminated takes time, it can be a very long process.  Two, you are adopting a child or a sibling group, who statistically would most likely stay on a “waiting for adoption” list.  Three, you are reinforcing hope in the heart of children whose hope is fragile.  Four, you are being a huge part of the healing process for a child who has before known hurt, anger, neglect and a powerlessness from the people they’ve depended on for the opposite.

Advantages to adopting a child, or children, with special needs are special too.  In Alabama children are special needs must meet certain criteria:  they are generally in good health, over the age of 8, have a background of parental abuse, mental illness or mental retardation, children with various degrees of mental, physical or emotional problems, are members of sibling groups of 3 or more who need to be placed together.  Going through DHR to adopt means that DHR charges no fees for the adoption home study and that includes 30 hours of training, nor for the placement of the children in adoptive homes.  Expenses are generally limited to costs of criminal and medical histories on each household member.  Whether or not the adopting families are expected to pay court costs was not mentioned.

Personally I cannot and will not begin to tell you what anyone of these 106 children/sibling groups is feeling.  I can imagine though.  Can you?

Another Woman’s Child-Part 3

(From AWC-Part 2)  “However it came to be, they wouldn’t be seeking a solution in a doctor’s office this they both knew for sure.”

It had been spring when Sarah and Kevin received the news that infertility treatments were not an option for them when it came to having a child.  Sarah had held to a promise she was sure God had given her that she and Kevin would be parents, but not biologically.  They logically turned to the idea of adoption and had spent the summer and fall months researching adoption.  Before anything had become concrete in their minds though the Christmas holidays were fast approaching.

Sarah found it to be particularly difficult to sing the hymns and Christmas songs about a baby Jesus and His mother Mary.  In her heart she’d believed that this particular Christmas she would be carrying their child.  It hurt to put up the decorations when she’d had visions of doing so around a rounded tummy.  She tried to cling to the promise she had felt God had given her and she tried to not let Kevin know how dark her thoughts were becoming.  Doing so meant she spent a great deal of time praying.

She prayed as she shopped, as she decorated, as she wrapped gifts, as she cooked meals, laid awake at night, woke each morning and even as she showered.  “Please Lord; please help me keep the faith.”

Kevin too was praying.  He knew, though Sarah tried hard to hide it, how hard the holiday was for her.  It was hard for him too.

Both had been surprised at the number of adoption agencies, for-profit and not-for-profit ones.  Both had been stunned at the number of children in the United States who were waiting to be adopted.  Sarah and Kevin’s hearts wept for many of the children they read about on websites.  Sarah was repeatedly drawn to a sibling group of six whose parents had died in a house fire caused from their manufacturing crack cocaine in their homes’ basement.  The children ranged in age from 4 to 14 and as Sarah studied their photograph she saw the weariness in their eyes.

The oldest, a girl who was dressed much like a boy, had a defiant look on her face that chilled Sarah to the bone and made her wonder what that 14 year old was feeling.  As much as this sibling group called to them Sarah knew taking on six children at one time with such an age range and in a house that didn’t have room was not God’s will.  There was no point in getting the children’s hopes up knowing the local Department of Children’s Services would not approve them for six children.

Christmas was a week away and Kevin asked Sarah to sit with him by their tree one night after dinner.  He’d turned the tree lights on and lit the candles she’d placed around the room, turning off the overhead lights.  They sat on their sofa enjoying the quiet of the moment.  Kevin spoke first.

“I’ve really been praying a lot more about God leading us to the right child in the right way to adopt Sarah and I know you have too.”

She sighed, “Yes, but mostly I’ve been praying He’d help me keep my faith in Him and the promise He made me.”  She paused then continued, “And I have to admit there is one issue I can’t get beyond Kevin.”

“What?”  He was surprised.

“What if I can’t love another woman’s child Kevin?  No matter which child God brings into our lives?” Sarah confessed her fear.

“Sarah honey, you have a mother’s heart already.  Of course you can love another person’s child!  Where did this come from all of a sudden?”

“I was looking at that website with that sibling group of six on it and remembering what their caseworker said about how their parents died.  Kevin, their parents were dopers.  They used drugs and they made drugs to sell.  They endangered the lives of their children by starting that fire that killed them.  Why do you think the oldest has that hard look on her face?  What do you think those kids have seen?  Experienced?  It won’t be easy to love kids like that.”  The look on Sarah’s face was one of panic.

Kevin nodded slowly and interjected, “We haven’t even discussed adopting that sibling group seriously Sarah.  And they can’t help who their parents were or what their parents did, kids like them and others need forever families in more ways than we can begin to name.”

“Yes, I know,” Sarah said, tears rolling down her cheeks, “but Kevin there won’t be a bit of either of us in a child we adopt.  Not a bit of our blood or a bit of our flesh.  Biologically no child we adopt will ever be ours.”

“You’re right but we know a bunch of people who have been adopted and it makes no difference to their Father.”  Kevin smiled.

“Yes, but I’m not God…I’m not sure I can do this Kevin but I don’t see any other way we can become parents.”

“Let’s pray now Sarah, together.  God is going to open this door.  I just know it.” Kevin said, reaching for her hand.  Together they bowed their heads to pray.

Across town another group of people were praying too.  They were praying about how to help Kevin and Sarah.

Another Woman’s Child-Part 2

(From AWC-Part 1)  “…He knew she was praying.  He just didn’t know how her prayers were about to change their lives.”

(AWC-Part 2) Sarai was unable to bare children for Abram.  As Sarah read her story in Genesis she knew how Sarai must have felt.  Most women long to give birth to a child, a bit of their husband, a bit of themselves, a bit of their families all blended together into a whole new human being who would grow and develop their own personality, their own unique self.  Sarai must have felt a great deal of pressure for clearly she didn’t trust God to fulfill His promise to Abram through the birth of a biological child with herself; in fact, she blamed God for her barrenness.  In her human understanding, she had tried to help matters along a bit by insisting Abram take her maidservant and have a child with her which Sarai would raise as her own.  It was not an uncommon  practice in that day and time.

Only once Hagar became pregnant with Abram’s child Hagar began to despise Sarai and she complained to Abram who told her that Hagar was her servant to do with as she pleased.  Sarai mistreated Hagar to the point Hagar ran away.  Sarah, as she sat reading this story in her Bible, knew that would be her temptation if she and Kevin had decided to ask someone to carry their child for them.  For her, seeing another woman pregnant with Kevin’s baby would be painful and the fear that the woman would not follow through with any promises or contracts and made this avenue seem terribly risky and terribly wrong.  As Sarah read the rest of the account of Sarai who was renamed Sarah by God and Abram who was renamed Abraham and Isaac who was eventually born to them in their extreme old age she felt within her spirit God would not be giving Kevin and her such a miracle.

Not like Sarah and Abraham, Rebekah and Isaac, Rachel and Jacob, Hannah and Elkanah, or Elizabeth and Zechariah.  Sarah knew in her heart God was telling her there was a way for her and Kevin to have a family but it would not be by opening her womb.  She placed her hand on her flat stomach and it felt so empty, her heart felt hollow and she wasn’t sure she could bear the emptiness.   With a clarity that hurt so badly it felt as if actual knives were cutting up her insides Sarah remembered the miscarriages, three in all and she wept again for those precious babies she and Kevin would never know here on this side of eternity.

As she wept she felt God’s arms around her and she heard His voice assuring her He would make a way for her to be a mother, for Kevin to be a parent.  He would do so, not by means of medical technology but by a way that would bring Him glory and honor.  A way that would meet not just Sarah and Kevin’s needs but the needs of the children as well.

By the time Kevin had showered and dressed Sarah was downstairs cooking their breakfast.  When Kevin reached for her hand to say grace before they ate Sarah held on just a little longer, looked him in the eyes and he was startled to see her smile, that it wasn’t just a smile she plastered on her face to help him feel better but a smile coming from her heart, lighting up her face, shining from her eyes.   That and the words she said next actually caused his breath to catch.

“Kevin, God has promised me we will be parents.  He didn’t tell me how or when just that He was going to make a way.”  Sarah released his hand and her smile broke into giggles at the look on Kevin’s face, “Ah sweetheart, I’ve not gone around the bend, He is just asking us to have faith in Him.”

Kevin nodded and felt his own spirit relax within him.  He’d have to make this as serious a cause for prayer as Sarah, Kevin knew that, but he also knew God had nudged his heart yesterday when they had left the doctor’s office with Dr. Moran’s news weighing on them like the world’s troubles.  However it came to be, they wouldn’t be seeking a solution in a doctor’s office this they both knew for sure.

To be continued,,,,

This Child

Here is this one child, whose smile is rare and strained

This one child whose life is stolen by another’s drug abuse

This one child caught in a wasteland of broken promises

This one child, this child, the child so in need

This child whose hope is nearly gone…

This child needs a voice…this child needs a home.

There is this child, whose body is battered and worn

This one child whose life is a bloody canvas of hatred

This child who has felt blows and curses for existing

This one child, this child, the child so in need

This child whose hope is fading fast…

This child needs a voice…the child needs a home.

See there is this child, whose stomach twists in hunger

See there is this child who has never known fullness

See there is this child who has eaten the unimaginable

See there is one child, this child, this child so in need

See there is this child whose hope threatens flight…

See there is this child needing a voice…this child needs a home.

Hear the heart of this child, whose parents walked away

Hear the tears of this child whose life turned upside down

Hear the heart of this child who does not comprehend

Hear the silence of this child, this child, this child so in need

This child whose hope struggles on…

Hear the heart of this child be their voice…this child needs a home.

Here is this child, whose mother’s promises to “get right”

This child, this one child whose world centers on those promises

This child who loves their mother in spite of the pain

This child who is fostered in a financially struggling system

This child whose hope fights to live…

This child needs a voice…this child needs a home.

There is this child, whose newborn cries wake strangers

There is this child whose care is provided by underpaid foster parents

There is this child who melts the hearts of many

There is this child whose future depends on a 21-year-olds decisions

There is this child who knows not hope yet….

There is this child who needs a voice…this child needs a home.

See there is still this child, this one child “aging out of the system”

See there is still this child whose birthdays are a countdown

See there is still this child who too early understands

See there is still this child who is hard to place at eight

See there is still this child whose hope grows older with them

See there is still this child who needs a voice…this child needs a home.

Peer into the life of this child, this one who is part of three

Peer into the life of this child who wants only to be with brother and sister

Peer into the life of this child who tightly holds the others hands

Peer into the life of this child a hard to place sibling part

Peer into the life of this child whose faint hope is times three

Peer into the life of this child needing a voice…this child needing a home.

I am the voice of this one child, whose mother choose a man

I am the voice of this one child who was unwanted in a new marriage

I am the voice of this one child who cries bitterly for what she lost

I am the voice of this one child who calls me Mama

I am the voice of this child whose hope is being restored

I am the voice of this one child…who no longer needs a home.

Of these others, these other children who ache for families

Of these others, children with special needs and much understanding

Of these others, these other children who are blessings meant to thrive

Of these others, these other children who need voices

Of these other children who will be their voice

Of these others who will speak for them…who will be their home?

If those who  will be the voices of children who are often unheard

If those who will band together and say “I will be this child’s voice!”

If those who will open their hearts and open their homes

If those who will for just one of these children, then does for all

If those who will restore hope to one, thereby restoring hope for all

Then all the voices will be heard…then all will be home.

-dav 11/5/12

November – National Adoption Awareness Month

Bright shining faces

Beaming with smiles

Does anybody know Lord

The pain in their miles?

The miles they’ve walked

From this place to there

In need of a home

Somebody to care.

A parent to love them,

A place that is “home”

Does anybody see them

Will they find families before they are grown?

Each has a story

Each have a voice

Each has a need

We have a choice!

Do we see them?

Do we hear their voice?

Are we to meet their need?

Will we make them our choice?

-Faye 11-1-12

November is National Adoption Awareness Month and starting today this blog will be trying to bring more awareness for the need for adoptive families, specifically in Alabama but across America also.  I will feature a new story series, “Another Woman’s Child” beginning tomorrow as well as relaying stories of adopted children and their parents.

Wherever you live there are children who need permanent homes with a family who loves them.  The numbers in Alabama from 2011, according to the local CBS website tell us that there are 6300 children in the Alabama foster care system, 590 of them are available for adoption.  Of that 590, 300 will be adopted by the foster families they are currently living with, leaving 290 more children who need permanent homes.

Some of those 290 are children who are considered “hard to place” for one reason or the other.  Sibling groups are harder to place when the goal is to keep them together and they certainly deserve that to say the least.  Children with special needs, be that physical, mental or emotional special needs are harder to place.  Sadly, the older a child is in the system they too are harder to find a permanent home for…so many people will only consider babies or young toddlers while older kids continue to age out of the system.

In Alabama the contact information for being a foster parent or adoptive parent is families4allkids@dhr.alabama.gov.  There are several non-profit and some for profit agencies that work with DHR to place children in foster families, both regular foster care and therapeutic foster care.  One of those agencies, the oldest social services agency in Birmingham, Alabama is Gateway.  You can contact them about becoming a foster parent by calling 205-510-2600 or via their website at www.gway.org.

The Heart Gallery, a non-profit group that puts the spotlight on children awaiting adoption in the United States by providing photos of these children will kick off National Adoption Awareness Month in Alabama today at an event featuring live entertainment, success stories, inspiring speakers and of course a showing of the photographs of Alabama’s kids at the Alabama School of Fine Arts in honor of Governor and Mrs. Robert Bentley.  The event is being held in the Dorothy Jemison Day Theatre and for ticket or other information contact The Heart Gallery at www.HeartGalleryAlabama.com or calling 205-445-1293.