Thanks for sharing in this journey with us. I'm not generally a "share everything with everyone" kind of person, but I've learned so much from reading others' adoption blogs that I had to pay it forward. Also, as a military family, we live far away from many of our family and friends, so this blog serves as a way to keep them posted on everything we'll forget to tell them about on the phone.
I can already see Chris rolling his eyes at the name of this blog. "Beth Anne", he'll say, "me being a jet pilot is not what defines us." "Yes, Chris," I'll rebuff, "but it does have a pretty big impact on many areas of our life. It dictates where we live, when you will be in or out of the country, your work schedule, and who (a lot of) our friends are. Plus also, "jetland" just represents the craziness that is our life. We've moved 5 times in the 4.5 years that we've been married, and now we're planning to adopt maybe, 5 or so kids? (And pause, so all the experienced adoptive parents can laugh at our lofty goals.) Ok, so we're taking this adoption thing one step at a time, one child at a time, but I'm pretty sure if the first one goes well, we'll keep going... and going... we just have a heart for these kids, and who are we to question what God gives us a passion about?
The decision: Ever since I spent 2 months at an orphanage in India at the age of 20, I've had a heart for orphans. I knew, at that point, that adoption would be a part of my life. I still think about the kids I left behind, and pray for them often. The one thing I realized is that every child is so incredibly precious, and every child deserves a family to love them unconditionally. (A lot of you reading this blog are much better people than me... you realized this without God having to drag you around the world to show you!) For Chris, the decision didn't happen overnight, he's just the most caring guy you could ever meet, and generally, if I feel passionately about something, so does he. Yes, I'm really, really lucky. So, last fall, we started talking about where our lives were headed and what was most important to us. Being parents came up, and we both decided we were ready for that. Then adoption came up, we both knew we wanted to adopt at some point, but we always thought we'd ease into parenting with a biological child, then look into adoption. Then all of a sudden, we were thinking, why not?! We know we want to adopt. We have more time, resources, and money right now to make this happen. So we prayed about it, both felt a peace, and moved forward.
The next decision was what type of adoption to pursue. There's domestic, intercountry, foster-to-adopt, embryo adoption... and a bunch of variations of each of those types of adoption. I immediately wanted to pursue intercountry adoption. Big surprise, considering all the children in India I remembered by name. It's just where my heart is. Chris initially leaned towards domestic adoption. He wanted a child as young as possible, and as an active-duty military family, it seemed like a slightly easier route (logistically) than inter-country. I discussed some of the reasons I felt strongly about intercountry adoption: It can be more difficult, logistically, so less families may be willing to go this route. If you look at the sheer number of orphans in the world, compared to the number of orphans in the U.S., it seemed like more people need to be signing up for intercountry adoption. The other strong opinion I had was this: A healthy infant in the U.S. will always get a home, while a toddler or older child in another country, especially one with a medical condition, may wait months, or years to get a home. I guess I just sort of felt like there was a greater need for intercountry adoption, but that doesn't at all mean we don't need lots of people to adopt domestically or foster-to-adopt, it really just goes back to where my heart was. Really, what we need, is for anyone who has a heart for adoption, to look into it, pursue it, or support these children however they can. After "pleading my case" so to speak, we both toook a week to pray about it. Much to my surprise, Chris came back and said he wanted to pursue intercountry adoption, and that he was open to medical conditions in a child as well. I was so incredibly happy! Usually, if I really feel strongly about something, I can communicate well enough to persuade Chris. He claims that it's completely unfair, because he has great points for his side, but just can't communicate them as well. Confession time: sometimes I even KNOW that Chris' side really should win, but I STILL talk him into agreeing with me. Terrible, I know. I'm working on it. In this case, I stayed silent. I knew that for such an important decision, it was God who needed to put us both on the same page, and no amount of smooth talking would work. God delivered, and we moved forward.
More to come. I could talk about adoption all day!