After we had our 4th baby, we made the decision to not have more children. Although the choice was difficult, we felt it was the best for us at the time. Over the years, I have occasionally regretted the permanency of our decision, but when I look at the entire picture, I still feel like we did the right thing. However, the desire planted in my heart when I was a little girl, the longing for a large family, has never left.
For more than 10 years, Tom and I have discussed the idea of adopting children. One of us would bring it up in conversation, but the other would object. Several months would pass, and the person who had objected would raise the topic again, but the other one would nix it. This went on for about 6 years, until finally in the summer of 2004, we agreed to go ahead and actually check into what steps we needed to take to adopt. I called our local adoption social worker, she answered some of my questions, sent me some information in the mail, and we decided to at least take the initial classes required.
Then, my world fell apart - literally. I was involved in a major car accident 3 weeks prior to starting the classes. Tom made the executive decision that we would not be taking classes, adopting, or doing much of anything except making sure I healed properly. Over the next 2 years, I slowly recovered to the point where we could begin thinking about other interests again.
The tugging on my heart that I'd felt for years was still there, and after making a few phone calls, we were able to get scheduled for the pre-service classes. We discussed our thoughts with our kids, and other than the inevitable "Would I have to share a bedroom?" questions, they were all open to the idea. It took some creative wrangling of Tom's work schedule, but we finished the 6-weekend course and received our certificate. Our first step was complete, and now the paper work started!
Fire inspection - fire chief missed the first appointment, finally showed up and did his part - Check
Medical exam - doctor said "Yep, you're healthy. How many kids do you plan to adopt?" - Check
Reference letters - friends must have been nice when they wrote about us - Check
Financial statement - ha! Check
Interviews with social worker - Me, Tom, Me and Tom, Me and Tom again, and again, and again, Me, Tom, kids - Check
Home visit for safety inspection - apparently a little clutter and some paint splotches on a bedroom carpet don't take off points - Check
Background check - We aren't criminals?! - Check
Fingerprints - Still aren't criminals - Check
Interviews - more of the same - Check
Interspersed in between all this activity were numerous phone calls, garage sale hunts for beds, dressers, car seats, and cribs, answers to rude questions by not-so-friendly friends and relatives about why we would do this, answers to how's-it-going questions by kind friends and relatives who know we've wanted to do this for years...
On June 27, 2007, we were issued a foster-to-adopt license. No one delivered a child with it. Nothing changed at our house. We didn't start putting more plates on the table at dinner. We didn't suddenly need an extended passenger van. Nothing changed. But it could.
For 10 years, the longing in my heart for more children has not subsided. It has steadily grown stronger. It began as a small seed when I was a child. It grew while I was in college teaching Bible lessons to inner-city children in Cincinnati and babysitting wealthy people's children, people too self-absorbed to love their own children more than their own need to rub elbows with the elite. Now I'm faced with the possibility, the blessing, the opportunity of loving, for a lifetime, a child not born to me, and it scares me.
We believe God will answer our prayer. We trust that He will place the child He knows we need, and who needs us, in our home at just the right time. We wait.