Looking Toward Adoption…

Posted: July 13, 2007 in adoption, charity, child, children, faith

My wife and I discussed the possibility of adopting a child about two to three years down the road.  We both feel like the Lord is leading us to open our home to a child in need.  So, having no experience in this kind of thing, we are interested in knowing more.

I am curious if any of you guys and gals (my readers) have any experience with the adoption system in the U.S. (specifically North Carolina). Please share your experiences, good or bad. Any advice you might have acquired- directly or indirectly. Also I would like to know more about the process of adoption: how long? how much paperwork? etc.

I am seeking advice because I don’t want to go into this with faulty assumptions. For example my wife and I after talking have this assumption that it would be easier to adopt a young girl. We agreed (based on pure conjecture) that a girl would acclimate better to our home and would be less likely to rebel as much as a boy. Not to mention that I worry about bringing a boy into our home with my natural born daughter in the house- I don’t want our charity to put her in danger.

I look forward to hearing what you have to say.

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Comments
  1. Although I have not adopted in NC or the US, I have been through 3 adoptions. I understand what you are saying about endangering your daughter. We adopted 2 boys older than our daughter two years ago. I would caution you about putting limitations on God based on your worries, however. I thought the exact same thing that you are thinking 2 years ago but God had a way of blowing my expectations right out the window. I would encourage you to try to be open to whatever God has for you.

    Regardless of what you do, I would also caution you about using the word ‘natural born’ daughter. If you do adopt, this kind of language could make the adopted child feel that an adopted child is not ‘natural.’ I would recommend using the word ‘biological.’

  2. krislinatin says:

    talk to cavman considers over at his blog, he is doing the same thing, but an out of country adoption, but maybe he has more info. for you. cavman.wordpress.com

  3. lifelemons says:

    Over at http://worldofwinks.wordpress.com/ her and her husband have recently adopted a baby boy. I believe they adopted from the state and they live in Alabama. She might be able to give you some insight on the ins and outs.

  4. Oh my God says:

    Don’t ever, ever adopt. Your comments about gender and adoption are horrific.

  5. “Don’t ever, ever adopt. Your comments about gender and adoption are horrific.”

    Thanks for your brief response. I am curious what you found “horrific” about my comments? As I stated they were only assumptions that I was hoping folks might either confirm or deny. So if my assumptions are wrong, please do leave a longer (more detailed) response. God bless.

  6. writeathome says:

    There is a lady on my blogroll who has an adopted child. You might want to check out her site.

    http://journeytomom.wordpress.com/

    I wish you and your wife all the best.

    Carol

  7. timbob says:

    Greetings. I’m not too familiar with the adoption process but will keep you in prayer and if I learn of anything will pass it to you.

    have a blessed day in Christ.

    timbob

  8. mommyzabs says:

    There are a ton of adoption blogs out there. I have 3 friends on my blogroll alone that are in the midst, but 2 of them are China and another is Africa….
    I would google adoption blog and see what you get.

    I do not think you are crazy on the gender thing as I have personally known a family that brought a young boy into their house who they found out later had been abused. He was abused from such a young age that he literally had no boundaries and they realized that after he abused one of their daughters. I know that this is not the common thing, but I understand your hesitance because it has happened.

  9. Lady Rose says:

    TT all I can say about adoption is – it is one of the most awesome, wonderful, loving experiences you can have. We adopted Angelgirl in 1996 from China. If you’d like the details feel free to contact me. We tried for several years to adopt, but all the U.S. sources turned out to be deadends and disappointment. The agency we used for our China adoption was very helpful, and after a LOT of paperwork you know you have the awesome pleasure of becoming a family. U.S. adoptions were risky and iffy and emotionally after a couple of years we decided it was going to be impossible (especially with 10 year waiting lists and the lingering risk of having a court revoke the adoption). Feel free to get in touch if you want to discuss details.

  10. Lady Rose says:

    Thoughts on gender issues and use of language.

    As far as gender – I think your preference for a girl are understandable. Though issues of abuse can also be a problem whether it’s a boy or girl. Note: China is only girls. I don’t think your preference is horrific at all – you have to take everything in to consideration.

    As far as language – I do agree that you will need to truly really deeply explore your heart and make any necessary changes to some things before bringing a child in to your home that is adopted. However any decent agency will offer classes for perspective parents – one thing most of us don’t realize is the power of our words, especially when we intend to be loving — for example what we do is always refer to ourselves as an adoptive family (just this simple change in speech is powerful and takes the “burden” off the child of being set apart or different)

    Also we continue to get together once or twice a year with our China group (we were 10 families that went together to get our girls) – keeping this connect has been great for all of us, and for the girls they know they are not alone or different.

  11. Thanks Rose, I will probably drop you an e-mail sometime soon.

  12. snowjunkie says:

    I’m pretty sure Los over at Ragamuffin Soul has just adopted a child also.

    Didn’t know you were based in NC. I’m just back from there the other day… still suffering a bit of jet lag.

    All the best in your new adventure! Ignore the comment from “Oh my god” earlier! You didn’t say anything wrong.

  13. iBastard says:

    You don’t know much about girls or adoptees. But that won’t stop you, will it? It never does.

  14. Well IB*****d, I am raising a rather wonderful daughter currently. I also have two younger sisters. I hope that clears up any confusion. God bless.

  15. Neil says:

    I was adopted but it has been a while, of course, so I’m not sure if I have much to offer other than prayers for discernment and a smooth process.

    I am generally against open adoptions. Everyone has different views but I think it would have messed me up to see two different “moms.”

  16. Ibastard, saw your blog: you’ve clearly found your niche in the Grievance Culture. Way to go, champ! But you’ve barfed up your insecurity and bitterness onto a genuinely good, honest man, and you are so wrong for that. Many adopted children come into their new families miraculously whole, but many do not. TotalT is being responsible by thinking through the implications of such a huge decision, which would include the risks as well as the benefits. If you gave him a chance, he would graciously welcome your input. Instead, you just take cheap shots in a blog drive-by. Weak, weak, weak.

    TotalT, anyone would be incredibly lucky to have you as a dad–biologically or through adoption. Don’t sweat perpetual malcontents who can’t imagine that good motives exist in anyone.

  17. Margie says:

    I’m the adoptive mom of two children, both Korean and both now teens. Our eldest is our son, who will be heading to college in the fall. Our daughter is two years younger.

    The only advice I can offer is this. It’s clear you love your daughter very much, and that the commenters here who know you respect you as a father. Any child you might adopt will need the very same love – not love tempered by charity or clouded by fear. He or she will also need you to honor his or her past, respect his or her individuality, and weave it into your family.

    Of all the things I’ve learned from being my children’s mom, these are at the top of the list.

  18. Neil says:

    “You don’t know much about girls or adoptees. But that won’t stop you, will it? It never does.”

    Uh, if you re-read the original post you’ll see that he was humbly asking for information on an important topic. So I think that puts him in the category of knowing something about the topic but wanting to know more. So why is that a bad thing?

  19. “Any child you might adopt will need the very same love – not love tempered by charity or clouded by fear. He or she will also need you to honor his or her past, respect his or her individuality, and weave it into your family.”

    I look forward to that opportunity. We just have so much to offer, and so much we want to share.

    Thanks for commenting.

  20. silverneurotic says:

    I was adopted as was my sister, both as newborns. If you go the route of a newborn, I recommend letting the child know from day one that they were adopted, but that you and your wife love her just as much as if she was your own flesh and blood. My parents did that, and I have never really felt any different from my younger siblings who are my parents biological children.

    It’s a long hard process, both emotionally and financially. Sometimes adoptions fall through. Sometimes they end up being very very expensive with legal fees and agency fees. You didn’t mention that, so I thought I would…

    As far as girls and boys…personally, boys seem generally easier to raise than girls but that’s just based on what I have seen comparing my sisters (and myself) to my brother. Then again, if you go for an older child…their past history will play apart. Make sure you know their past history, it will help down the road.

  21. iBastard says:

    “Ibastard, saw your blog”

    But obviously you missed the point. I guess that’s the danger of mixing comedy and serious commentary in the same blog. Anyhow, adopting for “charity” is a very questionable practice. How would you like to grow up as somebody’s charity case?

    “But you’ve barfed up your insecurity and bitterness”

    Oh, that’s lovely. You’re the champ, here.

  22. imtina says:

    Yeah. Ok…where to start?

    I’m an adult adoptee and a newly adoptive mom. My suggestion would be for you to read, read and then read some more. I know I don’t know you and perhaps you’ve checked out a book or two, but it’s the phrase “charity” that really puts the sting into your post. For those of us who are adoptees, what we hear when we read “charity” is “Our child who is a poor little thing who needed a good home because God knows who was his/her mother. We are saints and we are opening up ourselves to someone who may abuse our biological child who we love more.” Sorry, but that’s what all of these reactions are about. If you are adopting and have been through a homestudy, all I can say is that your agency hasn’t done a good job of letting you know what adoption should really be about. Your question as to whether or not a boy would end up abusing your daughter is really out of left field since in adoption, the familial bonds would make your adoptive son want to abuse or assault your daughter as much as you would want to do that to *your* sister. Yeah, being adopted is different than growing up not adopted. But here’s a few things it DOESN’T mean…

    Being Adopted doesn’t mean that:(or should I say should NEVER mean that:)
    -you are charity
    -you should be grateful to your adoptive parents (Why adopt a child and then burden them with that?)
    -your parents are going to watch over you to make sure you don’t hurt your sister
    -you shouldn’t be loved any less fiercely and joyfully than your biological children
    -your issues of being adopted and feelings of identity confusion and loss are swept under the rug

    And you should NEVER, EVER adopt if you cannot:
    -be humble
    -recognize that your child has suffered some losses that may or may not be vocalized by him/her in ways that you understand.
    -be willing to parent a child whose personality is quite different than your own or your daughter’s
    -let that child be who he was meant to be. (Meaning, getting out of your own head and seeing your kid for his/her natural tendencies and personality traits, even if this feels threatening to you. No, not physically threatening…I mean psychologically challenging)

    Please, I’m begging you. Don’t adopt until you do a whole lot more homework. Please read:

    20 Things Adopted Kids Wish their Adoptive Parents Knew

    Also, some cool adoptive parent blogs:

    http://seriouslyjustme.blogspot.com/

    http://thirdmom.blogspot.com/

    http://justenjoyhim.wordpress.com/

    I suppose I could go on and on. Please don’t fall under the great palace lie that since you feel called to adopt, that that is all you need. Lots of love and a calling aren’t enough to erase the feeling of otherness your child will feel if you utter the word ‘charity’ even once. I implore you to look deep into yourself (put aside emotion, God, cultural pressure and popular opinion on adoption) and think about what you will truly feel for a child you adopt. Will you be constantly suspicious if perhaps you do end up with a boy? (One response above said that China is only boys, but that is not 100% true. More and more boys are being referred and with China you don’t really have an option to defer your referral) If you feel that adoption is charity, then how will that make you feel about that child vs. your biological child? If the adoption doesn’t work out to your own satisfaction, would you disrupt the adoption? It’s a lot to consider. Believe me…I KNOW. I’m an adoptee. I’m 18 years in reunion. I have issues with being adopted that have affected me my whole life. But, it took a lot of support and work on my part to work through it all. It’s ok to adopt a child who truly has no home or hope for his/her future. Just don’t impose all of your misplaced worried onto your child. If you cannot stop that, then honestly, I believe you should not adopt.

    Tina

  23. imtina says:

    Oh, also…”natural born child” isn’t a phrase that your adopted kid is going to feel good about. (To say the least) Getting a handle on some of the hot spots in terms of language in adoption will help you a lot, especially if you are going to be writing and blogging and talking about adoption.

    Tina

  24. Hi –good for you!!! I think adoption is a wonderful thing. We adopted a girl from Thailand 2 years ago (fyi: we used an agency in Kansas, we lived in NJ when we started the process and Ireland when we completed the process). We have 2 biological sons. We chose a girl because like you we felt that perhaps the integration would be easier but of course I realize now this just depends on the child and your family. So far so good for us. Anyhow if you want to email me with with specific questions please do. I think the bonding is something that takes time and that you should read up on before you bring your new child home. From my expericence we were put through the ringer to get our daughter and then when we got her we were just handed her with no support.

  25. “If you are adopting and have been through a homestudy, all I can say is that your agency hasn’t done a good job of letting you know what adoption should really be about.”

    We are just starting our journey into adoption. We haven’t even contacted a homestudy yet. That was the reason for the prior post- to hear what others thought and get advice.

    “Your question as to whether or not a boy would end up abusing your daughter is really out of left field since in adoption, the familial bonds would make your adoptive son want to abuse or assault your daughter as much as you would want to do that to *your* sister.”

    The reason I had some apprehension about this is because we aren’t adopting a baby. We will most likely be adopting an older child (8-14 years of age) currently in foster care. Even the limited literature we have read states up front that most of these children have dealt with serious issues of abuse (physical and/or sexual), neglect, and disabilities.

    In addition, I grew up knowing children in foster care. One of my best friends parent’s lived with four foster children (2 boys, 2 girls).

    These things cause me some worry that with that kind of past a male child *might* (notice I emphasize might) be more likely take out some of these issues on my daughter.

  26. lifelemons says:

    Holy smokes! You are really taking a lot of crap for this post! I think that it is a great idea you want to adopt! I think everyone has missed the point that you are just giving this thought and you know you need to do your homework and gather information! Why are all the commentors being so sensitive? It is very un-warranted!

  27. Emily says:

    I don’t know how it works where you live but here in the UK children who have been sexually abused are not placed in homes with younger children. I know this as I am looking into fosting / adoption at the moment and have a young daughter. If there is a chance a child may ‘harm’ a younger one, it is stated that they must be the youngest in the family. I am looking to long-term foster/adopt two older children (siblings). I think if you have concerns about this, it’s something you should discuss with your agency when the times comes. As for the gender issue, I really believe it depends on the match between the child/ren and the family, not whether they are a boy or a girl.

  28. Thanks for your comments Emily. What you say makes a lot of sense and may indeed be the case here as well. I wish you the best in pursuing your opportunities to foster or adopt a child. BTW how are you going about preparing your daughter? I think my daughter will be unbelievably happy about the idea (once she is old enough to grasp it).

  29. TotalT, anyone would be incredibly lucky to have you as a dad–biologically or through adoption. Don’t sweat perpetual malcontents who can’t imagine that good motives exist in anyone.

    I can only agree with this. TT, you’re like an older brother. If there is too much love in your family for the three of you, by all means, go ahead and adopt. 🙂 There are too many children who need loving parents, and so very few of them have such an opportunity.

    I’ve been beyond lucky: my parents and stepparents are amazing. While it is very clear that I am not biologically their child, it does not stop them from loving me as their own. Unfortunately, when you say “stepmom,” “stepdad,” or “stepdaughter,” our language presumes a distance and a lack of love. The same happens with other phrases. It does not mean that it is true.

  30. imtina says:

    Emily,
    That is a really good law you have in the UK. It makes sense.

    I’m sorry that I originally missed that you hadn’t yet started your adoption and that you were interested in an older child. My response was meant to be helpful and I hope that you could see that, especially in giving you some resources like the book title and the blogs. It’s just that there are age-old beliefs regarding those who are not involved in adoption that are not helpful to those who live with adoption. I think adoptees are naturally ‘sensitive’ to what people say. That’s what is generating the strong responses.

    I sincerely hope that you do adopt an older child and that you do so armed with all the information that you need to do so.

    Tina

  31. journeytomom says:

    Wow, so I guess you’ve notice by now that adoption is a rather emotionally charged subject. People who have never found your blog before suddenly have a whole lot to comment when you mention the word. I know I’ve learned tons about adoption in the past year after blogging about it that I didnt’ know when we went through the process. Feel free to check out my blogroll, I have links to some wonderful blogs of adoptees, first-moms and adoptive moms (some have already been recommended by others here). Let me just say that you’ve taken a good first step in just inquiring. I’m impressed with your desire to learn about the ins and outs before you dive in. As a couple of others have said, read, read, read. You’ll find different views on the subject, but I think it’s good to know about them, whether or not you agree. I also have a couple of posts on ethics you might want to check out. I wish you & your wife the best and look forward to reading about the journey along the way.
    Melissa

  32. Emily says:

    totaltransformation, in response to your question:

    ‘BTW how are you going about preparing your daughter? I think my daughter will be unbelievably happy about the idea (once she is old enough to grasp it).’

    My daughter is only 13 months so it would be difficult to prepare her in the same way you would with an older child. However, she absolutely loves older kids. We go to lots of groups and see friends who have older children so she’s used to being around and socialising with other children. I’m a single mum, she’s an only child, and I’m with her full time. I don’t doubt that it will be a bit difficult for her at first, but I truely believe it will be a wonderful thing for all of us.

  33. Emily says:

    I’m keeping a blog journal of my process to becoming a foster carer, I thought you might find it helpful…

  34. Petunia says:

    I haven’t read any of the replies because I can only imagine what they are. I think I know what you are trying to say but I think it is also out of ignorance about the adoption system. I am assuming by questioning bringing in a boy with your “natural born” daughter you think that adopting from the foster care system could be dangerous. I assure you most of the kids in foster care are good kids that need a family that are going to love then for who they are and where they have come from – wherever and whatever that is. You need to read as many books about adoption as you can, talk to other adopted parents/foster parents before you EVER make the decision to adopt. It must be for the right reasons and you must be willing to accept that child as yours – %100. I don’t think either one of you are ready at this point to do that….
    To an outsider your post seems a bit harsh but I’m trying to give you the benefit of the doubt.

  35. “I don’t think either one of you are ready at this point to do that…”

    That is a rather big judgment to make based on three paragraphs.

    I hope this link to a later post will clear up any other questions you might have.

    https://totaltransformation.wordpress.com/2007/07/16/clearing-up-misconceptions-on-our-adoption-plans/

  36. petunia says:

    I’m sorry – I didn’t mean that to sound harsh. for someone who does not know you…this statement sounds like you are not ready at this point to adopt.
    “I don’t want to go into this with faulty assumptions. For example my wife and I after talking have this assumption that it would be easier to adopt a young girl. We agreed (based on pure conjecture) that a girl would acclimate better to our home and would be less likely to rebel as much as a boy. Not to mention that I worry about bringing a boy into our home with my natural born daughter in the house- I don’t want our charity to put her in danger.”

    That is why I suggested talking to more people, getting a lot of information and getting yourself informed about the whole thing. You had said you have “no experience in this sort of thing”. It does take some research, preparation, praying, knowing exactly what adoption is all about.
    I would suggest staying OFF most adoptee sites – many of them are anti-adoption and can be very angry and mean about it.

  37. iBastard says:

    By “anti-adoption” petunia means critical of adoption as it is currently practiced, being willing to discuss the negative aspects of adoption, and being open to the pain that many adoptees feel without telling them they should shut up and be grateful. Just FYI. Otherwise, I think she makes some pretty good points.

  38. Petunia: “this statement sounds like you are not ready at this point to adopt.”

    Of course not, we just thought of pursuing this option two weeks ago. And the timeline for our potential adoptiong is far down the road, as I stated above

    “My wife and I discussed the possibility of adopting a child about two to three years down the road.”

    Petunia: “That is why I suggested talking to more people, getting a lot of information and getting yourself informed about the whole thing”

    Hence the reason for this post.

    “So, having no experience in this kind of thing, we are interested in knowing more.

    I am curious if any of you guys and gals (my readers) have any experience with the adoption system in the U.S. (specifically North Carolina).”

    I wanted to see who in this blog world that cruises through my site regularly or via tag had any info that might be helpful- especially personal experiences. We have already checked out a ton of books and mined the resource of those few people we know who are either adoptees or adoptive parents. I figured I would find a lot more of both folks online.

    Thanks again for your thoughtful comments. Please swing by again sometime soon.

  39. Petunia says:

    Ibastard is not correct. BY Anti-adoption I am talking about people who believe to be experts because they are angry about adoption and think everyone else should be. There are a number of blogs taht call for adoption to be stopped or, at the least, only international. There are 5-10 million adoptees in the US and a small percentage that blog about being unhappy – that does not mean we are all unhappy and it does not mean there are not some who are angry about their situation. There are a lot of angry adoptees that are just plain mean to anyone who wants to adopt….and especially if you want a semi-open adoption as opposed to completely open.

  40. […] home and hearts to a child or children presently in the North Carolina foster care system.  [The initial post about adoption, clearing up misconceptions, and also how God has blessed us since].  We are now only two classes […]

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