I am so excited to tell you about 22month old Isaiah, our soon to be son!
What? You say. I thought you were adopting an older child? To which I reply – So did we!
From the beginning we knew that we wanted to adopt a “US Waiting Child” and if at all possible we wanted to adopt locally. A “Waiting Child” is one whose parental rights have been terminated and with no other possible family members to look after them. The vast majority of these children are 10-12 years old and for some strange reason most seem to be boys. So this is what we prepared ourselves for. We read books, watched DVDs, went to a conference, all with the picture in our minds that we were adopting an older child. We were told by numerous case workers that it is virtually impossible to adopt a child under the age of 5 from the waiting child program unless they have severe medical needs. We weren’t fussed. We knew this was the type of adoption we were to pursue so it didn’t make any difference to us that the child would be older.
The home study process seemed to take forever. We waited six months to get into MAPP class and then it was another full year and three case workers later before our home study was written and approved. The wait was difficult but we tried to remain positive and used the time to focus our efforts on the things that we could do – learning about older child adoption and parenting strategies for children who come with a history of abuse and neglect, as well as starting to volunteer at the local children’s home. When our home study finally was completed we were touched to see the case worker had written about our response to the difficulties encountered in the home study process, “At no time did they express frustration. Quite the opposite, they were cordial, cooperative, and easy to carry on a conversation with.” Little did I know this one line would turn out to be very important.
With an approved home study in hand I hurried to inquire on children. I searched the national database and scoured the web for local agencies. I inquired on more than 100 children and sent our home study with a cover letter and pictures to every agency I could think of. It was hard to keep my heart in check as I waited to learn whether or not we would be considered a possible match. We were sent child studies on about 10 children and a couple looked like real possibilities, but in the end each one fell through.
We went away for vacation to England and I welcomed the respite from the whole emotionally exhausting process. At the time we went away we were waiting on more information and updated paperwork for a 12 year old boy so that we could make a decision to pursue him or not. There was a lot consider and even if we decided to pursue adopting him it would be a long process and there would be no guarantees of success. We didn’t know what to do. The day before leaving England we received an e-mail asking if we would like to be considered for Isaiah. My heart melted when I opened the child study and saw those cheeks smiling back at me. We’d been asked if we would like to be considered for a toddler once before but weren’t the selected family. I fully understood that even if we did ask to be considered for Isaiah there would be several other families also interested. The case workers would review each family and then pick the family they believe would be best to parent the child. The last time we were one of five short listed families being considered and I was honestly relieved when we were rejected because it meant that I could focus again on older children.
But a strange thing happened in my heart as I read Isaiah’s child study. I desperately wanted him and it scared me. I wrote back to the social worker and explained we were returning home the next day and yes, please consider us. To my surprise they asked us to come to the office in Orlando so they could interview us. I was terrified at the interview and convinced I’d made a bad impression. How do you respond to questions like, “Is there anything not written in your home study that you would like to tell us about?” It was only five days ago that we learned Isaiah even existed and up to that point hadn’t given much thought at all to adopting a toddler. Don’t get me wrong, everyone was very kind to us. I was just too scared and jet lagged to relax. Towards the end of the meeting one of the social workers remarked, “I was very impressed that despite the difficulties in your home study process you didn’t complain and you went above and beyond reading books and preparing yourselves. I think that says a lot about your character.” And before we left she mentioned it again.
The next day I was in agony. We were told we would be contacted within two weeks for the decision. I was sick with nerves and couldn’t eat, how would I endure two weeks of this? Thankfully at 4pm that afternoon we got the call that we were selected. I blubbered and cried on the phone and thanked her profusely. I was at work and Ben was on his way over to my building when the call came in. I couldn’t wait to tell him!
Now what I want you to know is that the very thing we were most frustrated by – the lengthy home study process – was the very thing that commended us to the people who would decide the future of our family! Over that year long period it was hard to understand how God could have possibly been in charge of our circumstances. If He truly wanted us to adopt shouldn’t the process go smoothly? Shouldn’t we have some amazing and inspiring story to prove how God was working everything out for us? Had we made a wrong decision? It was difficult to know what to do other than put one foot in front of the other and carry on in hopes everything would work out.
Today, I am so thankful for that year long wait. Without it we wouldn’t have been matched with Isaiah. I am astounded that what I perceived to be working against us, was actually working for our good. The next step is to meet Isaiah which will be on Friday this week. By the way, Friday is our 10th anniversary. God’s just too good to us, right? We’ll have several visits before he moves in and after he’s settled and everyone is happy that he’s doing well we’ll go to court and make the adoption official. Isaiah will receive a new birth certificate that lists me and as his mom and Ben as his dad. In every legal aspect he will be ours, just as if he was born to us.
And the name Isaiah, well it’s perfect. I don’t know why or how his birth mother came up with this name, but I know she got it right. Isaiah means “God is salvation”. We smile, turn our eyes to heaven, and say - Amen!
But GOD’s not finished. He’s waiting around to be gracious to you.
He’s gathering strength to show mercy to you.
GOD takes the time to do everything right—everything.
Those who wait around for him are the lucky ones.
Isaiah 30:18 (The Message)