since i had been feeling led to adopt and i wanted to know more about it, i decided to go to an adoption conference in tennessee with several other couples on staff who are interested in adopting, have adopted or want to adopt. the conference had a lot of info on adoption for you personally and info on how to mobilize your church to care about adoption.
most of the main sessions taught about adoption in reference to the gospel. which were great! i am sure i will write another post about that, but where the Lord really revealed himself was in the breakouts. one of the breakouts i attended was called beginning your adoption journey. i learned all about different kinds of adoption (embryo, domestic, international and through foster care). as i read over all of the descriptions, foster care stuck out to me. i read this quote "Withing the foster care system, there are 135,000 children who are legally free for adoption." i kept rereading it. then the lady leading the breakout said that if you wanted to adopt older kids the foster care system is full of them, because typically, people want to adopt babies. my heart broke! i had felt the lord leading me to think about adopting an elementary school kid and now the thought of them being unwanted broke my heart. then she went on to say that if you adopt a child through the foster care system, it is free. the state pays for everything. i began freaking out inside. then before she moved on to the next type of adoption, she tagged on that this is a great type of adoption for single parents. excitement was building. i knew this was right and this was just the beginning...
another breakout i attended was a panel of people who spoke on foster care and adoption. my friend jamie and i snuck into this one. i had to hear more about adopting through the foster care system so i skipped out on the one i had signed up for. there were 4 people on this panel, but 2 really stuck out to me. on was a single guy who had adopted 3 boys out of foster care. he was sharing stories. i think the lord put him on that panel just to tell me, "see, it is possible." the other person that stuck out to me was a woman who had grown up in the foster care system. she was never eligible for adoption because her mom would not give up her parental rights. so this woman bounced from foster home to foster home until she was 18. 4 out of the 5 homes she was in, she was abused. she was pleading with us to get the word out to have christians either foster or adopt. her story broke my heart. i teared up as i tried to imagine how she must have felt growing up. then to top it off jamie turned to me and said, what does she do for thanksgiving? where does she go for holidays? she has no family.
i could not bear the thought of kids growing up like this that had the freedom to be adopted. kids that no one wanted. that no one loved. kids that had no one to call family. kids that will will never experience what it is like to be wanted and chosen. kids that do not have the opportunity to know christ's love.
as i flew home that night, i just felt the lord continuing to affirm what he had already told me. as i thought about this, i could not help but think about my adoption in christ. and i wept. i love crying on planes.
so, i am moving forward with this in faith. daily questions arise in my mind about all of this. and i just feel the lord saying, "trust me."