1. What led you to begin the adoption/foster care process?
After Regina and I had been married for several years, we really began gaining a heart for children and for orphans. After we had been thinking about adoption for some time, we began looking into different options. Initially, our heart and mind was to pursue international adoption, however, we found that we were too young to adopt from most foreign countries. Also, we discovered that there was a massive push to stop international adoption in general, mostly coming from an organization called UNICEF. Due to these factors, we eventually began entertaining the idea of domestic infant adoption. This too was met with some roadblocks.
While we were at a discipleship school in Colorado, in 2013, a girl approached us and mentioned that her friend from back home was 16 and pregnant, and alluded to the fact that we should pursue adopting her baby. At this point we were seriously beginning to be ready to actually step in and commit to adoption. For whatever reason, nothing came of this venture. The baby was adopted by somebody else, which is still fortunate. We also heard of another baby that was up for adoption, and began praying about possibly being her parents. Since we were not licensed or anything, there was no way to pursue this little baby girl that we had been praying about.
A month or so later, one Sunday morning, we listened to a bold message about "The Battle Over Adoption". Our hearts were deeply stirred like never before; we were praying about what this meant for us. The next day, we went to a foster/adoption information meeting at a church. The church was huge, with lots of rooms and hallways and stairs and such, but the room that the meeting took place in was tiny. There were only a handful of people at the meeting, there was no mention of God or the Gospel at all, and there was an overt negativity expressed in regards to the whole idea of international adoption.
At this point, we were invigorated more than ever, and ready to dive in. The next day, in the summer of 2013, we made the decision to pursue foster care, whatever that would look like. We would finish our year in Colorado, and begin the process of becoming licensed foster parents in the beginning of 2014. And that's what we did! And God has been so incredibly gracious and merciful to us in the entire process. We have had 4 children placed with us, and we have adopted three of those little ones as our own. God is good!
2. What is the greatest blessing from your experience?
One of the number one blessings for us is knowing that these are God's children, this God's work, and God's cause. It is a tremendous privilege to be these little one's Daddy and Mommy. We truly believe that this is life-changing, world-altering, history-shaping work! And God is in this work, and this is His heart. The entire Gospel is about adoption, and we are thrilled to be partners with God in this calling and work.
3. What are some of the challenging aspects?
Foster care specifically has its own challenges, aside from the general adoption difficulties. Having the state directing you, watching over your shoulder, and being so involved in your lives and home is difficult indeed. That would probably be on the top of our list of difficulties. There are other things too, such as children that have been neglected, where they need extra intentional love, affection, guidance, direction, and interaction.
4. How can the church support you?
One of the greatest ways our church has supported us is that they have openly and warmly welcomed and accepted our children. They have prayed for us, they brought us meals after we received new placements, brought gifts for the children, others committed to prayer on our behalf, some gave us gift cards, and when we consummated our adoptions, we had a courtroom full of friends celebrating with us. Prayer is definitely the most powerful support, acceptance is huge, and also speaking words of encouragement. Being able to have a place where we could share some of our struggles so that others could feel with us was important too.
5. What advice would you give others, who are interested in pursuing adoption or foster care?
Just take the next step. Remember that there is a battle raging, and children, namely orphans, are caught up in the middle of it. They are vulnerable. Raising children, doing foster-care, and adopting orphans is spiritual warfare. The enemy is seeking to steal, kill, and destroy, but Jesus is seeking to give these little ones abundant life. We are the hands and feet of Christ, so we need to be extending His abundant life to others. Surround yourself with a strong support system, and don't forget that it is not more holy or spiritual to do things "on your own". Accept the help that God gives through other people.