I was a second year student in Master’s Commission in Austin (Ministry Training School) when I was presented with the opportunity to serve at Royal Family Kid’s Camp (RFKC), which was being hosted by my home church (GTAustin). It was there that a fresh part of my soul came to life. After sitting through hours and hours of required training, I wondered what I had gotten myself into and then on the first day that campers arrived, I was presented with the answer: An unforgettable and truly treasured summer experience! Working with RFKC allowed me to make a positive impact on the lives of kids ages 7-11 in the foster care system who had been abused, abandoned and neglected. Spending time with those kids tugged on my heartstrings and caused me to pray hopeful prayers like I had never prayed before. After that first summer, I decided to volunteer another 2 years in a row. I wish I could’ve committed to more. Experiencing life with those beautifully broken kids for just a week each year ignited a burning passion in my heart that has never subsided. I knew from that period in my life, as a 20 year-old, I wanted to adopt.
The more I thought about it and prayed through it, I decided that I wanted to adopt a teenager. As a young adult, I’d always felt a strong connection to teenagers and the desire to mentor them and bring them hope, truth, and a positive voice that would help them discover who they were created to be. Knowing that most adoptive families choose to adopt babies, leaving teenagers to remain in foster care for the majority of their teenage life before aging out, the choice was simple. I will gladly take in all the drama, the boy/girlfriends, teenage heartbreak, student council, puberty, forgetfulness, hangovers, SAT prep, therapy appointments, school clubs, fundraisers, etc. with loving arms to give a special teenager a second chance at family. I will willingly care for them deeply on their best and worst days and do my best to help them become a successful, moral human being who can rise above hardship and pursue their own hopes and dreams with gusto.
I solidified in my heart and mind that even after I was married, my husband and I would adopt our first child because I wanted that child to know that we chose them first. Even after trying out dating sites, joining church small groups, attending various meet-ups with affinity groups, and even invested flirting with baristas and guys at the gym, I was still striking out in the dating department. As I grew older I found myself without the prospect of a boyfriend so I made a promise to myself that if I wasn’t married by the time I was in my 30s, I would move forward with the adoption process as a single mom. After I turned 30, I began moving forward with that decision. I confided in and dialogued a lot of the pros/cons with my therapist and accountability partners. I researched the different kinds of adoptions and read countless stories online. I attended a foster care/adoption orientation at a local adoption agency. I told my parents and certain family members about my decision. After that, I joined a monthly meet-up group for Single Mothers by Choice in Seattle that I meet with regularly. While most of them are pursuing single motherhood via IVF/IUI, there are some of them who are either currently foster parents or in the process to foster-to-adopt. It has been such a relief to share my fears, dreams, hiccups, and victories along the way with the amazing ladies in my SMC group!
While at home on vacation last month, I told the rest of my family members and friends that I met up with. I would like to say that everyone has been just as excited and encouraging as I had hoped, but that’s not my reality. I even had someone very close to me make a comment about what a shame it was that I would never get to be a “real mom.” Still, the beacon of hope has shone bright through many others who have responded with joyful encouragement and powerful prayers of blessings. And because of that, I’ve been able to stay focused on the positive aspects despite the harsher realities. I know this is an unpopular and rather abnormal route for someone like me to take, but I’ve never really been normal (and I’m totally okay with that) and I really do feel at peace with moving this process along. I have prayed about it, dialogued about it, researched it, and prayed even more. Despite the many discouraging “worst case scenarios” posed by some of those close to me that I’ve told about my decision, I cannot shake the belief that this is the best next thing for me. Many of those I’ve told are worried that this means that I’ll never get married or that I’m giving up on marriage. On the contrary, I believe that God is bigger than that and He will still be able to bring along the right person to parent this adopted child with me. But even if I don’t get to experience my dream of married life, I will be content in knowing that I am building a strong family in a powerful way.
So why write about this now? Why leave this here? Because tomorrow, I begin the next big step in this process. Tomorrow I will begin my state-required Caregiver Core Training. I will spend 24 hours preparing myself even more for the rest of this (up to) 2 year process that it will take to welcome a teenager to call my own into my home—who will know that they were chosen in love, prayed for and cared for despite the turmoil they’ve had to endure. I’m capturing this special glimpse into the future here now so that I can look back on this in years to come and thank God for allowing me to be a part of this process—for better or worse and everywhere in between. I want to always remember where this began and watch it unfold in all of its brut-iful glory. My dream and desire is to walk away from this process ready to embrace the most precious gift I could ever ask for—the gift of Motherhood.