If you know anything about Bekah and me, you probably know that adoption is something that is near and dear to us. We are surrounded by a community of friends who have gone through the adopting experience - both foreign and domestic. Within our own home, two of our three rambunctious blessings came to us through this process.
Adoption is a funny thing.
From beginning to end, it is an emotional roller coaster - the highs of falling in love with a beautiful child plagued with the fear and doubt of wondering whether or not everything is going to work out. The pain of not knowing if you will be able to keep the child as a part of your family. Laughter, tears, anticipation, heartbreak. It is all a part of that journey.
One thing has stuck with me over the last couple of years. It is something that the judge told us at the hearing to finalize Zu's adoption. "There are no returns," he told us. "You are to love her and care for her as if she was born to you naturally, and hopefully she will care for you when you are old."
His crack elicited a few welcome chuckles, but it was his last statement that left the biggest impression with me.
He said, "When you are gone, she is entitled to whatever inheritance you leave behind just like any other natural child." *
She wasn't born to us, but the signature from the judge proved that it didn't matter. In a few short minutes, she was ours. And as far as the law was concerned, it was as if we were her natural parents.
Like I said, adoption is a funny thing.
Zu is our child. Our heritage has become her heritage. We gave her a new name and a new life. About a year later, we repeated the process with JJ. And through it all, Christian has soldiered on like a champion big brother.
And while the timing is unknown, we're not yet done with adoption. We want to do it one more time. Zu and JJ are both products of the foster care system. We may choose that route again, but we've frequently pondered the option of foreign adoption.
However, foreign adoptions are burdened with a few devastating challenges. Mainly: time and money. They are nearly prohibitively expensive, and the time it takes to jump through the legal hoops is cumbersome and discouraging - that is if those hoops don't sabotage the process at the last possible moment. Take in to account that the cost, the laws, and the work involved varies from nation to nation. Consider that the longer a child is in an orphanage, the greater the psychological trauma. The older the child is at the time of adoption (coupled with the quality of care in their home country) the greater risk you face for attachment disorders.
The system is broken. But what if it could be fixed? Watch. (ps, you might recognize the kid in this video as the boy who really wanted to sing along with Beyoncé's Single Ladies)
Here is the link to the petition mentioned above. Both Ends Burning
* In my own personal belief, adoption is the greatest analogy of how God's love works. That He accepts us into His family to share in His inheritance as if we were His all along. You might not agree with me or even understand, but this process has been a pivotal experience for me. The need in this world is too great to do nothing.