I was working from home and it was about 1 in the morning when my phone rang. My husband was up way too late playing video games in the other room. I looked at the phone and didn’t recognize the number, but it would be a call that would change our lives forever. It was a call to let us know to come pick up our daughter. However, up until this point, we had only had a brief moment where we thought we would adopt before other plans were made. Yet, the phone call was one of desperation asking us to travel to meet our daughter who had just been born.
We had always planned to adopt. However, this plan was in the way that people make plans to adopt or say they are going to adopt and don’t really know that they will in the future. Saying you’re going to adopt sounds nice and possible early on. However, you get into a space where life happens and finances happen and then adoption just seems so far-fetched. Adoption is certainly the right thing to do and a great thing to do. It is a blessing in ways you cannot imagine. However, it just seems impossible on the outside looking in many times. Therefore, my husband and I had always planned to adopt, but in our heart of hearts did not know if it would ever happen. We did not really look into it much. We just always said things like, “When things settle down or when our finances get in order, we will adopt.” We are in our 10th year of marriage and after having adopted two children, there is still nowhere on the horizon a possibility of things settling down or our finances getting in order. Yet somehow, we have adopted twice.
I try not to get into my children’s adoption stories much because those are their stories to tell. There’s a lot to be said about protecting their adoption stories. However, I am happy to share our story and how we came to know we were ready to adopt. In our case, life told us we were ready to adopt. We did not know it at the time, but we knew confidently that there was more room in our heart and our home for children. As it was always the plan to adopt, when we were asked to adopt, we said yes with no hesitation. It wasn’t until the next day that we thought to ourselves, “We have no idea how this whole process works or what we should do.” It was definitely a learning curve with a lot of ups and downs. This is why they call it an “adoption journey” and not just an “adoption trip.”
We knew we wanted to adopt because we both came from homes where either our parents or life taught us the value of having a stable home. We both came from situations that taught us to be grateful when we had an adult in our life who cared. We also knew we wanted to adopt because we both had a heart for children and teenagers. For all of my life, I really felt like I would have three children. Now we have five and I hope to soon do foster care. I would have 20 kids if time, money, and attention allowed it. For us, these children bring more to our lives than we could ever bring to theirs. To mentor and to serve these young children is a huge blessing. It’s hard to see that until you’re in it. Of course, there are days that are just hectic. There are days where we ask ourselves, what have we gotten ourselves into? Someone once described it as eating too much cake. You love cake. It’s wonderful. You would love to have as much cake as possible. However, you get to your 10th piece of cake and realize that you overdid it and are now going to pay for it. Some days are easier than others, but those kids mean the whole world to us every single day.
When we were asked to adopt, we were not at an unhealthy place financially, but we were by no means rich. In fact, we were likely considered lower-middle class. However, we had enough credit and enough stability each month to be able to take on a loan for both adoptions. The second time we adopted, it took a little bit more time to decide whether or not we could swing it financially. However, when there became no question in our minds that we needed to adopt again, we found a way. There are so many ways to find finances to adopt. Finances may stop you if you are in a lot of debt or struggling month-to-month. However, it is a myth that you need to be rich to adopt.
When we were asked to adopt the first time, we had a 14-year-old, 3-year-old, and an 18-month-old. I did not imagine adding more children yet, but adoption is one of those things that you really can’t gauge time-wise. In our case, adoption sort of happened to us. However, in most cases where people plan adoption, they really don’t have an idea when they might match, when a child might be born, or when a child might be placed with them. There is a little bit of preparation you can allow for, but it is still a waiting or lack of waiting game depending on the situation. Were we ready to adopt as far as having everything for the baby both times? Not at all. However, all a newborn really needs is food, a car seat, a crib, and love. All those things are things that can be found quickly. Everything else fell into place and we were able to gather through our community and support we had around us.
On that night, a little over four years ago, when I got that phone call that our daughter had been born, I hung up the phone and looked at my husband. I didn’t know how to ask him this question because it seemed absurd. Yes, we had planned to adopt, but in the future. I felt the best way was just to ask him. So I just said, “Hey. Can you pause your game? Do you want to adopt a baby?” My husband, bless his heart, did not even look up from the game. He said, “Sure let’s do it.” He did eventually pause his game when he realized I was serious, but his answer did not change. He was ready. We were ready.
It may sound strange but we always kind of had the sense that we would not need to pursue adoption. We always felt like there would be some situation where adoption came into our lives whether that be through foster care or through situations like kinship care. If that had not have happened, I believe we would have eventually pursued foster care adoption. However, as we suspected, adoption happened to us and in the moment, we knew we were ready. We knew that there were many odds against us, but we knew they were all things that could be figured out. I felt like we knew we were ready to adopt or wanted to adopt because our hearts were ready and there was nothing too large in our way and no mountain that we couldn’t climb in these situations. It was a hard journey each time, but journeys we were ready to take on.
When asking the question of whether or not you are ready to adopt, it is better to ask yourself, “What is stopping me?” Make a list of things that are stopping you from adopting. After you have made this list, take the time to go through each thing and see if this is something that is a temporary blockage or something that you can figure out. Anytime I’ve asked somebody why they are not adopting, it often has to do with finances. It is widely believed that you need to be rich in order to adopt which is simply not true. Adoption is not cheap, but there are usually ways to figure out the finance part. However, if you are in a situation where you are hemorrhaging money month to month and can barely take care of the people in your family now, obviously you may not be ready for adoption.
Another thing that stops people is that their significant other is not on board with adoption. While you should never pressure your significant other to adopt when they do not want to, you can certainly ask them to look more into adoption and see if anything stopping them is a myth surrounding adoption. They may have ideas about adoption that are false or just be scared. It might be a situation of “not right now” and not a situation of never. Take the time to discuss adoption with your significant other and look through your options. You may find that you might be ready for foster care but not adoption at the moment. You may also find that your significant other wants to revisit the subject later on down the line. Give them the time and the information that they need.
You may simply just be scared to adopt because of the many unknowns that come with adoption. This is completely normal. However, there is not much advice I can give you on remedying this. Adoption can be scary and the unknowns are incredibly hard. However, it has been worth it, in the end, every time. You can ask a lot of different people who have adopted and most will say the same thing. Adoption is incredibly beautiful but a process. Take the time to ask yourself why you are scared and see if these things are legitimate fears or if they are just ones of doubt. You may find that many of your biggest concerns are unrealistic or fears that you can address when the time comes. The more informed you are, the more you may feel these fears go away. Talk to those around you who have adopted, read more articles on pages such as Adoption.com and Adoption.org. Contact adoption professionals in your area to find out what the process would look like for you.
Adoption is not for everyone. You may very well not be ready to adopt. You likely have legitimate concerns about adoption. It is completely normal and okay to not be ready or to have concerns. Explore those reasonings and those concerns that you might have with people who can give you a better direction. Spend some time writing down your concerns and your feelings. Discuss them with your significant other if that is applicable to you. Spend time talking with those who have adopted and even those who have experienced adoption. The more information you have, the more you will feel better about the decision you make right now. The decision you make right now does not have to be forever.
Only you can decide if you are ready to adopt. That may look a lot like deciding that even though you have concerns and aren’t completely confident, you may find that you are more ready than your fears have led you to believe. If you are thinking about adoption and reading this, that may be a good sign that you are ready to adopt and just scared of the process.
The process is scary but worth it. If you are ready to adopt, seek out more information on your options and join a community that can support you. Whether that community be online or in-person, the beginning of any adoption journey should be about building your team. Finding adoption professionals who support you, getting support from family and friends, and having people to turn to will make all of the difference.
Visit Adoption.com’s photolisting page for children who are ready and waiting to find their forever families. For adoptive parents, please visit our Parent Profiles page where you can create an incredible adoption profile and connect directly with potential birth parents.
Lita Jordan is a master of all things “home.” A work-from-home, stay-at-home, homeschooling mother of five. She has a BA in Youth Ministry from Spring Arbor University. She is married to the “other Michael Jordan” and lives on coffee and its unrealistic promises of productivity. Lita enjoys playing guitar and long trips to Target. Follow her on www.facebook.com/halfemptymom/.