The good news is that the state's adoption and permanency network is aware of the issue and is asking that adoptive families report this to their office. The suspicion is that there is a culture wherein caseworkers are avoiding out of state families because of the extensive paperwork involved in the ICPC (Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children) process. So, I've reported these three incidents.
In relaying this information to my parents, I commented on how often it seems that families in this process are "inspected then rejected." My mother, who loves all things grammatical, immediately commented that my description would be a great title for a blog. This is the same mom that once, while we were arguing during my teenage years, interrupted me to compliment me on a great use of alliteration. (Love you, mom!) She's the best. :)
So, for the past few days I've been mulling over the whole concept of inspection and rejection. And, I've ended up in a very different place from where I started.
Just this past week, Peter and I pulled out of the running for a set of three beautiful children from the midwest. We were one of four families that was supposed to go to committee yesterday, but when we got the paperwork Monday evening, we had to make the difficult decision to decline consideration.
That is always, always (always) the hardest part for me.
But, it made me think. As much as I feel inspected and rejected, how much more so these precious children for whom that process is a way of life. At least I go to bed each night in a home with a loving husband and a precious baby girl (who occasionally sleeps, too!). At least I have a strong bond with my sister, who has always supported and loved me. At least I have parents that I know and with whom I have a wonderful relationship. Add to that all my extended family, friends, neighbors, etc. that form my world, and I find myself quite blessed indeed.
So many kiddos don't have the things I take for granted.
Too often, they've been rejected on some level by their parents (and sometimes those parents are themselves victims of great rejection themselves).
Sometimes, they are rejected by other family members who may want to care for them but cannot.
Often, these children move from foster family to foster family and from school system to school system. That is no way to build strong friendships with other children. By the time these kids are ready to be adopted, they've experienced so many broken relationships.
All of that isn't even to mention the numerous times they have been inspected -- by caseworkers, doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, teachers, school specialists, therapists, counselors, lawyers, the court system, etc.
And, finally...by us. We adoptive parents inspect them, too. We see their photos, read their short bios, and decide if we're even interested. And then, if a caseworker shows interest in us, we read even more details. Things that are so very private: health histories, medication information, reasons that Child Protective Services was called, injuries, sexual abuse, bed wetting history. Nothing is sacred.
After families read all of that information, they (we) often chose rejection.
In fairness, that is often necessary. Not every family can care for every child. I can't bring a 15-year-old with conduct disorder into my home or a child with certain other medical or behavioral conditions.
But, I do believe that there is a family for each child. I do believe my social worker when she tells me that there are families equipped to take the children that we are not equipped to take. I do believe that we may be called to keep families together by adopting siblings, and others may be called to love the children that need special medical care, or who suffer from fetal alcohol syndrome.
But, sadly, I also believe that there are so many people who may be called to help - whether by adopting, by fostering, by mentoring, or simply by praying - who don't because they are afraid.
Adoption is not for everyone. Neither is fostering. I know the latter isn't for us right now. But all Christians are called to love the orphan (James 1:27). For some, that may be as simple as sponsoring a child through a ministry like Compassion International. For others, that may mean being a Big Brother or Big Sister or volunteering at the YMCA. For still others, that may be loving the kids at school or church who don't have moms or dads at home.
Within the past month or so I have been in contact with three families: one who was matched with twins from Africa, and two who are grieving disrupted adoptions. All three families need our prayers.
I have a former student of mine who has a burden for adoption, but she knows now is not her time. So, she reached out to me to offer support to my husband and me. She answered the call God placed on her life at this very moment, and that makes a difference. Maybe not one she will see, but certainly one that I can.
This post is already lengthy, but I want to link to two blogs that have encouraged me that there really are those who sense the need and have answered the call. I pray that my readers will also ask God today how we can all answer God's call to love the fatherless.
- I am not familiar with this mom's story, but I did read this one post and believe it is very much worth sharing. The good news is that not long after she posted this, she and her husband brought home a toddler boy.
- I subscribe to this blog, and I have followed Rebekah's story for years. Her blog, HeartCries, is such a beautiful look into God's calling of adoption.