Most of my blog readers know that adoption is close to our heart, and recently the Lord has laid foster care on our hearts as well. So far we are in the stage before the steps: learning, praying, discussing, researching.
Yes, I know that foster care is incredibly challenging, to say the least. If you want to share your experiences with us, that is fine. But please don’t tell us that we can’t do it. I have already heard that one too many times, and with God- anything is possible. We are ready. We are willing. We are simply waiting. And we know that the journey will not always be easy.
I wondered for a while if I should post anything on this here blog about us being foster parents. We haven’t sent in an application, we haven’t fulfilled any of the requirements, and we haven’t even decided for sure. But, you my readers, are reading to follow what is happening in our lives. And I feel like I want you to be in on the whole journey: the journey of changing our hearts, the journey of (hopefully) joining, helping and providing for some young lives. Hopefully the journey of becoming parents.
This journey has began with a lot of thinking, praying and reading. I am a reader. I know that we wanted to adopt, but I had NO CLUE where to even start. Are we old enough? Do we have to be married for a certain time? Are there different kinds of adoption? How much does adoption cost? Where do we start? Who do we talk to? What are we getting ourselves into???
The following books/reads have really helped me answer some of those questions:
1. The Bible
Yes, our deep desire for orphan care comes straight from the Scriptures. From the concept that we are orphans that God has adopted as sons(Ephesians 1:5), to the fact that God charges his followers to care for the orphans and the widows (James 1:27). Loving one another is a huge part of parenting- and being involved in orphan care is certainly an act of loving one another.
2. Yes, You Can Adopt by Richard Mintzer
This book was not written from a Christian perspective, but gives the basic information for those who don’t even know where to start. I learned about the different types of adoption: open or closed, domestic or international, private or agency. I learned about the potential cost of adoption. I learned about different countries policy on adoption.
3. Orphanology by Tony Merida
This book presents the gospel approach to orphan care. It’s one of those books that is so easy to read that I missed a lot my first time through. It’s one of those books that I have to slow down and take it slow, savoring each chapter.
4. Three Little Words by Ashley Rhodes-Courter
This is the book that changed my perspective towards foster care. It is a memoir of a girl who spent eight of her twelve years in numerous foster homes. The way she wrote the story just broke my heart and made me want to do something for her. She was eventually adopted and ended up thriving, so what if I can make that difference in a child’s life?
5. This article
And just to add two more non-reading, yet extremely related/helpful items to the list:
6. Your county’s social services department. We were at a festival in our town, and we saw the children’s social services department table, so we stopped by and asked them some questions. They took our name and address and mailed a packet to us with very helpful information and the first steps to take in the process.
7. A support group At the same festival, we saw a table for a (large) church in the area that has an adoption/foster care support group. We went to a meeting with them and it was so helpful/encouraging/challenging to hear others stories, and to know that we have a bank of knowledge, experience and prayer coming from there.
And there you have it! That is where we are at right now!