We met her in Denny’s and she told us to be adoption advocates.
The social worker’s exhortation came at the conclusion of our home study interview in early July. The home study was necessary as we pursued an opportunity to adopt a baby girl who was due near the end of July. On December 3rd, we finished the process and our new daughter got our last name. But our adoption advocacy is far from finished.
I’ll back up.
Adoption has been on the Higgins family radar for a long time. During our engagement, Mo and I talked about adopting at some point regardless of whether or not God might bless us with biological kids. When a friend called us on June 7th to investigate our interest, we already had three fantastic kids. We didn’t need more. We didn’t feel like anything was missing. But our immediate reaction was, “Yes! Of course we’re interested!”
Blog readers may remember that a year ago I wrote about our plan to fill out paperwork for Antioch Adoptions. We figured that process would take a while, and actually, after six months, we hadn’t even completed our initial application. One reason that paperwork took so long was because, in the meantime, we helped to start a small non-profit called 127adoptions in order to raise money for another couple in our church who were pursuing an international adoption. The first event ended only three weeks before getting our own call.
Busy with event coordinating, homeschooling, remodeling, normal ministry and church life, and looking forward to an already full summer, we didn’t foresee how much harder and happier our next few months would be.
The first time we met with our adoption attorney he explained that, due to certain complications, we might be in for a challenging, long, and expensive journey. For a while it seemed like every week we would hit another impassable wall. Our story circulated not only around the lawyer’s office, but even around the state as they sought counsel from other lawyers and social workers. I vividly remember one phone call where our attorney encouraged us by saying that we had run out of possible problems. The next day two new problems arose that threatened to derail the train; apparently God wanted to answer really desperate prayers. At our post-placement interview, our social worker said she had never seen a situation like ours in her 20 years of experience.
One of the most important lessons I learned, a lesson I thought I already knew, is that adoption exists because sin exists. In other words, adoption in any specific situation will be difficult because something, somewhere is wrong. Sin brings death and death makes orphans. Or sinful choices result in birth parents who are unable, even unwilling in some cases, to care for the child. No matter whose sin it is–in the birth parents, in the courts, in the adoptive parents, in extended family members, or in others who are seemingly unrelated–sin makes a mess. There is no way to enter the adoption process and expect no difficulties, no cost, and no hurt.
At the final hearing, the judge asked us, “What does this day mean to you?” I don’t remember exactly what I said,1 but I know it culminated an unanticipated, short yet tiring, and exhilarating ride. And as we celebrated Keelah coming into our family, we also celebrated God’s adoption of us into His family with all the rights, privileges, and promised inheritance belonging to His children.
Knowing what we know now, after investing thousands of dollars and who knows how many hours, we would TOTALLY do it all over again.2 We are more excited about adoption than before, not less. That doesn’t mean that every married couple should adopt. Adoption is clearly not the only way to live out the gospel. But we love our daughter and we love every opportunity to advocate adoption, both temporal and eternal.
Photo thanks to Esther Martin