Thank you, Jamie for sharing with us a little bit of your family’s story and for taking the time to share some of your thoughts based off of your own personal experience.
Introduction: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.
My husband James and I have three boys, all of whom we adopted at birth through private agency adoptions. Our oldest son is 7 and our 3 year old and 1 year old are biological brothers.
What led you to pursue fostering and/or adopting a child?
We knew before we were married that it was possible that we would not be able to have biological children and were always open to adoption. We discovered after some time that we were correct about our infertility and decided to pursue adoption. We wanted very much to be parents, but we had no interest in fertility treatments.
What path did you and your family take (Fostering, Foster-to-Adopt, International Adoption , Domestic Adoption, Kinship, etc) and what led you to take that path?
We explored fostering to adopt for our first adoption, but the system was overwhelming and frustrating to us as first timers. We chose private adoption through a local agency who were able to walk us through all of the steps without confusion.
Q4: What thoughts and/or experience do you have concerning open adoption?
Our adoptions are all semi-open to varying degrees. We send letters and photos to both birth parents and we were able to meet the birth parents of our youngest two boys. I love that we get to communicate to these dear parents. I believe it is as much for the benefit of our children as it is for the birth parents. If at some point our kids are reunited with them when they are grown, I believe it will help in developing a relationship. As with most parents, I want the very best for my boys and I pray that if future reconciliation and relationships are a part of what is best that I would be able to do everything in my power to help facilitate that.
If someone came to you wanting advice on whether to move forward with the process of becoming a foster home or adopting, what would you tell them?
Do it. Don’t be intimidated by paperwork or wait time or cost. It is possible and it is hard and it is wonderful. Adoption is full of grief and joy and pain and blessing for everyone involved. It is a gift that is worth any hardship.
People are afraid they won’t bond with a child that “isn’t theirs”, they fear a child won’t bond with them, they fear loving a child and then having that child ripped away from them. What would your response be to these fears? Do the rewards outweigh the risks?
Fear is normal in adoption. But isn’t fear normal when we approach anything that is unknown or difficult? I can’t guarantee that you will bond with your child or that your child will feel bonded to you. But I think you have to weigh out your reasons for adopting. Adopting is always in part selfishly motivated– we are looking for what we will get out of it. That may sound harsh, but after reflecting on our reasons for adopting and talking with many other adoptive families, I have come to the conclusion that there is always that selfish component. But there is almost always more to it than that. We want to offer love, share the grace we have been given, be a family to someone who needs one. Weigh those things out– I would guess more often than not, the other things outweigh the selfish things and our fears begin to change. Will we be able to make a postive difference in the life of a child, whether it is for a short time or a life time? If so, isn’t it worth the risk, even if it might be painful for us as the parents? There are no easy answers to the questions surrounding adoption. But we pray and we ask God to search our hearts and know our thoughts and we go from there.
As a foster/adoptive parent, what are some ways you feel people around you can better support you?
At the beginning, when we were waiting and filling out paperwork (and waiting some more) I think the most supportive people were those who asked questions about the process and how they could pray for us. And throwing a shower or celebration is a big yes!! At this point though, now that we are done adopting, we just need the same support that any parent needs– a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, someone to laugh with.
Do you regret entering the world of foster care and/or adoption? Why or why not?
Not ever. It has opened our eyes even further to the beautiful gift of being adopted into God’s family and has given us a glimpse of the way He looks on us with a love that is incomprehensible.