Where We Are in the Adoption Process

We are inching closer and closer to the 3 year mark (August) since we began the adoption process in earnest. In the waiting stage there isn’t always much to talk about, especially since we have finished fundraising, which has been such an undeniable blessing to us as we wait. That doesn’t mean there isn’t some form of paperwork or dialog needing to happen with our agency or Costa Rica, but I promise you it would supremely bore you to know of all the paperwork involved.

But I realize, based on the number of questions I get every day, that there are a lot of you interested to know where things stand currently. So many of you have been gracious to love on us and our kids through prayer and financial support, and it makes sense that you want to know what has been going on!

So by way of updating you…

Our dossier was sent off to Costa Rica in December of 2016, which is basically a massive pile of documentation about our family, birth records, psychologist reports, etc. This paperwork is translated and then checked for legality, proof of suitability to adopt etc. in country and has to be approved before you can be placed on the list to wait for children.

A year ago (Mayish? 2017) we were notified there was a possible placement for our family, and then suddenly things flipped on their head and we found out that our paperwork had never actually been approved in country. This was a bit of a shock, as our agency (and us) thought we were approved and waiting for several months. The news led to some unexpected paperwork delays as we got more information on what was going on and followed through on requests from the government. Our paperwork was finally approved in August 2017.

When bumps happen in the adoption process, it’s not just days, it’s likely months. It was disheartening to say the least, especially since we thought a match was imminent. However, you have to understand unexpected stuff like this is par for the course in adoption-world. There are many complicated parts and pieces that must move into place for an ethical adoption to take place.

Our agency has been so helpful and supportive through it all (we are constantly thankful for God’s grace to us in the people we get to work with through our agency), as in our case we were required to answer questions to the government that felt incredibly invasive and unnecessary.

I have come to appreciate more just how much care Costa Rica has taken to protect their kids and give them a solid placement to the best of their ability. It is important to remember that adoption is not primarily about the adoptive family, it’s about protecting kids in a vulnerable place and giving them the best chance for thriving and healing in a loving family. But man, it has been intense on our end.

Then came fall, and we were about to update our home study (no simple paperwork task) when we found out about some specific kids waiting for a home. We read their file, prayed and got counsel, and decided to pursue those kids by writing a “letter of intent” to Costa Rica that we wanted to adopt them specifically. This basically meant that we would not consider another match until they gave us a definitive answer as to if we could adopt these kids, but we had to wait for a lot of paperwork to take place, update immigration, etc.

Over 5 months we prayed, filed paperwork, tried to hold things loosely, knowing that although most letters of intent are honored, it doesn’t guarantee anything and those kids might not be the ones for our family. It was pins and needles…wanting to plan goals and commitments around possibly traveling, but also not get hopes up and trying to live life like nothing was going to happen. We determined that whatever resulted our prayers and love for these kids would not be wasted…God doesn’t waste things like that.

Things started to look very hopeful though, and as much as we tried not to in a case like this, our hearts were caught up in loving these kids from afar. Then, mid March (2018), we got final word that the board in Costa Rica had decided to place the children with a family from another country. Not us. For various reasons, we decided to appeal the decision, and two weeks later, we were notified again. Not us.

This has been the most difficult part of our adoption experience to process yet. We have complete peace about God’s plan for those kids—and us—trusting God’s goodness. We don’t doubt His presence with us in this process—we have seen it every step of the way. And yet we have felt the loss deeply. It is very possible and every bit right to mourn while resting in God’s plan.

And that is where we are currently. Carefully tending to the work of grief, and allowing it to do its work of shaping us and preparing us for what’s ahead. The sadness comes in waves, of course, like any other grief. The faces and stories of the kids pop into my mind at unexpected times of the day. Since an adoption process is more public, the loss is too, which leads to questions and probing, which can be painful (although I don’t begrudge those asking!).

So we are moving forward…actively waiting, as I like to put it. One of the hard things about this stage of the process is trying not to live life on hold. If we had done that we would have missed out on a lot of life over the last three years. But on the other hand it is exhausting living in the tension of complicated decision making about finances, jobs, or even if Caleb can take a vacation day since we don’t know if we’re traveling this year or next.

In spite of the difficulties, I really want you to know that God gives grace, and we have no regrets. I don’t say any of that tritely. It is very true. We have asked God to give us hearts willing to follow Him through the hard places, because we know we have an Intercessor advocating for us. A Helper comforting us. A God who never leaves us (Psalm 23). We can walk fearlessly into the dark places of life because of the beauty of God’s redemption.

Ultimately, this adoption is about imaging a God who humbled himself and loved humanity in our brokenness, even to death—bringing healing and redemption to all that was lost. It is about the glorification of who He is. And it is our constant journey (and joy) to work out what it is to live this reality in an ever clearer way.

Thank you for praying for our family and these future kids of ours!

Though oceans roar, You are the Lord of all

The one who calms the wind and waves and makes my heart be still

Though the earth gives way, the mountains move into the sea

The nations rage, I know my God is in control

You will lead us

Through the fiercest battle

Where else would we go

But with the Lord of Hosts

Shane and Shane Psalm 46 Lyrics

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