Enjoy this guest post from a mom friend,Cassie Pattillo. And be sure to reach out to us if you are interested in writing a post! We love sharing our space with people so that we can get lots of perspectives since ever mom’s journey is different!
For as long as I can remember, adoption has never been an “if” for my husband, Jack, and me. It’s always been a “when”. Jack and I are both Christians, so our faith has made a huge impact on our decision to adopt. We’ve been adopted into the forever family of God, though we did absolutely nothing to deserve his lavish love and grace (Eph. 1:5). We believe adoption is a very small, physical glimpse of what God has done for us spiritually.
In 2018, our boys were 4 and 18 months. We wanted to grow our family, so we began praying specifically about adoption. We researched agencies and learned about Lifeline Children’s Services. A member of their staff graciously offered to meet us for lunch. A few months later, Lifeline offered a scholarship which covered the application fee. This and a few other events gave Jack and I indication it was time to officially start our adoption process. We chose international adoption because our hearts are drawn toward loving the nations. Truly, both the need around the world and here in America is great. We’re specifically called to international adoption, while others are specifically called to domestic, and we believe that’s wonderful! We chose India because we meet their qualifications. Some countries we were too young for at the time, and other countries require lengthy stays that aren’t doable for us. Another factor was India’s great need, both physically with the number of orphans and spiritually with the number of people who aren’t Christians.
We’ve been in our process since July 2018. Currently, we’re matched with a beautiful little girl. The road ahead is still long, full of paperwork, court hearings, and other needed documents, so it’ll approximately be 6-12 months until we travel to meet her and bring her home. Adoption is beautiful, but it’s also hard. Our process has been emotionally draining. Our daughter will have her own grief to process in regards to her birth family, the loss of her home country, etc. There are questions we likely won’t be able to answer for her. There are probably difficulties we aren’t even aware of yet. I say all that to say, adoption isn’t always the pretty picture that’s sometimes displayed on social media. However, the longer we’re in this process, the deeper my heart grows for vulnerable children. Like I said, the need is great everywhere. Children need loving homes, and families shouldn’t shy away from that just because of potential difficulties.
For our family, we want to instill in our children a heart to serve others. Sometimes, as moms with littles, it’s easy to believe we’re in a season where serving is almost impossible. However, I beg to differ. This will most definitely look different in this season, but it’s still possible! In fact, we can even bring our children along in serving others. James 1:27 tells us, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” Here are a few practical ways you and your children can serve vulnerable children, in your community and around the world:
- Adopt or Foster. If this is something that’s on your heart, then pursue it! Research ethical agencies and begin gathering information. This process has opened up so many opportunities with our boys for great conversations. If you’d like, I’d love to chat with you more about it!
- Donate items to a pregnancy center or foster care center. These could be diapers, wipes, clothes, toys, etc. Depending on their ages, children could help purchase these items, pack up the car, and drop them off. They could also help sort through their own gently used toys or clothes for donation.
- Take a meal for an adoptive/foster family. Children could help in the kitchen with putting the meal together (even young toddlers love to help bake!) and could also go with you as you deliver the meal.
- Support adoptive families through fundraisers. This will vary greatly depending on the family and the fundraiser, but you could take your children to a yard sale sponsoring an adoptive family, buy a food item they’re selling, etc.
- Sponsor a child. Organizations like Compassion International and the Mocha Club have ministries where families pay monthly to support a child in need. This money goes toward their basic needs including food, clothing, and education. Often, your family will receive a picture of the child you’re sponsoring. Your children can color them pictures or write them notes throughout the year.
There are countless ways to bring our children alongside us in serving vulnerable children. Check locally for adoption agencies, pregnancy centers, foster care ministries, etc. I’m sure they’d love to connect you with ways you can serve them! Our adoption process has opened my eyes even more to the needs of vulnerable children, and how serving them is actually more possible than I realize.
If you have questions about our adoption process, or adoption in general, I would love to chat! We can’t wait until our sweet daughter is home with us!