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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Facing The Giants of Adoption

We are learning that there are giants along the path to adoption.  The largest one so far has been the financial one, but we are seeing him toppled, little by little. More recently the giant has come in the form of pressure to conform.  Let me explain.

As we have been trying to schedule our home study we were referred to a specific organization in North Carolina.  Our placement agency, as you may know, is in Alabama and cannot do our home study.  I contacted the agency and had a very nice talk with the social worker who would be doing the home study.  She knew our placement agency well, and was excited to help us.  She emailed us some basic information to look over and sign and return.  Wonderful!

Then we received the information.  It all looked very standard, until my wife pointed out a certain paragraph in the client agreement form.  This paragraph included some language specific to discipline in our home.  I won't go into more detail then that, but it was worded in such a way that it made us quite uncomfortable.  Immediately the giant poked his ugly head into the room.  I began to worry. "What if this is the law?  What if we have to sign this in order to adopt?"  These questions and more were swirling around as the giant danced through our living room.

I contacted our placement agency and asked what we should do. I asked if the paragraph was standard and if it was part of the Hague Convention.  They responded that the language in that paragraph was certainly not Hague language and that we should contact the home study agency and ask whether this part of the agreement was mandatory in order for them to do our home study.  I was. In fact, the lady gave me the impression that if I held my ground on my beliefs I would very likely be denied the adoption by Hungary. That giant sure did look taller than before.  I was told that most people just sign the document even if they don't intend to comply.  I call that lying.  I don't believe God would be honored by doing that.  However, if others had done it...maybe this was the accepted practice.  I couldn't see how.  There must be another way.

My wife and I took the matter to the Lord in prayer.  Yesterday, Lifeline contacted me with the information for another placement agency in NC.  This agency is a Christian agency, licensed to do home studies, and is Hague certified.  I called them.  They assured me they had no such clause, and that as a Christian agency, they fully supported our beliefs.  I will withhold the name of the agency for the time being since we still must be formally approved by them before starting the home study process.  I hung up the phone while driving home, rolled down the window, and threw the giant out.  He fit easily out the window, since he was now no more than a midget!

Why am I sharing this?  What if something still goes wrong?  No doubt something will.  There are giants all throughout this land.  As a Christian, I believe the God that loves the orphans and has commanded us to love and take care of them as well, will take care of any giants that happen to show up.  I just wanted to encourage those of you who may be watching our journey, and considering adoption yourself, but are afraid.  Don't be afraid.  Come on in...the water's fine.

Please continue to keep us in your prayers in the months ahead.  Thanks!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Dreaded Home Study!

Probably the part most people dread about adoption is the Home Study.  Even those words strike dread into the hearts of most people.  I guess the words conjure up images of white glove wearing Gestapo agents carrying Sherlock Holmes's magnifying glass while examining your home for any trace of dirt, and digging through your life just looking for a reason to disqualify you!  Even though this perception is not the reality, there is still some nervousness about the process.

Truthfully, my wife and I are not overly excited about this part of the process.  My wife especially is a very private person, so even blogging about this process is out of the box for her!  We would covet your thoughts and prayers as we go through the process of choosing our Home Study agency.  Here is how it works for us.

Since our placement agency is in a different state, we need to have a Home Study agency licensed in North Carolina to perform this service.  Lifeline (our placement agency) has recommended an agency in North Carolina and we are currently having some discussions with them do determine if they are the ones we will use.  The choice of the Home Study agency is very important, because these people will be in your life for the next few months to a year or more, helping you to get approved.  You need to feel comfortable with the people for sure!

Right now we are looking to use Carolina Adoption Services.  If you are a "local" and know of another good Christian agency that does Home Studies, please let us know as soon as you can.  We would like to move forward as quickly as is prudent because this part of the process can last at least four months.

Please pray for us as we continue.  I am so excited about what God is doing and how He has provided thus far.  I know that He will need to do a miracle before we are done, but I believe He will!  If I can answer any questions, I would be happy to do so.  Please leave a comment below and let us know you are reading this blog.  We have dozens of visitors a day, and we would love to hear from you.

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Friday, January 4, 2013

What to Do When One Door Closes

Have you ever heard that old saying, "When God closes a door, somewhere He opens a window."?  I think the first time I heard that was watching The Sound of Music when I was a little boy.  I didn't understand it then.  It makes more sense as an adult.

Our family has been on quite a journey lately.  I promised an update a while back and will do my best to fill you in now.  It is such a blessing to have all of you reading this blog.  Thank you for your donations and your encouragement.  Maybe our story will encourage you in some way.

At the beginning of December, as we began the process in earnest with Lifeline Children's Services (Our placement agency) we began to get some information that led us to believe we may have to reconsider our choice of adopting from Peru.  We began praying about this as we went through numerous telephone calls with the workers at Lifeline.  Ultimately, after one very long weekend in the December, we had a long talk with the Peru representative from Lifeline.  Her name is Iris, and she is a very wonderful person.  The long and the short of it is that due to the situation in Peru, as well as some upcoming changes from the Peruvian government, we were told that if we went ahead with Peru we would very likely, "I think the words they used were definitely." be adopting a moderate to severe special needs child.  While both Erika and I believe these are very precious children, we did not feel that this was a commitment we could make.

Our hearts were very heavy because we had already been dreaming about the new member of our family, and this was quite a setback.  Lifeline recommended that we not go with the Peru program any farther.  It began to look as if we would not only not be adopting from Peru, but that we may have to find another agency, which was just as heartbreaking.  The folks at Lifeline are just wonderful, and we hated the thought of having to begin again with someone else.

We had one final conversation in which another program from Lifeline was recommended, and we were put in contact with the social worker from that country.  After a conversation of over an hour, we asked to pray about it for another day.  Both my wife and I felt that this program was God opening another door, after closing the Peruvian door.  We sent in the necessary paperwork and application fee and while on vacation in Florida we received the phone-call and email letting us know we had been accepted into the program.  Praise the Lord!

So where does that leave us? of now, it looks like our direction has been changed and we have been accepted into the Hungary Program.  I know...Hungary is a long way from Peru.  It was not a place we had even considered!  We feel at peace about this decision and wanted now to let our readers know.  We are still sharing half of the proceeds from the Walk of Hope with the orphanage in Peru as we had committed to, and we wanted to assure everyone of that.

So what lessons have we learned?

  • God can really throw you a curve ball sometimes!
  • Sometimes things don't work out the way you planned.
  • When God closes a door, somewhere He opens another door.

You may have noticed that the new title of our blog is not "Our Road to Hungary...and Back Again."  This is another lesson we learned.  Don't count your chickens before they hatch!  I did decide to leave the web address the same  I figured this could be a good reminder of how things work out sometimes as well as an opportunity to start discussions with people who find our blog and wonder why we are adopting from Hungary with Peru in our web address!  If you have some insight or comments you would like to send, please feel free to leave a comment below.  We would like to here from you!

On Monday we will be sending in our first payment of $1500 dollars to Lifeline and that will pretty much drain us as far as funding.  Our next big expense will be the Home Study which can run from $800 - $1500.  We really are not sure yet, as we are waiting on the Lifeline case worker to contact us.  Please pray with us about this cost.  If you would like to help, click on the donate button on the right hand side of the screen and donate directly through PayPal.  Personal checks can be mailed to:

Mark & Erika Foster
P.O. Box 477 Holly Ridge, NC. 28445

As always, if you have any questions, please call me at 910-742-4888