Why We’re Adopting Again

The decision process for this next adoption has been far more sobering than the last. Three years ago we were fueled by optimism and opportunity. We read books about the potential “side effects” of adoption and even anticipated fielding some of those, but the estimated cost seemed little.

We were young and wild and free.

The hardest part of Eden & Caleb’s adoption was the footrace to get them. We had our share of medical bills, parasite purging, poo-smearing out of anger and consequential shoulder shrugs from children not used to authority, but after six months it felt like they had been in our home since birth. Post-placement was relatively seamless, compared to most.

You might think that would catapult us into another adoption, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. To the contrary, the cost this time around has been the front-runner in my mind (and I’m not referring to the very real financial costs). I found myself playing the statistical game I’ve heard so many voice:

“We have two healthy, delightful, obedient children … why tip the scales? They love each other and love us. Let’s stop while we’re ahead and just put all of our eggs in the fertility basket. Heck, we haven’t even really isolated the problem with my infertility. I’m still young. I might very well be one homeopathic remedy away from a biological baby who is less of a wild card.

“We checked the adoption box, right? Met a need. Saved a kid. Two, in fact. Check – check.”

Except there was no box to check. The catalyst for our adoption was not guilt or stale desire to meet a need. No–at the risk of sounding trite–it was Him. Somewhere along the way we brushed up against His love. We had an encounter with a Man who has left a mark on how we see the trajectory of our lives. And we can’t go back.

The unique calling He’s given us, the Hagerty’s, is starting to take shape.

I’ve often tried on different “callings” in my mind to see how they fit. The past ten years have provided us relationships with people of all shapes, sizes and callings. Gone are the days where sharing a taste in clothes and boys brought girlfriends together.

We have multiple friends who have moved into one of the rougher neighborhoods in inner city Richmond. They embrace neighbors as friends and casually but intentionally share the love of Jesus with them, while not neglecting their tangible needs. I have another dear friend on staff with Young Life, pouring out the waking (and sleeping) hours of her life so that lost high school kids can know eternal life. Doctors, lawyers, accountants, musicians, baristas, investors, business owner friends–deeply-activated by worshiping through their work. Friends in China, Africa serving as missionaries to the poorest of the poor. And still another with a passion for creating space for people, old and young, to taste new encounters with God in prayer.

I’m provoked and inspired by every single one of those callings. I see His fingerprints all over them. I’ve even tried some of them out. But the more time I spend getting to know this man Jesus, the more I see that each one of His own not only carries a different burden from His heart, but has a solitary calling to live that out.

Me? I was shot out of college’s cannon full of expectation for my life. Newly-wed and childless, I couldn’t have guessed that almost a decade later I would taste for the first time what it felt like to be deployed by God. And all other experiences of calling would seem to fade into the background amidst this central line-item on my life’s CV.

Adoption, at first to us, was a means to grow our family by also caring for children who needed homes. We were excited to start a family and had a heart for the fatherless. A good fit, it seemed.

In the past three years, since we first “conceived”, something has changed though. What I thought was going to be an appendix my life — parenting — and what I perceived was one of many things that caught my eye — orphans — has taken center stage. I never knew being a mom would make me feel so alive. And I never anticipated that the fatherless would so enrapture my thinking that I might be willing to completely overturn the picture of a traditional family I’d so gravitated towards.

Had we stopped at Eden and Caleb, the picture of my traditional family might still be within my grasp. They’re incredible. Toss a few biological kids into the mix, and we’ve got ourselves a beautiful, multi-racial, modern American Dream. (Please note, I of course realize that not everyone with a “normal”-looking family is pursuing the American dream — I am just letting you into my own–at times–desire to score that dream.)

But because, in adopting these two, I “happened upon” the nexus of where God’s heartbeat and my own unique make-up overlapped, I knew it would probably not be our last adoption. Deployment, when and where I least expected it.

But I’ve been timid to move forward. Even the strength of God’s calling us to these children, this country, and at this time, does not drown out the fears and insecurities I have about adding two more orphans to our little well-oiled machine. Real life stories of women I’ve walked beside through their adoptions have sobered me. It’s one thing to take a missions trip to a foreign country and risk the potential health hazards and time away from family and friends. It’s another to add two children to your home that will have a forever, and daily, impact on your family. “Success”, how many might define it, is not a guarantee.

And almost every day since we signed on to pursue this next adoption I’ve had moments of being strapped by fear.

But the alternative for us is bleak. To try and secure “the best possible playing field” for this calling is like sand in my hands. It’s a falsehood to believe, now that we’ve had a few months of respite from intense storms, that I can choose-my-own-adventurous way to security.

I want God, not safety. I want His plans for my life, more than I want a life of ease. (At least most days.)

So this time around, instead of spending every waking minute chasing papers, I’m moving a little more slowly. Not because of that fear but because quiet interludes of sitting at the Father’s feet seem even more essential.

It’s here that He whispers, you were made for this.

Some lay awake at night dreaming about how to get water to the thirsty. Others log hours in their prayer closets praying for those same sick bodies to be healed. Still others are called to worship God in the marketplace, and on top of that, spend their time dreaming up business opportunities to fund food and clothing for these who are fatherless.

But me, my heart is to be their mommy.

My reach will not be as broad. My money may not go as far. And my time will be isolated on just a few. But God has invited us to do this, now, at this time. Who can measure the infinite worth of a life (or two)–given wings by the love from a mother or father? And for that reason I can’t just stop here.

And so…we move forward. With trembling hands, and expectant hearts.

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26 Responses to “Why We’re Adopting Again”

  1. Adrianne Thompson on

    thanks for your grace saturated way of following the way the Spirit is leading you. not suggesting it is the only good, Christian way to go. seeing and delighting in the way others serve. and yet going a different way (than some). Praying God will saturate my thoughts with grace, like these. God bless.

  2. Diana on

    Sara,

    Once again I am in awe of your beautiful, GOd-inspired journaling. We are truly sisters at heart. I cannot tell you how much your words echo in my soul. How Wes and I walked thru these same emotions during round 2. Beautiful. May God Bless your family and may you walk boldly forward in faith!

    Diana

  3. Sara on

    Thank you, Adrianne, for your comment. For whatever reason, it’s so important to me to rejoice in the uniqueness of God demonstrated in each person. I’m so glad this is what you read, as this was a significant stream in my head as I wrote it.

    Sara

  4. Sara on

    They are. The process is somewhat tricky and probably a little more risky than most countries (which is maybe why its still under-the-radar), but they are allowing guardianship of Ugandan children and those children can then be re-adopted in the United States.

  5. emariestar on

    Thank you so much for sharing! As always, I am encouraged and provoked by what you have to say. And I can relate to so, so much.
    Blessings!

    -IAN Adoptive Momma
    #5 for siblings

  6. Troy on

    Rah!! So excited for you guys, and heart-swelled to see your bravery, joy, passion, wisdom about it all. You two are wonderful.

    The Adventure continues… =)

  7. Jennifer on

    Is this your blog or mine? It seems like I can’t really tell the difference anymore. Reading your writing is like reading my own journey. I’m so very blessed to have your support by my side, in whatever way that looks.

    Stay strong! Keep reaching for more! Never settle for less than the very highest calling that the Lord has placed on your heart. Don’t entertain mediocre. Love with the extravagance that was poured out for you on that cross. To those who have been given much, they will give much. We’re standing with you and for you, your brother and sister in Christ. We, too, are all adopted.

  8. Deanne Hamlette on

    This is an exciting time in your family – many unknowns – but exciting because you have the clear calling of the One who will never give you more than you can handle. I only wish that I was in Kansas City so I could share in your journey again. God bless you, keep you, and lead you in the coming days and months!

    Deanne

  9. Sara on

    Deanne,

    Ahhh …we so wish you lived in KC too! Bummer timing! We will most definitely keep you in the loop, though!

    Thank you for all of your help and hand holding along the way! You all do such beautiful work!

    Sara

  10. Gina Lind on

    Sara,
    What a beautiful post!
    I am a mom to six children, biological and adopted. My heart is with adoption and that is the calling I feel God has on my life, though mine is a bit different from yours. My mission field is to help orphans both here in the United States and in other countries to find forever families who will raise them to know and love Jesus. It has been incredibly fulfilling and such an honor to be used by God in this way. I have many kids that I consider ‘mine’ in that they have a piece of my heart as a result of being a prat of the process and now getting to watch them grow up.
    I am currently on a hiatus from my job due to having moved from one state to another. I am waiting to see where God will use me next.
    I will be supporting you in prayer as you move through the adoption process.

  11. Rachel on

    I just sent this post to my husband…we haven’t adopted yet, but it is in our future….you put my heart into words in this post. thank you for sharing.

  12. NotTheMama on

    This made me smile! People look at me like I have 3 heads because we’re not pursuing fertility options. It’s not that it’s a “bad” thing to do, it’s not that we think conceiving in our hearts is “better” than conceiving in our bodies – it’s just obvious to us that adoption is where God is calling us. It’s nice to be able to come to a place, if only online, where we are “normal” for accepting God’s plan for our family. I’m excited for your family!!!

  13. Jenna on

    I just wanted to say “Thank you”. I found your blog through We are Grafted In, and I read your post there which was how I started today. I read it, and I related to it profoundly, and I thought……if I were as eloquent, I could have written that.

    So, tonight I decided to check out your blog, and I read this post, which I am printing out to keep on hand, because, were as as eloquent, I could have written it. I have felt these exact same things exactly the way you describe it. “Strapped with fear”…..oh…..thank you for saying that, not many people do. Tempted to chase the American Dream…..thanks for saying that too. Can’t do because your hearts desire is to follow Him no matter what? Yep….I’m there too. Can’t believe the heart you have now for orphans because you just never saw that one coming….oh, yeah. Me too.

    I was encouraged by this post. Thank you for your honesty. I am so thankful to know I’m not the only one wondering some days why we are “upsetting the applecart” and adopting. (We have to bio kids, and this will be our first adoption.) But, I just know this is what God has for us, so scared or not…..we’re all in! 🙂

    Anyway, thanks!

  14. Esty on

    Sara,
    I am one of many, I see. Wow. I think you looked into my heart and wrote my words, my story’s beginning. Tears just streamed down my cheeks (luckily the Husband wasn’t around to snicker at ever-emoting Me) reading this post. I had read the birthday post for Eden first and was grinning at the strides it’s clear she’s made since coming home. And I so relate to ALL of these fears so honestly plunked down in this post. I don’t want COMFORT of the American lifestyle but I am tentative some days to relinquish the COMFORT I want for my sons, already here in my home. Do I want to rock the boat that hard? Am I “tempting fate”? How many delightfully obedient children can one possibly be granted? Is our “luck” going to run out? Will I have regret? Am I robbing my boys of something? These are not things I relish sharing because they frankly make me look really bad. And I am. I hate that this selfishness and pride, this contentment to be rich and comfortable is still not carved out of my deepest heart and replaced with a passionate obedience to our Savior. But I WILL walk on and I THANK you, dear sister that you are courageous enough to honestly record doubts and struggles here, too. Makes us all more believeable when we don’t act perfect. I love you for it.

  15. Sara on

    Jenna,

    Thank you for your kind comment. Part of what makes adoption so beautiful is all the wrestling it takes to actually get there — sounds like you are familiar with that.
    Congratulations on your upcoming adoption!!

    Sara

  16. Rebecca on

    How is that can can both crush us and strengthen us through adoption? We too feel God’s calling to parent orphans. We too are moved to action despite intense fear.

    Oh, to be as obedient as God is asking us to be. Terrifying and exhilarating all at once.

    May God bless this next journey. Thanks for sharing your hearts!

  17. Monica on

    Sara,

    It has been awhile since I have had time to read your blog. I am so glad that I took the time this evening!! I have a hard time putting my feelings into words. You said so much of what I am feeling. Adopting again in this stage of our life just seems crazy but to me, this is when I feel ALIVE. Thanks so much for sharing your heart! By the way, we have a mutual friend. I am friends with Nicole Rice and we just put it together that we both know you. Well, she knows you for real and I know you through the web:)

  18. Bob G on

    This is great Sara. I linked over from HCB. My wife and I can certainly identify with it…the rewards of parenting and the fear of the forever, daily commitments. So meaningful, and I laughed – especially at the check boxes.

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