Thursday, February 6, 2014

Adoption FAQ's

I thought I would write this post to answer some of the common questions we have, or likely will, encounter through our adoption process.  Hopefully it will shed some light on the beauty of adoption and our heart to be part of this design for creating a family.

Why are you adopting?  Are you no longer able to have children of your own?
Chris and I have never been very private about our struggle with a very mild form of infertility.  While getting pregnant is a challenge for me, it is not impossible.  We do not view adoption as a last resort and discussed adopting a child long before we even knew conceiving would be difficult for us.  We have had open hearts and minds to adoption for many years and have been waiting for the Lord to give us the nudge.  We're here now!  This is the time!  We realize we were orphans, separated from the Lord by our sin, and then saved by Jesus Christ and adopted into God's family as brothers and sisters.  We are so thankful for our own adoption that we want to embody that here on earth.  We cannot imagine our family without adopting a child.

Why China?  Why not a child right here from the United States?
This is a hard one to answer.  China has been on my heart since I was a young girl...probably in my college years.  I distinctly remember looking at adoption websites when I was in college and China was always where my heart felt led.  I don't know why, but that is what God has placed on my heart.  Chris always wanted to adopt and rescue an orphan, without ever having a real preference about where the child came from.  Since I had such a strong desire to adopt from China, he agreed to that as our focus for this adoption.  We realize there are many children around the world who are waiting for homes and families to love them.  We felt that international adoption was a better fit for us, for now, for this adoption.  My many years working in the field of social work and foster care definitely taught me of the great need for families for orphans right here in the United States.  I think the one difference we see is that orphans in the United States are placed in homes with parents to care for them on a day to day basis (even if it is a foster home) and children outside the United States are placed in institutions with little one on one care or contact from a loving, trusted adult.  God did not design children to thrive in orphanages.  The thought of rescuing a child from an orphanage and bringing them home to a loving, committed family is what stuck out to us.  So while we do not deny the tremendous need for families to adopt children born right here in the United States, we saw our opportunity to reach out to a child in need to be greater in an international setting.  International and domestic adoption are both great avenues for building a family.  We've just felt God leading us on the route to an international adoption at this time.

What do your kids think about this?
Joshua and Grace are obviously far too young to understand the concept of adoption.  We will do our best to prepare them to accept and love a new sibling just as we would if I were carrying the child in my own womb.  We are sure they will be blessed by the addition of a brother or sister to our family.  Jacob has a much better understanding about adoption and couldn't be more excited.  In his words, he has always wanted a "ginormous" family.  He has already begun to pray for his sibling and has asked many insightful questions.  We will continue to talk with him, prepare him, and welcome his inquisitive questions and remarks.  He has been exposed to several families in our church who have adopted and has already seen a great example of what that will look like in our home.

Isn't adoption horribly expensive?  How will you pay for it?
Truthfully, yes, adoption is a huge expense.  Truthfully, we have no clue where all of the money will come from, but we have full trust that God has called us to adopt and He will not abandon us with no way to finance it.  We know He will provide and we will be humbled by His provision.  We cannot wait to see His glory revealed through all of this!

How long will your adoption take?
From the very inception of our application with our agency, we were told to expect anywhere from 12-24 months (more likely on the 24 month end of things since we desire a girl).  We started our application in July 2013 and things are moving more slowly than I think I anticipated.  I'm still sticking with the 24 month goal with great hopefulness, but I am also trying to prepare myself to see that number eventually nudge toward 36 months.  Truthfully, we don't know!  God does though, and isn't there so much comfort to know He has it already all worked out?

What do your families think about this?
They are thrilled!!  Everyone has been so excited and supportive!  I will say that their reactions went beyond my expectations.  They are just as eager as we are to welcome a new child to the family and I think their hearts and arms ache almost as badly as ours do to be filled with our Little One! 

What can I do to help?
Pray!!!  Please pray for our family as we embark on this journey!  It is grueling.  It is exhausting and emotionally draining.  Pray we have endurance, energy, stamina, and don't get discouraged when we feel things aren't going the direction we had hoped.  Pray for our Little One!  That she might know love, safety, and nurturing during her stay in the orphanage.  Pray for her birth mother, for her heart, for the bravery to give her child life, and for strength to know when to let her go.  Pray for our children.  That their hearts and minds will be prepared to accept a new sibling when the time comes.  Pray for Chris and I in our marriage to stay strong through this process, to take set backs and difficulties in stride, and for our hearts and minds to be open and prepared for whatever needs our future child may have.  Pray for our social worker, US immigration officials, and the Chinese officials as they review our files and paperwork and that they might respond to us in favor.   Pray for God to speak to you if you ought to be involved more directly in helping us on this journey.  Some friends have donated skills and services to help us raise money, some have sweetly offered to listen to me babble when the going gets tough and offered a shoulder to cry on, some pray without ceasing, some have given us funds to help get to the finish line, some have given me their creative juices to come up with fundraising ideas.  Whatever your skills, gifts, talents....if God leads you to share them with us to accomplish this adoption, we would be so honored to use them!

So where are you in the process right now, in February 2014?
What I want to say and what the truth is are so totally different, yet so totally part of God's plan!  I want to say we are DTC (dossier to China).  What I have to say is that we are still digging through the mud of the home study process!  It is slow, we are slow, and well, it is just A LOT to do!  But we are plugging along and nearing that finish line!  I cannot wait to post once that home study is complete and hot off the presses in my hands!!!!  Soon!

Do you have more questions?  I'd love to respond to them!  Please feel free to post them on Facebook, e-mail them to me, or post them as comments on this blog!  I'll be happy to respond!

We're Adopting!

I have literally been bursting at the seams with anticipation of writing this post!  I cannot wait to share with you all God is doing in our lives!

When Chris and I got married, we very early shared with one another a stirring in our hearts toward adoption.  Both of us were curious, intrigued, and drawn to the idea of growing our family in this way.  We talked about perhaps adopting first, before we tried to have our own biological children.  God had other plans in mind when He blessed us first with Jacob and later with Joshua and Grace.  Still, despite our ever growing family, we both still had a deep longing to consider adoption.  When we first got married, Chris and I were planted in a different church from the one we now call home.  God lead us on a difficult and confusing path early in our marriage to consider a different church home.  In 2005 we planted our feet firmly into the family of Ashland Avenue Baptist Church and we have been so deeply blessed for it.  Not only are we weekly graced with outstanding expositional preaching and a myriad of opportunities to plug in and serve the body, but God also wove together as a part of His plan for us, a church home deeply committed to developing a culture of adoption within the church body.  What a blessing it has been for Chris and I to watch families go before us, stepping out in faith, and rescuing an orphan from various parts of this world and nation.  We have been so encouraged by the testimonies of so many.

As we considered growing our family again we knew God was throwing wide the doors for us to pursue adopting a child from China.  It is with great joy I announce to you that we are ADOPTING!  There will be one less orphan in this world and one more Burris.  We cannot wait to see God continue to weave together this aspect of our family life and we long for the day we will see the first photo of our daughter, pray for her by name, and hold our child in our arms.  I plan to blog our journey as much as I can.  Will you follow along with us?  Will you pray with us and for us?  We look forward to rejoicing with all of you when we bring our child home; this child not born of my womb, but born deeply in my heart as a tiny seed that has grown and grown since Chris and I were married in 2004.  9+ years of waiting on His timing.  The time is now and it is so good to know we are right where He wants us to be!

We're expecting!  Praying for a little one from China, arriving in the next 12-24 months!