Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Story #5: God is enough to walk with you through your biggest fears...

Our Adoption Journey
My husband and I knew early in our courting that adoption was part of Gods plan for our family. We began our adoption journey in China about 10 years ago. We gathered our paperwork and started our international adoption process. God had other plans! We ended up not going through with the China adoption because of an “extended wait time” and a job loss…

Even though China was not an option, the two things that we knew for sure was that we were: 1. Called to adopt
2. We were NOT adopting within the United States.

Before we started our adoption process, there were some specific custody battles involving adopted children being returned to their parents. These cases rang loudly for my husband and I. Our greatest fear of adopting domestically, was losing our child in a custody battle. This fear consumed us and made us more intent on adopting oversees.
Before I go any further, let me state that we believe God has every adoptive family going through a different avenue to bring their children home.  Whether adoption domestically or oversees. For our family though, the fear of losing our child was one of the main motivators for going oversees rather than seeking what God’s plan was for us.
In spite of our fears, God began to do some major heart changes in my husband, and myself. He allowed us to see the huge needs in our own city and the need for adoptive families. Our senses were heightened to the plight of our cities Foster kids through people we met, radio shows we “happened” to hear, and books we “accidently” read.  As we became more aware of local kids needing homes, God removed many of our fears. As we continued to prayerfully seek His will for our adoption, it became very clear that domestic adoption through the foster care system was what we were called to do. YIKES!!! This was definitely not “my” plan.
In the Spring of 2007, we started our classes to become a Texas Foster Care Family( FYI-in order to adopt through the state, you must first become a Certified Foster Parent. You don’t necessarily have to foster…we can explain more if you have questions). By the Autumn of 2007, we were a licensed foster family. We told the State of Texas (and God-hee hee) that we wanted 1 little girl under 2 ½ that was “Legally Free”( Legally Free meant that her birth parents had already lost legal rights to be her parents-we felt that this was the safest path for us). CPS and our adoption agency both told us that our chances were slim because our criteria was too specific. 

In spite of this, we received a referral call in August of 2008. There was a beautiful 2 year old little girl that was legally free. The adoption agency wanted to know if were interested, and we took about 2 minutes to pray about it, and enthusiastically waited for our Grace to come home. She came home a few weeks later. She had beautiful brown hair, round chubby cheeks, and the most beautiful brown eyes. Her 3 big brothers and parents were over the moon! We bonded over the next couple of months over tea parties, and trips to the park. There were many wonderful moments, and a few rough patches just like with any adoption, but our family was finally complete.
In December, about 4 ½ months after our daughter came home, we received a call from our CPS Social Worker. She told us about a court hearing that had been set for later that morning regarding Grace. We had been told during the process, that her former Foster family had been fighting to have Grace returned, but throughout the process had been told repeatedly “No worries”…the hearing is “just a formality”. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. Eight days before Christmas our lives were turned upside down.
The judge hearing the case decided to grant custody of our daughter back to her former Foster family. We received a call to inform us of the decision on December 18th at noon, Grace was gone by 1:00pm. December 19th. We were devastated to say the least. I wasn’t heartbroken, I truly felt like a piece of my heart had been amputated. It had been cut off, and was forever gone with my daughter.
Losing our child was the hardest blow our family had ever dealt with. I remember being so incredibly angry with God and grief stricken. It was the first time in my adult life that I could actually understand in a very small way how someone could decide to “bag their faith”. Thankfully, we serve a God who is merciful. In spite of my anger, He never stopped carrying me through my heartache. There are still tears, and my heart will always ache for my daughter, but I know that God will use this journey in my life, my husband’s life, and in the lives of our boys.

I do not share this story to scare anyone away from Foster care and adoption. In HUGE contrast, I want to encourage people to prayerfully consider Foster Care and state adoption through the CPS system. In spite of our family’s heartache, we want to share the message of HOPE that God brought to our family. He allowed our BIGGEST FEAR in life to be realized, and show me and my family that He is enough! He is enough when it comes to my needs. He is enough when it comes to my kids, and he is more than enough when it comes to my sorrow and my pain. God has given us hope in spite of our fears. He has shown us that hope in Him can and will carry us through the good times and the hardest times of our lives.
At this time, our family has fostered 4 children since we lost Grace. We have been uniquely blesses by each child. We have decided to make the decision to move forward again in the adoption process through CPS. We are pursuing the adoption of a little boy, but are open to God changing that plan!! We are excited to see what God has in store for us in the next phase of our “Adoption Journey”.

Mark and Melissa Baker

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