Adoption requires a ton of paperwork and one of the requirements is your social worker making sure your house is safe according to state standards. I remember when we first got our list of home stuff we had to have. On the list was a fire extinguisher. We didn't have one, so we made a trip to Home Depot to pick one up. I remember thinking- how many couples having a baby are stocked up with a fire extinguisher? Diapers, burp cloths, but probably not that.
The day our social worker was coming out to update our home study, I thought I would check the list more closely to make sure I hadn't missed anything. One of the things listed was an emergency fire escape plan. Uh... not something Chris and I regularly discuss at dinner. So, I get out a piece of paper and best I can map out the floor plan of our house, draw arrows indicating what doors we would use to exit and make the cheesiest fire plan you ever saw. When the social worker came to that question, I handed her my lovely chicken scratch piece of paper. We both knew it was ridiculous as all get out, but she still had to ask me. Then she asked if Chris and I have practiced our emergency plan. I looked at her and didn't want to lie, but come on... do you really think we pretended to have a fire and enacted a practice session? Our social worker was very sweet and she knew it was dumb, but she said, "Let's go ahead and practice it together, so I can say you did it". At that point of our meeting Chris was in the back room copying drivers licenses or something legal like that, so I yell back "Chris, we're pretending there's a fire so we can practice our escape plan." So the 3 of us proceeded to fake yell & act scared that there was a fire and go to the door while I pretended to call 911. We got a good laugh out of it and the state of TX can legally endorse us as worthy to raise a child.
I read a stat that 1/3 of Americans have considered adoption, but only 2% ever follow through. That makes me so sad.
I think there's all sorts of reasons why- too much paperwork, too much money, not sure how I would bond with a child I didn't give birth to, etc...
Sure there's all those issues, but it's worth every piece of paper we had to fill out and I would buy a fire extinguisher for each room if I had to. I remember holding my baby girl for her first overnight stay with us and with tears in my eyes I told her how much I loved her and how she was worth every penny we had to spend and even more. I watch her now in her new environment- surrounded by people who love her so much- and think of what her life would be like otherwise. It truly is an amazing story of God's love and redemption.
One of our dreams for our new church in Madison is that we could be a place that inspires people to care for orphans and at risk kids. I used to feel shy about saying that, but I don't anymore. It has become a passion of mine. I heard of a small church in a rural area of Texas that was filled with a bunch of folks that had a heart for orphans. They found a small orphanage and as a church committed to find a home for each of the 30 kids in the place. They emptied the orphanage!! Some opened their homes, others their pocketbooks and together they gave these kids families.
I dream of Madison Vineyard being a place where dozens of children and babies find forever homes, where we can raise thousands of dollars to send to organizations like Love 146 who care for at risk kids involved with the sex slave trade, where people get inspired to dedicate their lives to be advocates for orphans in the world.
I am so thankful for our adoption journey and believe this is just the beginning of what God has in store for us and others.