As you, the astute reader of this blog, may know, my family is working on an adoption. It has been a long process, longer than we expected, because of several factors which included the birth of our second son last month. We are in the waiting-on-the-Feds phase of the game, which is boring. But it means we are past the waiting-on-the-state phase, which is important. It means we have an approved home study.
What does that mean? It declares that the State of A# has found us fit and suitable parents for adoptive children(s) conforming to certain age and special-needs guidelines (in our case, up to two children with up to severe special needs, unsure on the age range - the Mrs. would know that). In sporting terms, we have a license with a bag limit.
The process to obtain the home study was not bad (in our state, at least, and for international adoption - foster placement is much more rigorous). The Mrs. and I went to several interviews, alone and together, had a home visit, filled out some questionnaires, and got state approval within a few months (of submission - the agency did not have a fire under them). The total cost of this process is in the low thousands, maybe $3k? It's written down in the binder at home.
Think of that. About $3k to be permitted to adopt a child (within bounds). The license lasts for 18 months and is renewable. As long as we have an open slot, we are ready to go.
Now, preparation for the unknown can take myriad forms. I ate my last MRE last week before teaching my night class, so I guess I'll starve when the US food chain collapses. That's a low-likelihood event. I sold off my battle rifle some time ago, as it was not really practical and it was deucedly expensive to shoot, so I guess when the Commies come marching up the road I'll be less prepared than I could be. Also, a low-probability scenario.
But we can adopt a child if we come across one who needs a home. This is a real situation involving real humans, made in the image of God, who have real, immediate needs. If you think you won't come across such children, it is likely that you have only avoided them. They are everywhere. Ask anyone with exposure to the foster community, to birth-mom adoptions, international adoptions, anyone who knows the name "Reece's Rainbow", they will spill their guts about how many, many children there are who each need a loving family. This is not contributing to malaria research, where you make incremental donations to an ambiguous goal. This is not even Gospel Rescue Mission-style, where your $27 buys 57 meals. These are good things, indeed, but here, with adoption, your love and your family buys back a life. Not just a physical life, continued existence, but a LIFE. Breakfasts together. Taking care of sickness. Playing outside. Birthdays becoming joyful (not dreadful - ask sometime what "aging-out" means). Taking walks. Seeing the wind ruffle hair and turn cheeks pink. A LIFE.
You, by a small investment of time and money, can equip your family to save A LIFE. Not remotely. Not far away. But very near. Within your home, you can, by the grace of God and the patience that comes by the Holy Spirit, slowly rebuild a life. Clean, polish, and repair the extra-broken image of God in a child. They will be sinners. You still are, too. They probably do not know Jesus (ask sometime about one that did - it's a glorious story). But they need to. If you do, shouldn't they hear it from you? In your home? On your lap at bedtime? Reading about Jesus is my favorite thing to do with my son. It will be harder to do it with our daughter (since she won't understand English at first, or perhaps ever very much), but Jesus can understand her. Can we do less than bring her to Christ, pray for and with her, and (as with any child) trust God to work in her heart in His ways?
If your family loves Jesus, you are qualified to adopt. If the money seems like an obstacle, remember that adoption is laying down your life for another, so try starting by laying down some pleasures to free up some cash. If that's been done, and if your church loves Jesus, it's a good bet they will help you with the money.
Go get a home study. Be ready to save a life. If you set your heart to God's service, He will set you to work. Be prepared.
PS- This post is motivated by a broken heart over kids who are about to become too old to adopt. This does not mean they go get a job someplace. It means "adult mental institution" which means "cage of despair and degradation". God forbid that any go there, especially girls.