Adoption, My Story

Private Domestic Adoption vs. International and Foster Care Adoption 

A while back a friend asked me through a Facebook comment why we chose domestic over international adoption. I didn’t quite know how to answer in a public forum like that, but I knew I wanted to try. As we’ve settled into the private domestic adoption route, I feel ready and able to share about it more openly. I hope this gives you all a unique window into our situation and encouragement to anyone who’s considering adoption for their own family.

Our Journey to Our Decision…

Photo by James Wheeler on

It wasn’t easy; our decision. Putty and I took a long time to officially decide which route to go and we definitely didn’t want to take it lightly. We weighed many factors like our busy schedules – both at home and abroad, the spacing of our children, our mental stress load, our capacity for attending to different health issues in a child, etc. These weren’t all necessarily weighed evenly either, but each one was important in its own way.

[But first a disclaimer: These thoughts are for this adoption process only. I do not know yet if we will adopt again and if we do, all our reasoning might be completely different for that adoption.]

Considering Age-Range…

When I thought about welcoming the next child to our family, I knew for sure that I wanted to adopt in birth order. This means we wouldn’t be adopting any child who’s older than our youngest child. This significantly reduces the age range of our to-be adopted child to younger than 4 years old (at the time of this writing). That age range doesn’t prohibit adoption internationally or domestically. Both types of adoption have children available for adoption in this age range.

Kayla (9), Ben (7), Ariella (almost 4) – Room for more!

Knowing this information I chose to research both international and domestic adoption. We decided to go ahead and look into an even younger age-range; infant. You see, when my youngest was still a newborn and I was rocking her back to sleep one night, God gave me a very intense picture of what I felt were some characteristics of our next child. Part of that picture was of me holding a baby; a newborn. The thought that immediately went through my mind in the still quiet of the night was, “Next time I do this (take care of my next newborn) I won’t be recovering from surgery!” I have never cared for a newborn without also recovering from a C-section. What a different experience this will be!

It was also clear to me that I didn’t feel quite finished with the ‘baby’ stage of parenting. I LOVE babies and always have. I delight in caring for my infants. Most of the children available for adoption internationally are close to a year old, if not older. And since we only looked at countries that participated in The Hague Convention and the rules set forth about when a child is found to be adoptable, it became clear that it was near impossible to be matched with a very young baby. (Note: I am making no comment about whether I agree or disagree with the regulations set forth in The Hague Convention. I am merely stating facts as I understand them.)

Considering Health Status…

When I took a serious look at adopting children two years old and under from other countries, it appeared that many of the adoptable international children had special needs of varying degrees. Putty and I knew that at this time we didn’t have the bandwidth to knowingly adopt a child with moderate to severe special needs and that significantly reduced the number of potential adoptable children for us internationally.

Additionally, when speaking with people who worked with international adoptions and one country in specific, I was told that the children available for adoption were very similar to the children in our US foster care system. Since I didn’t have a clear leading to adopt internationally, only trans-racially, and I wouldn’t likely be able to adopt a very young child without special needs, I immediately considered why I shouldn’t just jump ship on international adoption and choose the US foster care system instead. After all, it would likely be much less cost and time intensive to adopt from the US than internationally. 

So, we moved on to our next step of considering the US foster care system. After all, we know many people who have adopted this way, including my nephew and I’m so glad he’s a part of our extended family! I’m not opposed to foster care, but I needed to really understand the requirements and expectations of this route.

Considering Likelihood of Adoption…

As we sought out information on foster care and met with a social worker, we discovered our first drawback. It was made clear that there was no way to guarantee that any child(ren) placed in our care would be available for adoption. I know people who have fostered newborns from birth and finalized their adoption once the children were toddlers, but there’s no way to guarantee this type of placement. Not only that, even if we only accepted a newborn placement that had a high potential for adoption due to an expectation that parental rights would most likely be terminated, there was no guarantee that another family member wouldn’t come forward at the last minute and be able to raise the child(ren).

I’m not making a sweeping comment about whether this is good or bad for the child(ren) (because every situation is so very different), but for us, we knew it wouldn’t be a great fit. Whereas some people have a calling to help children in need until they can be reunited with their birth families, we feel called to bring a child into our family on a permanent basis. So, I asked one final question to the foster care worker. “Are there ever newborns available for adoption whose parents have already terminated their rights?” The answer was less than hopeful.

After gaining a better understanding of the foster care system and the accompanying expectations, we decided it wasn’t the right path for us at this time. The red tape, multiple appointments and unknowns of the foster care system would be much more than we could handle at this current time in our lives.

Choosing Private Domestic Adoption…

So, it became clear that private domestic adoption would be our best route to adopting the child that God has in mind for us! Through private domestic adoption we will be able to be matched with a baby of our specific age (newborn to 2 months) and health status (none to mild special needs) desires for our newest family member. This is something that is necessary during this season of our lives. We will even be able to make decisions together with the expectant (birth) mom about the openness of the adoption and other factors surrounding adoption. I’ve come to see that we will be able to give the option of choice to an expectant mother too. In private adoption the expectant mom usually chooses the family to raise the baby she’s carried, rather than the prospective adoptive parents.

In other news, in addition to adopting a baby, we have decided to open our hearts to the possibility of adopting two children – one newborn and the other one up to age two! I don’t know if this will actually happen or not, but we felt very much like we should be open to that in case this scenario came up. 

Greater Understanding and Compassion…

Photo by ATC Comm Photo on

I have to admit, through this process my heart has softened more towards expectant mothers and all the feelings and reasons they have surrounding making an adoption plan for their child(ren). Through research, training, and reading I’ve broadened my understanding on the many reasons why a birth mom would choose to have her child(ren) adopted. There are so many more situations than I had previously thought about and no matter the situation, it can’t be an easy choice. There will always be loss and not just at the birth, but year after year. It’s quite a serious and heart-rending decision. So whether international or domestic, private or foster care, I plan to extend care and sensitivity to all those in the adoption triad (expectant (birth) mother, prospective adoptive parent(s), child(ren)).

There are so many children, world-wide and in our own ‘backyard’ who would be blessed to join a forever family. There is no right or wrong way to adopt. But, there is a right or wrong way for each individual adoption situation. It took us a long time to figure out what is right for us at this time. And, the child(ren) out there for us will be as unique as our present circumstances that have led us to this decision at this time.

For Those Considering Adoption…

If you’re considering adoption, I highly recommend looking into all the options. Search your heart and find out what really matters to you. Know your limitations and your strengths and apply those in your decision of which type of adoption to move forward with for any given situation. And above all, try to understand and not judge all those who have made their own unique and individual choices for adoption.

Adoption, My Story, Praise and Worship, Voice

It’s My Blogging Birthday!

One Year of Blogging!…

You guys! I’m so excited! I’ve been blogging for a year! Honestly, when I started this, I just wasn’t sure if I’d keep with it. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to keep at it, but I just didn’t believe in myself 100%. I’m so glad I went through with it anyway. Now I can say I’ve blogged for a year! I’ve been looking back over my past posts and thinking about what I had in mind when I started blogging and where the journey has gone so far. So, this post will be a reflection on blogging over the past year.


I thought it’d be fun to begin my reflection with a few stats. Over the past year I’ve written 44 posts with 33,782 words! I’ve had 68 comments on the blog itself plus many more through Facebook comments. My top three most viewed posts are White Savior?!?, Could This Be Our Match?, and Adoption Update 2019. Finally, there have been 2,944 visitors viewing my blog 4,376 times from 36 countries! Wow! Thank you to everyone who has followed along on this blogging journey!

World Map of where my blog has reached

Let’s start at the very beginning…

When I started this blog, my mind felt like it was being pulled in so many directions. First was the adoption process. There were so many boxes to check before we could be approved to adopt and then who knew what would happen after that! Then, there was this deep longing inside of me to share more of who I am and what my life story has been. The stories swirled as I desired to share them with someone new! Last, through more introspection, I had many new questions, ideas, and thoughts come to mind and I really needed a place/person to dialogue with about those things. Enter my blog.

That was my mindset when I started this blog – a soup full of so many ‘tastes’ and they all called for attention. That’s when God, in His quiet and calm voice, prompted me to start a blog. I didn’t know what He was doing or where this would go, but I decided to go along with it. A local friend gave me some very good advice. I now pass this along to anyone thinking of starting a blog. She told me that I ought to have 10 posts written before I even published my first post. I’m so thankful for that advice. It really helped me keep traction at the beginning. 

Then when ‘life happened’ in the middle of my first sequence of ten posts, it was my husband who encouraged me to veer from what I planned and allow myself some spontaneity in the post cycle. After all, a blog of this type is usually about what’s happening NOW and interrupting my plan to reflect on the current events would be totally in-line with what I was doing.

When I started this post, my goal was to alternate posts between one of my thoughts/ideas and adoption related topics. I did that pretty well for a while. But, those posts started to get fewer and far between. What started as a deep need to talk out the adoption process and pass along information to others who might be in a similar place, moved to a need to discuss the information I was taking in from so many different sources and opinions about interracial adoption and even race/culture in general.

The posts moved from a place of safety (just telling my story) to a place of personal tentative viewpoints (posts about race/culture). How would my posts with the topic of race/culture be received, understood, and viewed? Did I write them in a way that was loving and honoring to everyone involved? Did I often come out with a white woman’s perspective or was I able to write with another perspective in mind? And while I’m bringing that up, how in the world do you separate your own life-long perspective, the one that you don’t even realize you have, with the other ones that you’re reading about and listening to and really thinking about? It’s hard to do. I still don’t know if I’m doing it well, but I believe I’m trying with a pure heart. So, I wrote out the hard questions I had and made myself come to and voice a place of conclusion, at least for the time being.

Somewhere in the Middle…

Somewhere in the middle of the past year, I started to fall in love with my musical side again. I expressed my deep connection to music and moved through what it’s like to create music and also teach others. The joys of helping someone else ‘win’ at creating music is so rewarding! Yet at the same time, this focus on music began to pull my own heart towards creating music again. I immersed myself in figuring out how to play piano so I could play and sing on my own. I went out on a limb and recorded myself learning this new musical ambition. Then, in act of true transparency, I posted the recordings, mistakes and all, in hopes that I could be an encouragement to others to keep progressing towards their musical dreams. 

My first recored and posted video
My most recent and posted video

The Present Place…

Now, a year later, I’m in a very different place for writing. I don’t have the stash of posts ready to publish anymore, but I do have a long list of topic ideas yet to be explored. I don’t have the swirling craziness inside my head anymore. Instead I have a great system (blogging) for thinking through and expressing the journey of any particular thought or idea. I don’t have as many posts about adoption. Instead my lack of posts reflect where we’re at in the journey – waiting. This blog has helped me organize my thoughts, express them, and then dialogue with others about them. Sometimes I get pushback on what I’ve posted, but most of the times I’ve been incredibly encouraged by you, my readers. 

All in all, I’m feeling really glad that I went out on a limb, publicly, and started to blog. I’ve found a really helpful way to organize my thoughts, talk them out with others, and find expression for the deep feelings inside of me. As I’ve written, I’ve felt God encouraging me that my vulnerability and authenticity will allow others to be the same. It allows others to ask the hard questions and wrestle with what they really think. While I share my story, through writing or the music videos, I’m giving voice to what’s going on inside me and that’s really important for all people.

In January 2019, while I was in England and talking with God, He told me, ‘You have a voice and it’s meant to be heard.’ It seems that over this year through blogging, singing, and teaching, that statement is being walked out. It’s thrilling and terrifying. It’s exciting and sometimes humbling, but in the end, I feel peaceful. I’ve followed God’s leading and in a sense, I’ve ‘grown up’ or matured because of it. I’d like to keep that trajectory in the following years.

What’s Next?…

So, what does the next year hold? I plan to keep writing, that’s for sure! But where and what will my blog posts explore? I hope that we’ll make an adoption match soon and I can share the process of being on that journey in a fresh, new way! I hope my musical ambition will continue to push me forward into new spaces and remind me of the all the things that have formed me. I hope I won’t shy away from hard subjects, but instead invite a dialogue about these topics in order to learn more and get new perspectives. What’s next? I honestly don’t know, but I’m excited to witness the change in me, my family, and my ‘world’ a year from now. I’m looking forward to sharing more with all of you!