When I met my husband, he told me he wanted to marry someone who was open to adoption. Looking back, I find it hard to believe I had never considered adoption for myself. Anyway, we both got excited about the idea but agreed we would pursue adoption after completing our biological family.
Fast forward a few years and two biological children later. We were pretty sure we wanted more biological children but someone mentioned room-sharing restrictions for adoptive children. That was the first time we considered adopting before adding more biological children to our family. Because we already had biological children, we knew we wanted to adopt a child who was already waiting. We were willing to consider minor special needs and a child as old as our youngest. We first explored foster to adopt because of financial reasons (in our state there is no cost to adopt out of the foster care system). With two toddlers in the house, we decided this was not an option at that time. Then started the search into international adoption. The process was overwhelming at best. At the end we decided we were not financially ready to adopt internationally but we were getting excited about starting an adoption ministry to spread the word about the need for adoptive families and help to lower the costs involved.
God had other plans.
In April 2008 while researching on what ministries in our region were doing to further adoption, I came across a photolisting of waiting children. I gravitated toward the Korea page and forwarded it to Patrick at work. When he came home, we had both identified with this 1 ½ year old little boy was born severely prematurely, was at high risk for some serious issues, but seemed relatively healthy. He also had already been matched with a $5000 grant which helped ease our minds about some of the financial hurdles. We decided to see if we could get a little more information. What I didn’t realize is that you can’t just get a little more information; you get the entire file which only can be reviewed by one family at a time. Miraculously no one else had showed interest in his file and so 20 minutes after calling the agency, I had an electronic copy of his file and 2 weeks to decide if he was going to be the newest member of our family. Overwhelmed does not even begin to describe what were feeling, but we accepted after a lot of praying and a Hopkins medical review.
Figure 1 One of the first pictures we received
Because we hadn’t actively been pursuing adoption, we didn’t even have a homestudy. Our acceptance of Ty’s referral set in motion a whirlwind of meetings and paperwork.
Even though we had an identified adoption, we still hit some bumps along the way. About half way through, we found out we were not eligible for the grant that had originally lured us in the first place. Our immigration paperwork took an abnormally long time at our local USCIS office. The wait was excruciating but looking back it was a great time of spiritual growth for our family and God’s timing was perfect. We traveled exactly 365 days after first seeing Ty’s picture to pick him up from Korea.
Our trip was a family affair. Besides my husband and I, we took my mom, my husband’s mom, and both kids. We blogged about our trip at http://www.thecorkums.com/tag/korea/.
We were blessed with a pretty smooth adjustment as far as attachment goes. I will say that raising a child starting in toddlerhood has been one of the hardest and most humbling experiences of my life. But also one of the richest and most rewarding. If you’re doing it and finding it harder than you thought, don’t be a silent sufferer. Find a friend who understands. If you can’t, email me.
So now what? Over the past year, God has taught us so much about His heart for orphans and how He reveals Himself to those who care for them. I had no idea how limited my view of adoption was. Now I can truly say I am a proponent, not just for adoption, but for orphan care in the US and internationally. We’ve began the process of starting a non-profit called Grafted Families (www.graftedfamilies.com). Our goal is to encourage the church to understand God’s heart for the orphan, advocate for adoption, support and partner with other agencies, and support those families who are already on the journey. We’re still in the beginning stages but we’re seeing God do awesome things, and we’re excited to see where He takes us. Meanwhile, we’re busy keeping up with our three children who are now almost 4, 5, and 7. Ty’s making great progress, and we’re constantly amazed at how healthy he is considering his history.
Will we adopt again? We’d love to but really it’s up to God so stay tuned…
If you were touched by our story or would like to know more about Grafted Families, stop by our blog at www.thecorkums.com. Can’t wait to “meet” you!