The Story (Part 4)1
by Amy Coleman
This is a continuation of Lee and Amy Coleman's adoption story. Click the following to read the earlier posts: Parts 1 & 2, Part 3.
THE STORY, pt. 4: The Process
We want one, yep, just one. Baby. One. Ok, maybe two if said baby has a very young older sibling. But mostly just one. And did I mention baby? One?
That is where our thought processes immediately went after being blown away by God’s plan for our family to adopt. After all, isn’t that what adoption is (we thought)? Our family going somewhere to bring home one precious little baby. Sounds good to us! Where do we sign up?
Lee and I spent a lot of time after that talking about why we wanted a baby. In our most honest and candid moments we recognized the reality that we just wanted to be able to start fresh with a young mind. We wanted to bring home someone who hadn’t been “messed up” by someone else. We wanted to start with a baby that wouldn’t remember the details of living in an orphanage, of being abandoned, of a hard life. We didn’t want to deal with the baggage of someone who had never known love. That just sounded way too messy. We wanted easy, straight forward, lovely and, well, easy.
Thus began the process of information gathering. We had several goals in mind for our family adopting. Like I said previously, I wanted one baby, I wanted to have a colorful family, and I wanted it to be lighting quick. After all, our oldest only had a year and a half left before college. With those criteria in mind I started looking into different agencies and different countries.
I spent 2 solid weeks making phone call after phone call to different agencies. This was the most discouraging thing we had experienced up to this point. Every agency was giving me the same info. It is going to be a long process. In order to bring home a young baby (under 2) you might be waiting up to 3 years, and if you want the baby to be healthy it might take up to five.
“You mean to tell me,” I thought, “I want to take a child out of an orphanage and I’m going to have to wait several years? How is this possible?”
At this point we just didn’t really get it. Adoption doesn’t happen quickly. It is a long, slow, laborious process. But adopting an infant? Painstakingly long. We now know why. Because, just like our minds did, when most people think about adoption they think infant. In fact, when we told some very close friends of ours we were planning to adopt, the first response we remember hearing was, “Oh yay! A BABY!!!” And that is so ok. Infants need to be adopted. They need to be loved and cared for just like all the other orphans. But, if you’re like us and want to move quickly, waiting 3 years just wasn’t going to work.
It was toward the end of several weeks of calling agencies and looking at the beautiful pictures of waiting children on multiple websites that Lee and I felt like we were at the end of our rope. We knew God was calling us to adopt, but we were so disheartened because it wasn’t taking shape like we thought it should. So we questioned Him. We prayed.
“God, we don’t know what you want us to do, but we need you to show us. Plain and simple. We need doors closed that you want closed, and doors open that you want open. Please reveal to us where we need to adopt, because we don’t want this to take 3 years. We want to follow your plan, but we just need help.”
The next morning I woke up and started the process again. First call on my list was an agency that only adopted out of 2 countries. A smaller agency, for sure, but I had read some wonderful reviews about them and was hoping that they might have some direction for me.
I was put in touch with their director for international adoption and thus began the same conversation I had experienced with multiple agencies. Adopting from the Asian country they had a program with would take 3-5 years. (Here we go again, I thought).
Then I dared ask, “But is there any other option that won’t take that long?” “Well, we have a fairly new program in Poland and there is no one on the waiting list, so you would be first in line,” she replied. Not only did she tell us we would be first, but that we could potentially bring home a young baby within 12-18 months.
First in line? For a baby? This after being told I would be 75th in line to adopt out of the Marshall Islands program just the day before. First? Really? Where do I sign up? I think my heart immediately knew that only being open to a child of a different race might not be the direction God was taking us. I mean, hadn’t we asked, just the night before, that God would open the doors to the path that He wanted us walking? Proverbs 3:6 -“In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.” This was looking very straight to me!
So I told her we wanted to very seriously pray about it, that Lee and I would get on our knees that night and consider if this was the direction that God wanted us to go.
And then something crazy happened. For whatever reason, this woman felt compelled to tell me about a sibling group that had just come across her desk that morning. A sibling group that she didn’t have anyone to even check with to see if they might be interested in adopting. “These children aren’t at all what you’re wanting, but if you would like I can email you a picture and it will show you what Polish children might look like.” I hesitated. I mean, I had seen pictures of a lot of kids already. I could just look up Polish children on the internet. Did I really need her to email me their picture? “Well, I guess you can,” I replied.
That changed everything.