Jesus and Adoption

Our pastor recently pointed us to this book: "Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families & Churches" by Russell D. Moore. While we are only in the process of reading it, we are excited enough about it to recommend it to others. Here are a few exerpts from the first chapter to help you figure out if the book may be helpful. We've also included a few of the chapter titles.

"The gospel of Jesus Christ means our families and churches ought to be at the forefront of the adoption of orphans close to home and around the world. As we become more attuned to the gospel, we'll have more of a burden for orphans. As we become mroe adoption-friendly, we'll be better able to understand the gospel" (p 18).

"Adoption is not just about couples who want children-- or who want more children. Adoption is abotu an entire culture within our churches, a culture that sees adoption as part of our Great Commission mandate and as a sign of the gospel itself. This book is intended for families who want to adopt and wonder whether they should. It is also intended for parents with children who've been adopted and who wonder how to raise them from here. it is for middle-aged fathers and mothers whose children have just told them they are thinking about adoption" (p 19).

"... let me tell you what this book is not. It is not a step-by-step guide to navigating the adoption process, complete with legal advice and agency recommendations..." (p 20).


Chapter 2 - Are They Brothers?

What Some Rude Questions about Adoption Taught Me about the Gospel of Christ

Chapter 4 - Don't You Want Your Own Kids?

How to Know If You- or Someone You Love- Should Consider Adoption

Chapter 6 - Jim Crow in the Church Nursery
How to Think about Racial Identitiy, Health Concerns, and Other Uncomfortable Adoption Questions

Chapter 7- It Takes a Village to Adopt a Child

How Churches Can Encourage Adoption

Ten Misperceptions of Adoptive Parents- Part 1

Crosscurrent Church recently hosted an information session together with Bethany Christian Services. I was struck by an article in one of the resources Bethany offered to those interested in adopting. The next two posts will share the content of the article. I think it provides good food for thought. If you have a question about any of the points made in this article, please do not hesitate to send them to us at

Source: "The adoption journey: A guide for prospective adoptive parents"

Misperception #1 "The birthmother just doesn't love her child."

In reality, there are many choices available to a birthmother. Carrying a child through pregnancy and then placing that child for adoption actually shows a lot of love. other choices she could have made include the termination of her pregnancy.

Misperception #2 " Adoption is the easy way out."

Just as parenting is not always easy, there is nothing easy about making an adoption plan. Grief and loss are part of every relinquishment and adoption, and they are never 'easy' to deal with. The role of the pregnancy counselor is to help the expectant mother make the best decision for her child. "Best" does not always equal "easy."

Misperception #3 "The birthmother will never get over the grief of relinquishing a child."

Working through grief and loss is a process that takes time. It is important for the birthmother to have a trained counselor to help her through the process, which varies from individual to individual.

Misperception #4 "In a domestic infant adoption, the birthparent will come back in a few years and take the child back."

The termination of rights of a birthparent is a legal process eliminating the option of a birthparent returning for his or her child. It is also an emotional process, and birthparents who opt for adoption don't want to disrupt it.

Misperception #5 "Kids will get confused in open adoptions."

Children are smarter than we give them credit for. They know who is there with them every day. It is not healthy for the child to be denied his or her history, whether it is a medical history or family history.

Adoption Information Session, Virginia Beach

"Religion that God the Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress..." James 1:27

Bethany Christian Services ( is an agency dedicated to helping Christians express God's love through adoption. On Tuesday June 16th at 7pm, Bethany and Crosscurrent Church of Virginia Beach ( will partner to host an information session for those interested in knowing more about supporting adoption.

Please RSVP to for details and directions.

Everything to Me: Song for Birthmother

After several months of Hakon's ongoing adoption process, we have filed Hakon's finalization papers with the courts. Now we await word declaring our legal finalization date. While this is the happiest day of my life, my heart continues to ache for the woman who gave Hakon life. I feel a loss that I cannot express to her how much I love her. Out of that place, I found this song which resonated with what I'm feeling. I pray that one day Hakon will hold her with the high regard this song expresses.

Adoption Tax Credit

Did you know that the adoption tax credit may go away?

As you can tell, we believe that those with a call toward adoption should have barriers (like the financial strain) eradicated. Speak up with us and make your support of a permanent adoption tax credit known!
New legislation can make the tax credit permanent. Unless legislation is passed, the Federal adoption tax credit that allows many adopting families to take a credit of up to $12,150 (2009) is scheduled to expire in December 2010.

Here’s what to do:
(much of the text below is updated from the website)

  1. Find the name and Washington, D.C. mailing address of your Representative and Senators at To find e-mail addresses, click through to the Senator’s or Congressperson’s Web site.
  2. Next, log on to find out whether your Congresspersons are already co-sponsors of the legislation. On the opening page, under “Search Bill Summary and Status,” search by bill number for H.R. 213. Then click on “Bill summary and Status.” On the page that comes up, click on “Cosponsors,” “Text of Legislation,” or “All Congressional Actions” to follow the progress of the bill.
  3. If your representatives have not signed on as co-sponsors of the bill, send them your request that they do so. Tell them how much you or other families you know are counting on it to be available in the future. Emphasize that the tax credit truly results in more children finding homes. Tell them that this is so important to you that you will be following the bill’s progress through Congress.

    A sample letter to send his here:

Abba Fund

I received the most encouraging email the other day! It simply said, “ I stumbled on your blog and was so encouraged to read your thoughts on trusting God for the ‘gap’!” This person encouraged me that “God was at work.” Hmmmm….. that was super nice, I thought.

So, I begin emailing back and forth with this person. After we exchanged a number of emails and connected on our families’ hearts for adoption, I realized that I know this person’s name. He is Jason Kovacs, an article I had read, loved, and discussed with friends several months ago, “Glorifying the Father of the Fatherless” (link below) from John Piper's site. Turns out he is also the Director of the Abba Fund and part of an organization called Together for Adoption. I strongly encourage readers to become familiar with these organizations.
The ABBA Fund provides interest-free covenant loans to Christian couples who are called by God to expand their families through adoption and who need help with the “cash flow crunch” posed by adoption expenses.

Abba is an Aramaic word typically used by a child to address his father, expressing complete confidence that the father would provide every need. The Bible proclaims that God is the Father, Helper and Defender of the fatherless (Psalm 10:14; Psalm 68:5; Proverbs 23:10-11). The ABBA Fund exists to glorify God as one of His instruments in helping the fatherless (James 1:27).

Jason and I spoke on the phone the other day, and my heart leapt out of my chest as he communicated stories of so many families with such a similar passion as well as the history of these organizations. God prompts the hearts of his people for adoption, and I'm learning more and more everyday that God's heart for adoption is consistent throughout The Church. We hope that we are able to partner with Abba Fund to make Adoption Loans more accessible to those around us.

When adoption is placed on one's heart, there is a reason. Money should not get in the way!

Adoptive Parents and Children Gathering

We're happy to announce that we've started a group for adoptive families. We currently have 5 adoptive mothers from the VB Area gathering for support, networking, friendship, and playmates for our children. We currently meet on Fridays, however meetings times are flexible. We've met in our homes, met at playgrounds, walked Mt. Trashmore / the boardwalk, etc.
First meetings are held public places for the comfort of newcomers. We are not affiliated with a specific agency, as we wish to remain open to all forms of adoption experiences.
If you have been looking for connections with people who share your adoption experience, please come meet with us! Please email for more information and/or to get involved. ( Spread the word!

Family Wanted

We've mentioned in other posts that reading the adoption experiences of others is important when considering adoption. "Family Wanted: Stories of Adoption" by Sara Holloway was a book we enjoyed. It is a compilation of stories representing birth-mothers, adoptive parents, and adopted children.

One of my favorite pieces in the book is called "Our Vocabulary," written by a Hampton Roads native and I thought I'd share an excerpt:

"To me, we are what family is, people selected. And I remember always knowing I was adopted and always feeling proud of it. Sometimes people won't miss the chance to let you know which lovely category you fit into: for them it is as simple as cracking and egg and softly sifting out the white. You're adopted. I can't know what others think when they label me or say things like blood is thicker than water, but the way my mother and father raised me has always made me feel chosen, golden..." (p. 93)

If you're interested, you can find the book here:

Just for Fun

A cute video to bring you a smile:

To Our "Supporters"

We've just added a feature that shows who is checking out our blog. If you are following "Hakon's Home" but have not added yourself to "Hakon's Friends" on the right side of our blog, we would love it if you did! All you need to do is click "Follow" and give and an email address and a picture (optional). Thanks for your support!
Mark, Kate, and Hakon


I've posted this cartoon as food for thought. What come to mind? I think this cartoon can be taken a few different ways. My analysis to come...

Many adoptive parents have mixed emotions when it comes to the thought of an adoptive child seeking out birthparents in the future. In a coming post, I'll share what a few authors have to say about "reunions" with birthfamilies.

Filling the Gap - Part 1

In my last post, “How Much Did Your Baby Cost,” as I commented on some attitudes toward the cost of adoption while admitting that the expense may indeed be a stretch (as it is for us). Not many people I have the extra cash lying around to fund an adoption. And yet, many people would agree it seems unjust for money to come between a child in need of love and parents who are willing to give that love. How do we fill the gap? Certainly there is no easy answer.

The gap has become a daily reality for us. Our story is not yet complete, but we hope our journey will bring encouragement to others approaching adoption. I'll start with the words from the bottom of our blog:

“Our road to adoption began long ago. Before we met, the desire to adopt was growing in each of us. We never considered financial obstacles a good enough reason to prevent offering our home to a child. We have moved forward in faith that God will provide as he sees fit….”

To elaborate, we began the adoption process in December 2006 when we first shared with extended family our intention to adopt. However, based on what we were learning about the shorter timeline of trans-racial domestic adoption in Hampton Roads, we had to put it “on hold” until we were more prepared to accept a placement in less time. For the next year, we kept our excitement at bay but made plans for funding our adoption. And at the end of 2007, we began the application process with Bethany (, submitting our preliminary application just before our holiday travel. We were so excited. We would return from the holidays, submit our formal application, and proceed with the approval process. As soon as it was possible, we put our condo on the market and sold a vehicle in order to make the adoption possible. So far so good, right? All our plans were moving right along.

Here’s the funny thing about thinking plans…

Just 7 months from our formal application and 3 months from our approval, we received the most important phone call of our lives. “There is a little boy…” the voice said, “he is 8 weeks old, and his mother has chosen you.” Even now, my heart skips a beat and I tear up as I remember that call. I remember exactly where I was standing and how I felt. My life was about to flip upside down. It was almost as if the room was spinning as a result of my joy. Our heart’s desire was coming true!
I called Mark immediately, and we could hardly contain ourselves. How in the world were we to act? What were we to do? How could we possibly wait another day? Our child had been born and would come home in just weeks! Then increased the caliber of “nesting.” I took it “to an 11.” One evening, Mark walked in to find the contents of our attic strewn about as I attempted to organize and label everything. A post on nesting to come…I digress.

Along with our elation came a predicament. The condo had been on the market for months and had not sold. This was not according to our plans, yet it’s the surest thing that God put adoption in our hearts. There’s no assured timeline with adoption, and we had done the best we could to estimate. Some people may call it irresponsible; some may call it a leap of faith. We moved forward without the means, and Hakon came home.

Just the other day, I was riding my beach cruiser with my loyal Weimaraner, Miles, running next to me-- some of my best prayer time. As I peddled along, breathing the fresh air, I began to pour my heart out about this practical aspect of the adoption and the unexpected situation in which we’ve found ourselves. I confessed frustration that our plans for funding had fallen through. I shared my fear of taking the adoption expense as debt. I confessed my confusion over why God would bring Hakon to us at the same time when other financial struggles would be mounting.

After pouring out the fear, anger, and hurt, God reminded me that the expense is small change compared to eternal value of Hakon’s precious life. And He reminded me that faith of a mustard seed can move mountains. And He reminded me that He works in ways greater than we can think or imagine. And he began to deal with me my pride-- wanting to be good enough, strong enough, smart enough, together enough that I don’t need help from God or anyone else.

As I prayed, the verse “You don’t have because you don’t ask” came to mind. I struggled with this as God’s answer. I always avoid that verse because it can be misused to suggest that God will give us anything we want. Furthermore, I’ve always struggled to pray specifically. I mean, who am I to tell the God of the universe what I need and when I need it, right? Surely God doesn’t want me to be so vulnerable as to ask him for something huge and set myself up for disappointment, right? “No, God, this cannot be your answer,” I thought.

But the words would not leave me. “You do not have because you do not ask.” I rushed home to "research" the true meaning of that verse in context. I found it in James 4. To my surprise, this verse is challenging our motives in asking. *It contrasts asking with pride and worldliness versus asking with humility. It contrasts desires which break broke down the community of his people with, presumably, desires which are of His purposes and bring unity to the body. So I began to think: If we don’t “have” because we ask for the wrong things for the wrong reasons, does that mean we would “have” if we asked for the right things with the right attitude? “Okay, God, what does this all mean? What kind of asking do you want from us specifically?

At that very moment, I just happened to get an email about an adoption grant that I wasn't familiar with. I began to work on our application immediately. Upon receipt of our application, that organization sent information to encouraging adoptive families to be open to support in a variety of ways.

Now, I'm not suggesting that this grant or any of their suggestions are necessarily the way for us. That is left to be seen. But I do know that God is teaching us something about asking, and He will provide. I’ve been convicted that I let fear of judgment get in the way of being open with our needs. I've felt convicted that I've let my pride get in the way seeing God work. We’re praying daily to put fear and pride behind us, and we’re praying continually that God would show us what it means to “ask.”

We hope that sharing our circumstances will encourage others with a heart for adoption to move forward in faith. As this aspect of our journey plays out, we look forward to sharing about the ways that God provides. I'm beginning this story with this post because I know it will have a happy ending. God always stands in the gap.


"How Much Did Your Baby Cost?"

Many people are curious about funding adoption. It's usually the first question I receive: "Isn't it expensive?" It's as if there's a belief that you have to be very wealthy to adopt. Fair enough... there are a number of pop-culture representations of the benefactor rescuing a child. Daddy Warbucks comes to my mind (I'm an Annie fan), and I'm sure you can think of a few celebrity names from the headlines. If one more person mentions Brad and Angelina to me, my eyes might roll out of my head. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure they're lovely people. I just cringe at any suggestion that, becuase there are some expenses associated with adoption, it's an exhorbitant thing.

While the cost may be a big sacrifice-- perhaps one that stretches you further than you ever thought you'd go-- it's not out of reach if it is what's right for your family. Most stories of adoptive families I know, anyway, come from average American homes. Consider some of the things people spend money on which are considered relatively normal by the masses. Some people choose to drive nice, new cars and don't think twice about a car payment even though, while you're feeling like a big man in your ride, your "investment" is depreciating faster than you can drive. Some people choose to buy bigger houses in "nicer" neighborhoods when they don't really need the room. Some people choose to take vacations, easily spending thousands on flights, lodging, and entertainment. Weddings...thousands of dollars on a dress, some flowers, and a cake!!! And Lord only knows what some people are paying for shoes, handbags, and jewelry these days. Sacrificing any one of these would easily offset the funding necessary to bring a child home. I really don't mean to judge what anyone chooses to spend. I'm as guilty as the next guy. I'm simply suggesting that adoption isn't an extravagant thing.

Would we ask a woman who just gave birth, “How much did your baby cost?” Probably not. If we were genuinely curious, we might ask about the type of prenatal care or delivery she chose. I have friends who have chosen a variety of experiences for their delivery: in hospitals, with midwives, in hot tubs, with hired doulas, with drugs, without drugs, after fertility treatments, etc... I just heard someone talking the other day about a hospital that is now offering spa treatments to mothers after childbirth (for additional cost, I'm sure)!!! Somehow I don't seem to hear the same concerns over finances when when discussing childbirth... or maybe it's just me?I always remind people that you are not “paying for the child.” You are securing the support of the agency and/or the legal support you choose. Generally speaking, international adoption is the most expensive due to more a extensive legal process, more unknown variables, and travel expenses. Foster care adoption is least expensive and may actually provide financially to help support the child. Domestic infant adoption and special needs adoption are somewhere in between. Agencies match birth mothers with adoptive families, facilitate comfortable communication, and can lead clients as smoothly as possible through the process. The support of an attorney is necessary to make sure everything is made official by the courts. Just as medical care is vital to pregnancy, labor, and delivery, these services allow the fulfillment of adoption. Regardless of the manner in which a family is built, bringing children into our lives entails expense.

There are many organizations dedicated to minimizing barriers (like cost) so that more children may find families. For those considering adoption, Shohannah’s Hope is dedicated to “mobilizing the body of Christ to care for orphans,” offering grants and other helpful resources on funding adoption.

If any reader has questions regarding the stuff we learned along the way, please feel free to contact us at No need to reinvent the wheel. We'd love to share anything we've learned.

Letter to Birthmother

Once "birth family" and "adoptive family" arrange the level of openness they will share, then comes the challenge of sensitive communication. We currently send quarterly updates to Hakon's birthmother. Our first update was pages long and included abundant details of his growth, development, and adjustment (as well as pictures).

I learned it can be a daunting task to convey your own emotions while still respecting that you cannot fully understand hers. After exposing myself to the stories of many birth mothers, I want to avoid any assumptions about her thoughts and feelings. Yet, I have so much warmth and care for her that I want to share.
I thought posting the last few paragraphs of our first letter might help other adoptive parents as they search for words:

(From 1st quarterly update-- closing paragraphs)

I couldn’t possibly express how much we adore and love Hakon. He has changed everything and turned our world upside down—all for the better! I tell my friends and family that “parenting is the hardest job I’ve ever done,” and that “nobody can prepare you for it no matter what they say.” It is also the biggest honor and privilege that you chose us to raise him. He has become so much a part of our is hard to imagine that just 2 ½ months ago, we were still waiting for you to find us. What a beautiful boy you've made!

My prayer for Hakon everyday as I hold his little body is that he will know how much he is loved-- by God first and foremost and then by all of his parents. My deepest desire is that we will raise him to know how valuable and loved he is. I pray he will grow to understand God’s overwhelming and passionate love and acceptance of him. I pray that he will grow into a man that grasps and digests life’s complexities with confidence. We pray that he will know God had a plan for his life since the beginning of time—a life with “hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11) .

Thank you, (birth mother's name) for your part in that plan.

Children's Book Recommendation

I Wished for You: An Adoption Story
By Marianne Richmond

I love children’s books, and I’ve tried to get a head start on reviewing and collecting stories that incorporate adoption. My favorite is “I Wished for You” by Marianne Richmond. I received this book as a gift from my mother upon Hakon’s arrival, and I was deeply touched by its representation of adoption in a tender, age-appropriate way. The story follows a conversation between a little bear named Barley and Mama, as they curl up in their favorite cuddle spot and talk about how they became a family. Barley asks Mama the kind of questions many adopted children have.

Mama Bear starts by telling Barley Bear, “A long time ago, a wish started growing in my heart. At first, it was a quiet wish that nobody knew. Then it become and out-loud wish that grew…and grew… and grew. Until one day, my wish came true!” Barley asks, “Why,” and Mama explains “I had an empty place in my heart that I wanted to fill wish love for a special child like you.”

When Barley asks about the mama “who grew me in her tummy,” Mama Bear explains “the mama who grew you loved you enough to make a different wish- a wish for a family who would love her little one with a total and adoring love… the kind I have for you!” The story goes on to describe all the special “wishing” that Mama Bear did during her wait for him. Barley asks about when he first came to Mama: “What did you do when you first held me?” Mama answers, “I fell deeply in love with you. I looked into your sweet face, and right then, you became my wish come true.”

Especially touching for trans-racially adopted children (but meaningful for all biological differences) is Barley’s question: “Mama, me and you are in the same family but we don’t look the same. You have dark fur, and I have light fur with brown ears. Is this okay?” With the simple wisdom all trans-racial parents hope to have, Mama answers, “Some families look alike, and others don’t. All families are different. What makes a family is their love for each other.” In the story, Barley decides this “makes sense” and that he “likes Mama’s answer.”

This book provides a balanced, respectful picture of the adoptive family and all involved in the “triad” while communicating the child’s value. Through adorable illustrations and careful words, this book will provide a great connection piece for parent and child.

Gentle Whisper

"...a great and powerful wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice..." 1 Kings 19: 10-12

I have heard adoption described as pregnancy of the heart. Unlike a pregnancy, however, it is difficult to pinpoint exactly when adoption begins to grow inside. When I ran across the scripture above, it reminded me of the way I first knew I would adopt. Pregnancies have a definite beginning at conception and announce the coming of a child with "powerful" physical changes, and the "earthquake" of labor. Adoption has to start differently. For me, the road to adoption began as a stirring of the heart—like a gentle whisper.

I can’t remember a time when adoption wasn’t in my heart. I've wanted to adopt children since I was a little girl, and the desire grew stronger in me day by day. Despite my resolve, when I began thinking about children, there was a temptation to over-analyze. I began to gather every bit of information available on adoption. I was distracted with the thought that there must be something out there I needed to know to confirm it—to prove that it really was what God had for me. I found resources rich with information on private vs. agency adoptions, trans-racial adoptions, birth-parent and adoptee stories, “openness” considerations, financing, spiritual perspectives, and the list goes on. Despite my best efforts, none of this could give me what had to come from that place only God can touch inside of me. While adoptive families will indeed need to become educated about several important issues, I needed to turn off the computer, put down the books, stop crunching numbers, and trust the whisper I had first heard.

Bringing Hakon into our family has been the single most edifying and “natural” experience of my life. My hope for others who are “thinking about” adoption and is that they would not get distracted from that whisper heard in the stillness. Listen to the whisper and let it grow. If there is a prompting in your heart, the rest may just be details.


As we prepared to bring Hakon home, we ran across all sorts of perspectives on adoption. One perspective is adoption as a “calling.” But, really, isn’t this just a Christian buzzword with many potential meanings? I’ve been thinking about what is meant when the word “calling” is used about adoption. I started by looking at some Scripture.

At the core of God’s nature is a father’s heart. Psalm 68 says, “His name is the Lord…a father to the fatherless …God sets the lonely in families.” Psalm 10:18 encourages us to “do justice to the fatherless.” Isaiah 1:17 tells us to “defend the cause of the fatherless.” James 1:27 states, “religion that is pure and undefiled before God is this: to care for orphans…in their affliction.” Though Scripture has something to say about it, it may be a mistake to read these verses and idealize the “call” to adoption. It’s probably over-simplistic to imagine we can bring a child home, provide love, and live happily ever after. However, if God’s love does compel us in this way, how should we view our role as adoptive parents? What can we expect to come in tow with if we act on this "calling?"

What of our role? While we are surely called to live lives of compassion, focusing on the desire to “do good” may leave an adoptive family inadequately prepared. Thinking of adoption as “saving” a deprived child is problematic for many reasons. As Christians, don’t we believe that we don’t have enough “good” in us to “save” anyone? Only God is good. Rather, if we view adoption as an expression of God’s love that we are privileged to experience (instead of a benevolent “giving”)—then perhaps we are on to something.

So what, then, can we expect? As with all parenting, I have come to expect challenges I cannot avoid and pain I cannot heal. I have heard it said that all adoption involves loss. Examples might include loss associated with infertility, loss of bonding during pregnancy, loss of birthparent relationships, loss of biological history, loss of culture, etc. The choice to adopt may bring these realities into your life, and they are worth exploration. However, if we believe God’s love is motivating adoption, we can be assured that He has a plan to work in the hard stuff—a plan not to harm but for hope and a future.

Read up on the experiences of those touched by adoption—birth parents, adoptive parents, and adopted children. You may be surprised to find that adoption is not always met with unconditional support. There are people who will challenge your motivations. Adoption may make some people uncomfortable-- even angry. You’ll face insensitive comments and invasive questions more often that you may think. You’ll need to consider the adoption experience as a part of your child’s developing identity on a daily basis.

While feeling compassion for children and wanting to share love is a wonderful thing, some would say that’s not a good enough reason to adopt. Be sure to take a thoughtful look at what you are considering. Listen to various opinions to balance your assumptions. In the end, this kind of preparation will only make your family stronger!

So, the question I came to ask is, "Do I have a true desire to love, raise and parent a child through the good and the bad and everything in between?"

International or Domestic?

My son and I have different complexions; I often get the question, “where is he from?” When I answer, “from here,” it is often met with surprise. My husband also had someone say to him the other day of domestic adoption, “I didn’t know they did that anymore.”

When we hear the word “adoption,” we may envision international children brought into American families. More and more are opening up to the idea of adoption, and many times they consider international adoption first. The adoption process is vastly different depending on the country (and the agency you use). So if you have a picture in your mind of the country from which you want to adopt, it is best to find out about the process very early.

While international adoption is a wonderful thing, it is not the only option. There are still multiple manners in which to adopt within the United States. Many people's minds go to the foster care system when domestic adoption is mentioned. Yes, there is a great need for adoption out of the foster care system. But there is also the need for infant adoption within the United States, your own state, and even your own locality. While the need for international adoption is important, my hope is that adoption within our own country is not forgotten.

In Glorifying the Father of the Fatherless, Jason Novac writes: “In the United States alone… there are over 129,000 children waiting for a daddy and mommy. There are also many mothers with unexpected pregnancies who want to choose adoption instead of abortion…”

There are challenges and blessings associated with both international and domestic adoption. After reflecting on why you feel called to adoption in general,” consideration for the unique aspects of both domestic and international adoptions and deciding which fits you may be an important preliminary decision.


In keeping with our promise to post on “preliminary decisions” of the adoption process, I’d like to introduce the concept of “openness.” At some point during the adoption process, a family will have to choose the amount of contact and information exchange they would like to have between birth family and adoptive family. It may be helpful to resolve feelings on openness early in order to find a match that is right.

Until recently, most adoptions were kept “closed,” which means no identifying information was provided between families. Many feel this has caused difficulty for those on all sides of adoption. Birth mothers may not have been extended a choice for contact with or information about her baby. Adoptees may have experienced restricted access to their own person information held by others. Adoptive parents missed the experience of seeing their child touched by more openness. But, now, open adoption presents the opportunity to handle adoption relations differently.
The concept of openness might be met with some discomfort in the beginning. Birth mothers may initially feel that contact may be too painful, disruptive, or otherwise difficult. Adoptive parents may initially fear the influence of birth parents as they hope to build a cohesive family. However, some recent stories reflect decisions made in the interest of the child and have been positively touched by openness.

Arranging the level of openness is not an “either / or” question. A minimal amount of openness might include the exchange of names, photographs, or descriptions that allow the birth parents to choose the adoptive families and vice versa. The greatest level of openness may include established relationships and ongoing contact of birth parents in the life of the child to some extent. Between these two extremes lies a spectrum of possibilities. Adoption agencies offer support in matching families with similar wishes and may help facilitate an arrangement that is enriching for adoptive parents, birth parents, and child.

Welcome Home

We became “pregnant by adoption” in January 2008 when we submitted our adoption application to an agency. We went into “the labor of our hearts” in August when we found out about a baby boy in need of a placement. Nearly nine months from the official beginning of our process, we brought home our precious son Hakon (pronounced “Hawkin”) in September 2008.

A year ago, I was asked if I wanted to blog on my adoption experience. At the time, I didn’t think I could share anything concise while finding my way through such an amazing and emotional experience.

Just as expanding a family the “old fashioned way” (biologically), there are quite a few things to consider when planning for the addition of a child. All the information that is “out there” about adoption can be daunting: some is helpful, some is truthful but overly-biased, and some is just downright insensitive and/or uninformed. We hope that our journey may be a resource to those curious about adoption.

A few times a week, we have people say to us, “I’ve always thought about adoption.” Stay tuned for posts on what we consider the “preliminary decisions” when clarifying a path toward adoption. For now, we want to share some words that touched our hearts—an anonymous poem:


Tonight as you lie sleeping
For the first time in your bed,
There must be something lasting
And profound that should be said.
But as your face is gazed upon
Framed by your soft hair
No words can quite express
The feelings that we share.
The wait is finally over
You’re home, at last, to stay.
And there will always be the memories
Of the joy that filled this day.
With a love that’s running over
By the sight of you alone
Welcome home, dear cherished one,
At long last … welcome home!