Together for Them adoption conference. One of the sessions we attended was called Adoption Myths and Realities. The speakers were Dave and Alicia Taylor who work with Campus Crusade and have five kiddos, two biological and three adopted. I enjoyed this session a lot and thought I would share some of my notes and insights from their talk.
The biggest message the Taylors had for the many people in the room considering and pursuing adoption was that we must trust God completely with every aspect of the process. In the absence of facts, both fears and fantasies about adoption can flourish. They emphasized that there is no "standard" process for adoption and everyone they knew who had adopted had unexpected changes in their plans or some way that it was not what they expected. Our plans are not God's plans, but "God is leading you to your unique child and you can trust Him,."
The Taylors have adopted their three kids domestically through semi-open adoption and they told us about that process and how they relate to the birthmoms. They talked openly about the myth/fear that if they adopt in the US the birthmom could come back any time to take back her baby. They talk openly with their kids about their birthmoms and even have photos of them in their home. The Taylors spoke about how important it is to make sure the agency is treating the birthmoms well and caring for them. One thing Alicia said she hadn't considered before adopting was the way they have been able to love on and share Christ with not just their kids but their birthmoms.
As a side note, I've seen this with close friends of mine who adopted two boys from the same mom locally. There are hard aspects of it but this couple has clearly demonstrated God's love to her.
Dave talked about his biggest fear was financial, not having any idea how they would pay for the adoption. He said that when we dismiss adoption because of cost we limit God and what He can do when He wants to place a child in our homes. They told an amazing story of receiving an unsolicited check in the exact amount to cover the adoption before they had even submitted their application. I've heard unbelievable stories like this over and over and even witnessed one firsthand. When God wants to accomplish something and we let Him use us, He will provide the means. He only wants our willingness to follow His leading and surrender control.
In the session we had a long discussion about transracial adoption, and the Taylors cited a 1995 study that demonstrated that transracial adoption had zero detrimental affect on the adjustment, self-esteem or relationships of the children. Everyone in the discussion mentioned having some difficulties with extended family members but they cautioned against rebuking ignorance at every turn. The Taylors suggested extending grace to your family, responding in humility and not self-righteousness, bringing them along on your journey.
Another myth they countered is the idea that you won't be able to love an adopted child as much as a biological one. They pointed out that even with bio kids, bonding doesn't just happen, it takes work. Twice on Saturday I heard that "attachment" isn't a feeling, it's a relationship. They did say, however, that another myth is that you will be able to act like a "normal" family, like pretending that the children weren't adopted. I thought it was a great point that "rejecting their past is rejecting the story God gave them."
The most important quote from Dave and Alecia Taylor I heard was the one they closed with, that reflects exactly how I feel.
"We want to live lives that don't just include God. We want to live lives that require God."
Linking up to We Are THAT Family this week.