Author Kim Patton
Heavyweights: Thoughts on Adoption and Foster Care
I will be honest and say I’ve been thinking about writing this article for weeks. The original plan was to write about the ins and outs of private adoption, foster care, adoption through foster care and even touch on international adoption. It was heavy on my heart, too heavy for me to keep locked in.
But I realized one major flaw after I wrote the rough draft. I am not qualified to speak in depth about adoption and especially not foster care. It was ambitious and prideful for me to think that our personal experience with private adoption gives me the right to be a spokesperson about all things pertaining to adoption.
So, I am sorry.
If you hang on with me, I’d like to take this from a different angle. My heart behind this article is to ask you a question, then you can take it from there.
Are you drawn to the ministry and lifestyle associated with adopting a child or children, and/or taking in a child or children into your home? Are you motivated to love orphans in the form of a commitment to caring for them face to face? Body to body? Heart to heart? At your kitchen table and in your living room?
If you are, please know that your concern is valid and your desire is to help is celebrated and appreciated. But I also feel your deep ache. I know what it’s like to want to help, but not know what to do. I also know what it’s like to be scared to do anything, and how the feelings of inadequacy can overwhelm the desire to be there for a child in need.
Many have expressed to me their desire to adopt “one day.” From my first mission trip in high school to just recently, I hear it often. Adoption is a huge commitment: you are altering your family and choosing to love one human being for as long as they live. I understand why it may sound like a great idea but not feel possible.
Though the wish and the desire is admirable, it’s hard to accept that there are so many kids desperate for homes. It feels like a never-ending, nightmarish cycle of heartbreak.
Seeing adoption and even the fringes of foster care life up close, the need is overwhelming. Because Kevin and I aren’t involved in foster care; I wish and hope for more people around me to do it to make up for my lack. I won’t get into the details of the training and the challenges that come with fostering children who have suffered trauma, but if you have looked into it, you know the cost.
So let me ask you; is adoption or fostering a “one day” wish for you? Is it something you can see yourself doing later in life? Can I test you for a second and ask you to bring it before God to ask if He wants you to get involved...now?
Now sounds scary, I know. Now sounds impossible. Now sounds un-doable.
But at any given moment in the state of Florida, there are thousands of kids who are living without their parents. There are hundreds whose parents have no rights to them, so they are essentially orphans. There are foster parents who are overwhelmed, in over their heads, and lacking support.
I hate this. I hate that this is the world in which we live.
And I can’t take those kids in right now. Kevin and I are raising two beautiful girls who test and try me daily. God is stretching me so much in these little years. There are days where I am crumpled on the couch or crying into my steering wheel, wondering why He thinks I have the strength to do this. And then somehow, He gives me the strength to get through the moment, get through the day, get through the week.
I am still here and I want you here with me, too. If your arms ache to hold a hurting child, if you have an extra bedroom, if you are an empty nester, if you will train to learn about trauma and healing, then maybe it’s your time to help. Or maybe it’s your time to pray about supporting someone else who is doing the parenting.
In no way am I saying I know all the things about foster care and adoption in Florida. I wish I did. But I have resources and know people that can help answer your questions if you are seriously and sincerely interested in foster care or adoption. The commitment is huge, but the need is so glaringly obvious that we can’t afford to ignore it.
If you want to do more but feel that your hands are tied, please reach out to me. I would love to pray for you. It’s not much, but it’s what I can offer.
Here’s to all our “one day” wishes and the God who sees every orphan’s heart, today and always.