KARA: "I understand you have adopted two little girls from Guatemala. We would love to hear your adoption story."
PAIGE: "We had five biological children and figured our family was complete. However, as I prayerfully read the scriptures (over a period of time in the year 2005), I kept feeling as if I had a work to do. I felt there was something specific the Lord wanted me to do. I started praying and asking that if there was something the Lord wanted me to do, that He would please help me to know. More time passed, and I did not feel I was receiving an answer and began to question myself about this whole feeling. One day as I was on the phone with a friend (not about this feeling I had been having. We were just talking about other things), it hit me exactly what He wanted me to do. The feeling was so strong, that I was unable to speak. My friend kept asking, “Paige, are you okay? Are you there?” Finally I regained composure and confided in her what had been going on. I was scared so I behaved somewhat as Jonah did when the Lord told him to go to Ninevah. I tried to hide. I was not sure that I could start such a journey because I felt as if things were fine as they were. I even prayed that this thought would leave me, but the more I prayed, the more the opposite happened. The feelings grew stronger and the desire consumed my heart. I still did not mention this to my husband. I suspected he would tell me I was crazy! Finally after a few months of “hiding” I approached my husband with this subject. He never did say I was crazy. He was really surprised when we already had a house full. But, he prayed about it and received the same answer. We started the process and after more prayerful consideration, we felt the Lord’s gentle pull towards the country of Guatemala. We thought that since the Lord clearly told us to do this that everything would go smoothly and fall perfectly in to place. Well, things did not happen this way. Apparently there were more lessons we needed to learn. It seemed that any problem that could happen, did happen. A whole host of problems including financial, severe problems with the birth mother’s paperwork to the point of being told we may not even be able to complete the adoption of one of our daughters, major lies and bribery of attorneys, etc. It did make us question if this was really the Lord’s will for us. Each time we prayed, He confirmed once again that this was what He wanted for our family. Finally in October 2008 we brought home our first daughter from Guatemala. Almost 2½ years after we accepted her referral. About 2 years longer than we had anticipated it would take. There had been major problems with Guatemalan adoptions. Up until this point, these adoptions could happen as quickly as 6 months. Then just 5 weeks after bringing Madison home, we returned to Guatemala and brought home our second daughter. I can testify that this is the Lord’s work because every step of the way was met with an incredible amount of opposition."
KARA: "Do you have any advice to offer those families who are interested in adopting?"
PAIGE: "Yes, I certainly do! My first bit of advice is to pray and make sure that this is what the Lord wants you to do. If you are sure it is, be prepared that it will not necessarily be easy. Let Him lead you in the direction that is best for your family. I honestly believe that God puts different kinds of adoption into our hearts. For example, if He told everyone to adopt internationally, then what would happen to our children in the foster care system here? Whether you adopt internationally or domestically, let Him guide you. Don’t fight Him. (I learned this the hard way). Do not let others’ comments sidetrack you. If you have received personal revelation that you should add to your family in this way, it is between you and the Lord.
Make sure that you are working with a reputable agency or attorney. Get feedback from anyone you know who has adopted. Ask how they felt about their agency. Pray about the agency before you begin. We almost got involved with a very shady agency because the man was so nice on the phone, but after praying about it, we did not get that peaceful “go ahead” feeling. Later we found out about many others who had lost thousands of dollars and never received a child.
Educate yourself by attending seminars, workshops, reading books on adoption. Go out of your way to talk to others who have adopted. Usually, adoptive parents are willing to give wonderful advice. Prepare yourself in every way you can. Read with an open heart and mind. Do not brush over things and think that everything will be easy for you. If you are adopting a child of another race, read information put out by adult adoptees and take advantage of their experiences about issues they would like to have had addressed in their lives. Learn from the mistakes of others.
Realize that when you bring your child home, your trials may not be over. We may think we are rescuing a child, but that child may not realize they needed to be “rescued” or even want to have been “rescued.” After all, that was the only life the child had known up until that point. It is hard for a child to be uprooted and he (or she) may be worried that you will give him away also. In fact, that child may try to push you away because he may not want to get hurt again. Don’t assume that it won’t happen to you. Assume it will and then if it doesn’t, you can be pleasantly surprised. Do NOT take these behaviors personally. Try to imagine how you would feel if this happened to you as a child and you had no control over it. It will take time!
If you already have biological children or children adopted as newborns, be prepared that you may not love your newly adopted child as much as you love your existing children (biological or adopted, really) immediately. Sometimes love takes time. Relax and do not focus on this fact. Sometimes love is a choice, or an action. If you adopt a child who is older, remember you are getting a child who already has certain habits, personality traits, etc. You can’t waste time “beating yourself up” if you do not have that “rush” of loving emotions. Love is not always a noun, it can also be a verb. We always hear about children who have a hard time attaching, but believe it or not, adults sometimes have a hard time attaching to their newly, older adopted children. Be patient with the child and be patient with yourself!
Enjoy your child. Get to know him (or her). Take it a day at a time. There will be trials, but the joy far surpasses these. It may just take some time. Sometimes love comes gently."
I'm so glad I asked Paige these questions. I really hope this part of the interview will help those who are trying to make that decision to adopt. Please pass this on to those you know who need it - or just refer them to this blog. Thanks so much, and we'll continue the interview tomorrow. Have a great day.