Long ago when I (Chey) imagined adopting, I always pictured myself adopting a child from another country. Not sure why, exactly, but I did.
Over the years as I learned more about adoption, I questioned my motives: was it selfish? Was it more glamorous? Is it simpler to have the adoption be closed? I began to swing the other way when Anthony and I began praying about beginning the process.
I felt strongly that we should adopt domestically. There are children here. Children with special needs (something I also have felt inclined toward about for quite a while). But Anthony felt just as strongly (or more) that we should adopt from South Korea.
I began to look into the process and discovered a few things. First, it was the most expensive adoption process for an American family. Second, South Korea was locking down international adoption HARD.
All the forums and communities were saying that it was next to impossible for Americans to adopt at this time. Tragically, many stories were surfacing about Korean adoptees who were deeply depressed, and in some cases, had committed suicide from lack of cultural understanding and identity. South Korea wanted to make it very easy for their citizens to adopt, and deeply restrict adoption from outside the country to protect its children.
This information I brought to Anthony as further proof that it wasn't for us. He (to my annoyance) stood firm. We decided to take a month to pray individually, and come back together to discuss what we felt the Lord encouraging us to do. I did the mature thing, and prayed diligently that God would change Anthony's mind. And naturally, God changed mine.
Here's something I've been learning about Korean culture: the values of their social system are deeply rooted in their parentage. When I lived there for a month, the first question asked of me was always, "What do your parents do?" Because of this, the idea that you would bring into your family a child whose parents are not only unsuitable, but unknown, is taboo. So even though the country was creating lots of incentives and opportunity for domestic adoption, there was no notable increase.
I began to see changes on the forums. Children were available and the timelines were shorter than they had ever been. South Korea has the strictest requirements for adoptive parents of any country...and not only did we meet them ALL, we happen to be their most preferred candidates.
We were a family with a parent of Korean heritage where practicing the language and culture was still part of our life. This child would have a parent who shared their cultural identity; who not only knows and celebrates their native culture and tongue, but understands and has experienced discrimination. And most of all, God showed me how special my husband was. How despite all his cultural upbringing, expectations, and even potential backlash, he still wanted to adopt.
Of hundreds of families I encountered hoping to adopt from South Korea...we were one of the most ideally positioned.
So my heart shifted. We prayed and decided together to move forward; trusting God to prepare us, financially, mentally and emotionally. We pray for the sweet mother who may have only just found out she is pregnant: terrified, overwhelmed, and about to undergo one of the most painful experiences of loss one can endure. And we pray for the precious little one that will find its way into our hearts and home.
Adoption can be a beautiful picture of the heart of God. But it is born, literally, of trauma and brokenness. The joy we will find in welcoming this child into our family, might be the birth mother's deepest sorrow and wound. The child will have hard questions and struggles to wrestle with, likely for most of his life. We know that our part in the triad (adoption language for birth mother, adoptee, and adoptive parents) is the least important. We don't adopt for what it can do for our lives and hopes and dreams: we adopt to do our best to create an environment of safety by nurturing this child through what will inevitably be a lifelong journey of discovering identity; pointing him or her to Christ, and offering all of the love that we have to give.