There are a couple of benefits, I believe, to getting your referral early in the process rather than the way some countries do it where you wait until very close to time to travel. Let me spell them out for you.
Focused prayer – everyone I know who has adopted has prayed fervently for their child(ren) while the process was inching forward. However, I believe that when you can pray for an individual child and their specific needs, it helps. It encourages prayer, it makes the prayer more specific and it has the opportunity to more directly address the needs of the child while they wait.
Making it real – for not only the adoptive family but also for their friends and family, it helps to make the adoption seem more real. When you have a face and a name to go with an “idea” it helps make it more real and therefore helps people accept it, understand it and want to learn more about what it really means.
The other thing that the referral means is that you are entering “The Waiting Time.” When you are preparing your dossier, there’s a lot of stuff you can “do.” You can feel productive.
But now it’s all in other people’s hands. There’s nothing you can do except pray.
And that’s hard.
I don’t remember who to attribute this to, but I know it has touched me and has helped me many times.
Often we think, “God, won’t you show us the path? Just tell us where we’re supposed to go and what we’re supposed to do.”
God has said he will always lead us and will always guide us and be there for us. But He never said He would light the path.
Not the entire path.
No, what he said was, “Trust me, my child, and I’ll show you the next step. Take that step and come with me.”
For those times when we can’t see the path, may we all remember that God isn’t going to show us the entire path, but He will show us the next step.
If we trust Him.
I’ll never forget the day. It was August 17, 2003. Back in the days of dial up internet, we tied up our home phone line for HOURS every day waiting to hear from Dixie on who she would propose for us as our children.
And then it came. Two small pictures and a brief history on each of them.
And we were in love. It’s hard to imagine how quickly you can come to love someone you’ve never met. But we did.
Every month when it got to be about the “time” of the monthly update, we’d stay glued to the computer watching and waiting for the updates. We’d ooh and ahhh over the pictures, compare the weights and heights to see how much they have grown and share the information and pictures with our family and friends.
While it doesn’t do anything for the children to get to know their family, it sure helps the family get to know their children.
When we started the process, we really didn’t have any idea whether we wanted one or two kids and what age we’d like. A couple of things shaped our thinking on it and they are things that we’ve seen proven true over the last decade…….
If there’s a big age difference between your “current” kids and your new ones, you’re probably going to want more than one. In other words, having kids that are 14, 12, 9 and 2 would probably make you want more than one adopted kid – so maybe they are 14, 12, 9, 3 and 2.
If the kids you have in your family and the kids that you are going to adopt aren’t going to look like each other (and trust me, mine don’t), many people find that it’s good for the adopted child to not be the “only” one that doesn’t look like the others.
So we decided, thinking that we were rather experienced parents (so we thought) that we’d go ahead and adopt both of our kids at the same time. While I’m glad that we did, let’s just say the first 1 1/2 to 2 years were a blur.
It’s a decision that everyone needs to make on their own, given their own beliefs, their own experiences and their own family make up. For us, I believe that adopting two at once was what God was calling us to do. Our children were there and He wanted us to go get them then.