Faith In Waiting
The Stearns' Journey to Adoption - Part 2
Kirsten & Andy Stearns have been married 8 years, their son Lincoln turned 2 in January 2016, and they are in the process of adopting a special needs child, we now know - a boy, from China. They have graciously agreed to chronicle their story from the very beginning of their heart opening to adoption to "gotcha day" and perhaps beyond... Follow along and share with those who may be beginning their own story of offering a waiting child a forever family!
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34
Our God-given dream began to take shape on July 4th, 2015 when we submitted an online application to our agency. We were still nervous about this big decision and we were also incredibly excited about the opportunity to grow our family through adoption.
Before submitting the application we did a significant amount of research on domestic vs. international adoptions, we did a lot of country comparisons, and were seeking an opportunity with both the greatest need for adoption, and a child that would be the best fit for our family. We ultimately decided to focus on minor/moderate special needs children in China and finalized our choice of agency. We had researched quite a few adoption agencies and grew to appreciate and respect several of them, but in the end, chose ours for multiple reasons including their large presence and significant experience in China.
Heading into the process we assumed that the biggest need in China would be for girls to be adopted, but after calls with multiple agencies we learned that there is a greater need in China for minor/moderate special needs boys. We were open to either gender and thrilled at the opportunity to bring home a little brother to add to our family.
We learned that the process would take 12-18 months and, because we like to think of ourselves as incredibly efficient and resourceful (though not always humble), we assumed that we could speed it up. However, our local home study agency had to complete background checks for Andy and I in twelve states, which took longer than expected.
Characteristically, we wanted to be in control of the process and quickly became frustrated when anything delayed the “made up timeline” we had created in our heads. God finally gave us a much-needed lesson when we were instructed to submit our third set of fingerprints with Homeland Security/FBI. The first two sets were fairly easily obtained - low key and nearby. The final set entailed a pre-scheduled appointment at a government facility downtown.
In addition to being rather prideful about our efficiency and resourcefulness, we pride ourselves for being on time all the time. When people complained about traffic, I always thought to myself that traffic can and should always be appropriately factored in and does not serve as a viable excuse for tardiness. Well, there we were in bumper-to-bumper traffic, at rush hour, on a Thursday morning, attempting to drop off our son for a play date in order to get downtown to our final fingerprint appointment. In separate cars because Andy had meetings in the city afterwards, we sat - sweating, praying and not able to talk to each other. We knew we'd be late. And, we had heard that if you miss this appointment you have to re-file some of your paperwork and take two steps backwards in the process.
Finally arriving 30 minutes late, we walked up to the security guard just as he closed the door behind us. Somehow we made it in. They were unusually busy that day and the line had wrapped around the building – allowing for our late admission. That evening we thanked God not only for getting us in the door, but also for the reminder that He is the One who is in control of our adoption process.
As we were finishing up our paperwork process in February, seven months after our initial submission, Andy got a call to change companies into a dream job. We were thrilled! We were also nervous that we might need to update our home study or other documents, delaying the process. We prayed and moved forward with the job only to find out that we miraculously were not required to update any documents. We were grateful that we moved forward with the job and reminded yet again that God is in control.
Our documents were sent to China at the end of February 2016, beginning the next phase of the process - waiting for a match, trusting, and praying. Although it seemed like forever at the time, we received a call on May 10th with our match - a remarkably quick turnaround!
We began on July 4th of 2015 and “met” our son via two photographs and a medical report on May 10th of 2016. It is embarrassing to count how many times we worried and fretted at any delays to our “make-believe schedule” only to realize AGAIN that God is in control and His timeline is “just right.” Our new son’s medical check-up in China was only completed at the end of February and he only became eligible for adoption in May! Our time of waiting has been a beautiful journey of reminders that our God is in control and He is fashioning our family according to His plan! As we wait for the invitation to travel to China, we rest in this knowledge.
pc: Dafne Cholet