God's Child, Our Joy

An adoptive family's journey in faith and life

Weighing the Options

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Before I get into some of the thoughts around our decision, I should note that while we have a decision to make, it doesn’t mean that if we say yes we will for sure adopt later. We are only letting the birth mother know that we are willing and eager to adopt. It still remains her decision. She could choose another family, or decide to parent herself. We do feel that our relationship with her is good, and that she would choose us if she decided on that path. The final decision is still hers, but we must decide if we are going to be an option.

This week I posted our dilemma. Do we adopt this child so soon after Eva was born? We’ve been contemplating this decision for a while now, and it is maddening. We can list out the facts, and then spin it to be optimistic, or you can also be cautious with it.

Fact : There would be about 15 months between Eva and the child

->; Optimistic : Get the tough early years out of the way quickly. The children should form a tight bond.

->; Cautious : Even less sleep, two kids that still need constant attention, the teenage years will be insane.

Fact : We would have only one birthmother in our lives

->; Optimistic : Visits will be easier to coordinate. Eva will have a blood sibling.

->; Cautious : Unsure if the great relationship we have with our birthmother will change if we adopt two of her children.

Fact : We are a long ways away from March

->; Optimistic : No calls from the hospital the day of. We have time to wrap our minds around it.

->; Cautious : We have many months to worry, and the birthparents have many months to change their mind.

Fact : Our immediate family lives 9+ hours away.

->; Optimistic : We have extended family in Cincy. Our immediate family will come out to help if asked. Our friends in the area have been extremely helpful.

->; Cautious : If it becomes overwhelming, can we have support quick enough? For long enough?

Fact : We haven’t paid off our first adoption

->; Optimistic : Once tax returns come back next year, with the adoption tax credit we will be able to pay it off then.

->; Cautious : Is it fiscally responsible to do it again so quickly?

Fact : The tax credit is not yet renewed for next year

->; Optimistic : They probably will…hopefully.

->; Cautious : Does it make more sense to wait and build up the bank accounts?


So we can spin the facts any which way we please. What still eludes us is the direction we want to spin them. Being a complementary couple, we each naturally fall in opposite directions. I’m the optimist, who just feels that everything will work out. Steph is the cautious one of the both of us, who believes that things will work out only if you properly handle all the things that can go wrong. So, our natural dispositions cancel each other out, and we are still no closer to a solution.


A decision is influenced by the moments around the time you make it. Often called the recency effect, we tend to put much weight in the things we experienced more recently. It’s much better to play well in your last game of the season vs. game five when trying to win the Heisman trophy.

So what are our influences for this decision? If we had to make the decision within the craziness of Eva’s first month, it would have been an emphatic no. The lack of sleep, the lack of confidence, and the giant life change made another life change seem impossible. What are the influences this moment?

1. We are tired. Yes, this could be my status update 98% of the time, but we are more tired than we should be. A holiday weekend that threatened rain all weekend, only to spritz. Gloomy weather, more tired. Plus, with this decision bouncing around in our heads, it just wears us out by the end of the day.

2. Eva was sick, but happy. The sickness led to more diaper and outfit changes, but other than that she was perfectly happy and content. Even after adding another first (puking in the backseat on the way home from church), she was still pretty happy. However…

3. Steph was also sick (probably from the stress), and …

4. Scott had the hiccups. Don’t scoff at my hiccups. I once had hiccups for 3 days straight, and a sore back/chest afterwards. Steph couldn’t sleep with me, and I was the subject of much taunting at work(Scott, did you know that some guy had hiccups for 7 years! Thanks.) These only lasted for 45 minutes, but I hadn’t had a extended flare-up since my epic bout with them. Probably stress related, would be my guess.

5. Steph had just started school. Probably influenced the sickness, added to the tiredness. There was also a newness to the year, the specter of what could be, and some excitement for getting the eighth graders involved in planning this year’s show. Now, a maternity leave will all but eliminate Steph’s involvement in that show.

6. Eva had just run a gamut of awesome firsts, like crawling. Maybe this means she’ll be advanced enough to be able to help with a second?

7. The previous weekend, we had seen a couple from our parenting classes. They were going for their second child, and had a delay with him being deployed. Now, we saw them with a second child, and had to ask how they were doing. They had a new boy, and he was doing well. However, we found out that before this adoption went through, they had four failed adoptions. Adoptions can fail a number of ways, and in our adoption class we learned that sometimes birthparents change their mind and decide to parent, or often a relative (say grandparents) decide to parent in order to keep the child in the family. They are within their rights, and you hope that it works out for them. It is very difficult on the potential adoptive parents, and I just don’t know if we could handle four failed.

8. With crawling came a purge in the living room. All that topples and breaks must go! Must go, means must go into the basement. Our basement had become some sort of purgatory for “stuff”, waiting to see if it gets called back upstairs, or sent to goodwill. It’s starting to reach capacity down there now, and we have to start think about what to do with this stuff. Including….baby clothes.

9. Eva is now consistent. Well, in a way that we generally know when she’ll eat and when she’ll go to bed for the night. We have nights now that actually give us downtime.

So, our influences on the moment are a mixed bag. Some lean us away, some lean us towards.


So now what? We are still waiting for that text message from God to tell us what to do.


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