A Haiti Adoption Story: The Fuhrman Family
It has been such an honor to walk with America World families through their adoption processes as their social worker for the past 6-1/2 years. My family began our own personal journey of adoption almost 5 years ago, and brought home our son from Haiti [in September 2018]! It was a long, grueling process of waiting, which I honestly believe was a gift. The waiting season prepared our hearts, not for the magic of adoption but for the complexity of adoption.
I passionately try to prepare my families to alter their expectations, be flexible, and prepare their homes with strategies unlike any they have ever had to implement before. Like many families, we entered the adoption process will all sorts of ideas about how it would look for our family. Choosing to start the adoption process, doing the paperwork, and agonizing over the wait for referral was the easy part. As soon as I met our son for our two-week bonding trip in Haiti, I knew that this was not a fantasy. There was a boy with a story that would take years and years to understand, a set of fears and behaviors that scared me, and a personality that was a mystery. I had to recognize that this was not about me or building my family. This was about this stranger who would change everything that I had so carefully built my life to be. This was about this perfectly made little boy whom I would have to actively choose to love despite my feelings. This was about teaching my other children about family and love and compassion not through a fairy tale, but through chaos and pain. This was about entering into my son’s grief and loss and fear, not seeking quick strategies or interventions. This was about following God’s desire for the fatherless to have families, not because it would bring me happiness but because through entering into my son’s loss I would see God’s heart.
If you are considering adoption, I would encourage you to reflect on a few things. What is your motivation for adopting? Are you prepared to lay down your expectations and desires to help your child in whatever way they need? As people advocating for orphans, I believe our first action should be to help keep children with their biological families. Have you supported organizations that are employing vulnerable mothers, or are providing prenatal care? If you are already along in the adoption process, I would prepare your heart for very strong feelings, especially in the first few months. Surround yourself with people who understand that your family is about to embark upon a parenting journey that will look different from other families. Have a few close family members or friends who are prepared for you to call them and tell them the honest truth about how you are doing. Do not be afraid to admit sadness, regret, or loss. In some ways, these feelings are gifts and will give you insight into how your child may be feeling too. Lastly, put together a strategy that you will use to remind yourself of your child’s preciousness. There will be moments when you will forget this, so whether it is a sign on your refrigerator or a song that you have on repeat, have a reminder in place.
Although adoption is not and should not be the only way to care for children living without a family, it can be a beautiful way that God is asking you to consider. Adoption is a story, right in our own home, of how loss and pain can coexist with love and acceptance. How grief can be embraced with the same fervor as joy. How racial inequality and identity can be recognized alongside privilege. How brokenness, redeemed by God, can be beautiful. The privilege of adoption is that God can use our inadequate selves to enter into the stories of our children and walk alongside them, whatever their journeys might look like.
If you are considering adoption, know that there are countless children waiting for a family. America World would be honored to lead your family through the adoption process and grow your family through God’s plan of adoption.
In addition to all of the information on our website, we would love to send you our free adoption information booklet. The booklet provides an overview of the adoption process and all that America World is doing to care for vulnerable children around the world. Request your book here.