Thursday, October 28, 2010

One Phone Call

This afternoon, as I was getting ready to go out the door to pick Macieo up from school, I got a phone call.

It was a woman from DHS that I had never met before. She just had a quick question for me.

Now, I get all sorts of phone calls where people have questions. A friend calls and asks, "Can you have lunch?" My mom calls and asks, "How are you doing?" My husband calls and asks, "What are we doing for dinner tonight?"

But this call was a little different. She said the following:

"I have a three-year-old little boy I am needing to place. He's currently in a temporary foster home. His parental right have been terminated, so he's needing to find a forever family. There's really nothing else that needs to be done, other than finding a permanant home for him. Would you and your husband be interested in adopting him?"

Just like that. All in a days work, right? There is a little boy who needs to be adopted. No warning, no long, drawn out history or process. Just a question.

I was saddened, because typically this situation would be ideal for Nate and I. We often talk about wanting to adopt an older child. While I adore babies and would love to raise one of my children from infancy, we are very aware of the fact that Macieo is already eight, and he will be significantly older than any other children we may have or adopt. So we would be very open to adopting an older child.

Unfortunately, there are some circumstances in our lives right now that led us to say no to this woman's question. It wouldn't be good right now for us, or for that little boy, if we adopted.

So I politely said no, and we hung up the phone.

Just like that.

And after we ended the call, I just sat there in stunned silence over how simple the whole conversation had been.

But I was struck by the magnitude of what had just happened.

There is a healthy, loving, little boy out there who belongs to no one.

His parental rights have been terminated, so he currently has no parents.

He belongs to no one.

And this broke my heart more than I can express. This is not right. This SHOULD NOT BE. Every little child should belong to someone.

I think I was struck by this because in so many cases, when we think about or talk about adoption, we see things from in international perspective. The need across the world for adoptive parents is staggering. Often when we think of orphans, we think of malnourished, neglected children in exotic faraway places. And while those children are desperately in need of our help, too, we rarely hear the word "orphan" and think of a place like "Ankeny."

But there is a little boy, in Ankeny, at this very moment, who belongs to no one.

And that is just not right.

So I don't really know what I'm trying to get at with this post, other than I feel really overwhelmed by the fact that a woman is going down a list of names right now, making brief phone calls, trying to find a family for this little boy. It could be that easy.

While some families live through the agony of waiting years and doing mountains of paperwork and visiting third world countires to bring home their beloved children, there is a little boy somewhere in my own community who needs a family today. No paperwork. No travel. No waiting. He belongs to no one. He needs a mom and a dad.

It breaks my heart to think of the baggage that this little boy will carry around for the rest of his life. Because at three, he's old enough to be aware that he is without a family. And it breaks my heart that right now, we can't take him. We can't be the family he needs.

So I pray that before the day is over, this worker will find someone who can take him, and love him, and teach him that families are forever, and life doesn't have to be so scary and uncertain, and that there's a big God who created and cares for him, and that he's worth loving.

Calls like these break my heart, but they also kind of put things in perspective. We've got it so good. There is a crisis, world-wide, where literally over 140 million children are without homes. And this problem starts in our own backyard.

I hope and pray that more that more people will stand up and be willing to be part of the solution. I hope and pray that someday, if I receive another phone call like that, I'll be in a place where I can say yes.

I pray, that very soon, that little boy belongs to someone.


Jennifer said...

What a heartbreaking situation!

My husband and I have just recently, within the last week, decided that we're ready to pursue adoption through the state of Iowa. I was wondering if you would be willing to share your experiences or insight with me (or the entire blog world) regarding what it's like to work with the state. Is there anything that we should be particularly mindful of as we begin this process? Any words of wisdom from someone who has been there and successfully navigated the system would be much appreciated.

Marti said...

Thanks for sharing Lindsay...I will be praying for him as well. So unfair.

Karen said...

While I'm sure it was a sad, and hard, yet easy decision for you to make, your honesty, compassion and empathetic attitude seem like more than a lot of people have given to this child (aside from this woman earnestly looking for a family for this boy). Your realization in the fact that it wasn't the right time is an honest, yet humble answer. You could've answered with the attitude that you want to "save all the babies" and taken him and it not worked out for you or him or Macieo. I'll be praying that he finds a forever home full of love.

Jen said...

Wow, Lindsay. That is heartbreaking. I love your honesty, though. And what a great perspective about how no one ever thinks of "orphan" and "Ankeny." May God quickly give that little boy a forever family.

Leah said...

Amen. And I want to say that I am really proud of you and Nate that you have gotten involved in this process at all. Chris and I talk about what will happen if we find out we can't have biological kids, or that it will be a long and expensive process--and we have decided that we would adopt rather than go through the whole painful process, given that there is such need in the world, as you have pointed out.
Thanks for being a voice on this, cuz. love ya.

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