Other Husband & Wife Articles

Were We Adopting Problems?

 

By Devin Rose

My wife and I married in our late 20s and wanted to have children right away. So we eagerly awaited the end of each month to see if we had conceived, but after six months had passed, we began to fear that we might have a fertility problem.

Then she got pregnant. We were so thrilled that we told everyone right away, only to find out at our first ultrasound that the baby’s heart wasn’t beating. A month later, my wife miscarried our first child, whom we named John Thomas. A year went by of hoping to conceive again, working with the Pope Paul VI Institute to understand our fertility problem better, but no baby came. That’s when my wife brought up adoption.

Like most guys, I always assumed that I’d have children of my own and wouldn’t “need” to adopt, but reality turned out differently. My wife made a deal with me: if we didn’t conceive by the end of the summer, we would consider adoption. I agreed, and the months ticked by. Sure enough, summer ended with us still childless, so I kept my end of the bargain, and we started talking about adoption.

Devin and Kate Rose and their three adopted children

Devin and Katie Rose and their three adopted children.

I learned that adoption is done through three main avenues: domestic private, international, and through the state’s foster-care system. Most of our friends who had adopted went the international route, going overseas for children who no longer have connection to their birth parents. In domestic private adoption, a woman in the United States chooses to give her baby to another family through adoption. For couples who want a newborn or infant, domestic private and international adoptions are good options. Their main downside is the cost, which can run in the tens of thousands of dollars.

I wasn’t excited about paying that much money, especially knowing that there were children in our own town who needed homes. But the downside of adopting through the foster-care system was a big one: all of the children in the system have been removed from their parents due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment. Why would I want to take on someone else’s problem?

I didn’t know anything about being a father, and these children might have serious behavior problems that I wouldn’t know how to handle. Someone else messed up this child’s life through their evil actions. Did I really want to suffer the consequences of their bad decisions?

Those thoughts went through my mind, but when I took them to God in prayer, I realized that I was thinking on a purely human level. I remembered that God had adopted me and done so at a time when I was depressed and being consumed by fears, a young man without hope in the world. He had taken on my problems, ones that he hadn’t caused, and welcomed me like the prodigal son. Suddenly, I saw adoption in an entirely different light. By adopting, especially children with so-called “problems,” I would be doing what God did for me. Being a man, I am drawn to heroic actions, and the noble calling of adoption won out over my natural fears.

So we took the classes to get licensed for foster-care adoption and jumped through all the hoops, praying for wisdom in knowing what kinds of children we should be open to. During our home study, we told our caseworker to call us for children of any race who were two years old and younger. A month later, we got the call: twin boys, biracial, 7 months old, would we take them? Without hesitation, we shouted “Yes!” Shortly thereafter, we drove to the foster home of our future sons to meet them for the first time.

I didn’t know what to think: they were identical, light-brown little butterballs. I didn’t feel a rush of emotion telling me that I was “meant” to be their dad. Instead, I felt a little unsure of myself, but I remembered that love is an act of the will, a decision, and I had decided to love these boys. The emotions would come later. We brought them home, gave them new names, and have been loving them ever since.

But that’s not the whole story. As my wife and I were finalizing the adoption process, we surprisingly conceived on our own! Two months before my wife delivered our son Edmund, on Dec. 30, 2009, we got another call from the foster care agency, asking if we would take the sister of our two adopted boys. We said yes again, and now have a girl named Adele.

I never imagined that my family would take shape in this way – almost overnight, it seems, we have four children, after wondering if we would be able to have any. But I have come to accept that God’s ways are not my own, and I wouldn’t change that fact for the world.

Devin Rose is a 31-year-old software engineer and lay apologist who blogs at St. Joseph’s Vanguard. He and his wife, Katie, live with their four children in Austin, Texas.