November 2016: Find Your Place

By: Jessica Morales, Alabama CASA Network Development Director
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Writing about adoption has become somewhat of a hobby of mine. For several years I have written an adoption blog called mrsblogbacktome, and it is such a joy to get to share some thoughts with you from this platform.

Adoption is my world – both professionally and personally. Professionally, I have the honor and opportunity to work for an organization that strives to attain permanency for children who have endured actions against them that are both unwarranted and unthinkable. Personally, I have spent the last three years of my life working toward bringing children into my home through adoption who are all but forgotten. Adoption, orphan care, caring for the fatherless, it is my whole world. I’m so thankful that I have the opportunity to share it with you, and I hope that it encourages you to find your place in this world as well.

On paper, my adoption story began three Novembers ago, also known as three Adoption Awareness Months ago. As a twenty-something-newlywed, I checked a box on a card at a fundraising event that indicated that my husband and I wanted to find out about applying to adopt a child. We had talked about this and prayed about this decision at length, but just days later, we received a packet in the mail with an application, and the course of our lives was forever changed. Truly, though, my adoption story began many years before that night, when I was a college student interning for an orphan care organization in Alabama. For the first time in my life, I saw up close the vast need for families to care for children who did not share their DNA. Much like many of you, I was a spectator seeking a place to jump in, and I’m so thankful that I have been able to fully submerge my life into such a cause.

There is so much that I want to share with you about this topic that is so near and dear to my heart, however this is neither the time nor the place for much of what I would like to say. If you visit my blog (which is a great way to hear more about my adoption story and all of my frazzled thoughts), you’ll see that I tend to be on the longwinded side of things. But, in an effort to be concise, I will just share one of the most important things I’ve learned with you and it’s this: There is room for us all at the adoption table.  

Three years ago we began the international adoption process of a little boy, under the age of two from Ethiopia. We knew a few things when we began this process: 1) This probably wouldn’t be our only adoption; 2) Our next adoption would probably be domestic because of the long waiting lists that is the current climate of international adoptions; and 3) The wait for our son from Ethiopia would be very long, but we would not stop pursuing him unless we were told we had to. After two and a half years of waiting, several setbacks, and quite a bit of heartache, we decided begin a concurrent domestic adoption process. There was so much that went into that decision, but best part is that it was a success and our daughter was born in Texas in September! While we still continue to wait for our son from Ethiopia, we are so thankful for the setbacks and waiting because it led us to our beautiful baby girl, Brighten.

So, how does this all fit into the topic of filling in the adoption table topic? It’s absolutely everything. Many people have asked us why we decided to adopt internationally when there is such a need in the United States. Others have asked us why we would begin another process while we were waiting for a child already. “Isn’t that expensive?” they ask, and yes, it is, and yes, I do work for a nonprofit J. I’m sure there are more insightful responses I could come up with that are more eloquent and all of that, but my true answer is this: Because there’s a need.

That’s just it – there is room for us all at the table because there is such a need for us to all be there. Whether you adopt domestically, internationally, out of the foster care system, become a foster parent, volunteer for respite care, become a CASA volunteer, give financially to an orphan care organization, or something else, caring for children who need families takes all of us coming together to do our part. There are approximately 153 million orphans world-wide, and to reach them all means that we all have to do something.

I’m so thankful for things like National Adoption Awareness Month that call our attention to the need for people to stand in the gap for children all over the world. I’m so thankful for organizations like the one I interned for and like CASA who provide practical and needed services to children who have been abused or neglected. And most of all, I am thankful for people like you, for the seat you will fill at the adoption table. In November, we all talk about the things we are thankful for which is such a wonderful practice! I would like to say, from the absolute bottom of my heart, and on behalf of my daughter and my future son, I count you among my most treasured blessings because of the role you play in their lives, and the lives of millions of children just like them.