This week, we have chosen to focus our posts on adoption- in honor of National Adoption Month. During the next week, we will share the stories of five different women whose lives have each been radically impacted by adoption.
Hope and I (Laurel) met years ago through a homeschool choir ministry and, since then, have had a fun ebb and flow of interests and life phases, through photography (we studied photography from the same school – and she was our wedding photographer!), home-based business, and now as moms of two rambunctious boys each. Hope and her husband Caleb are currently pursuing adoption of a sibling group from Central America. I’ve so appreciated her open, honest, and Gospel-centered perspective on the entire process — and I am so grateful that she has willing shared this journey with you all through this guest post, even in the midst of extensive and time consuming paperwork. Thank you, Hope! (P.S. Make SURE you make time to visit her Etsy shop, full of beautiful artwork that Hope has created. The proceeds benefit their funding for their adoption process.)
C&T: What are the current demographics of your family?
Hope: We have two boys! 4 and 2 years old, and we are seeking to adopt siblings from Costa Rica. While we don’t know what their ages will be yet, we expect for birth order to change.
C&T: What led you to consider adoption?
Hope: Honestly, I have had the desire to adopt for so long, I don’t even remember when it first began! It has always been a talking point for my husband and I, from the time we were first together. As God brought us closer to the point of being able to adopt, we also grew in our spiritual understanding of our adoption through Christ and became passionate to care for people in suffering. At that point, our prayers changed from wondering if we should adopt to asking God for direction on how to act on that desire. God has been so gracious to confirm our direction in so many ways. There are many threads throughout our lives – things we did not see at the beginning of this journey – that we now see God wove together beautifully to prepare us for this calling. The story isn’t done yet, and I’m excited to see what the Lord has in store for us – both difficult and beautiful.
C&T: Did you foster before you adopted? Was it a domestic or international adoption? Closed or open?
Hope: We have not fostered before, but we definitely considered it as one of the possible routes for adoption and remain open to it for the future. For various reasons, we settled on international adoption from Costa Rica. I will say when you are faced with the decision of which “route” to take, it can be heartbreaking to have to choose as you become more keenly aware of the need and saying yes to one feels like saying no to another and you wonder if you chose the right thing. Ultimately you have to remember that orphan care, in whatever amount, is needed and necessary. There are all kinds of kids from all kinds of places that need love and care. There is no wrong choice.
C&T: How did you decide the when and where of your adoption process?
Hope: Our ages and the inter-country adoption requirements narrowed down the field considerably. There were so many other factors involved too, like timing (how long did they estimate the process would take?), cost, how long the out-of-country stay was, etc. Adopting through a Hague convention country was also important to us. We talked a lot with our agency, and they were able to advise us some on what kind of placements they were seeing from different countries and how the kid’s needs might mesh with our abilities. Ultimately, when we realized we wanted to adopt two kids, based on what we learned about the different country programs, Costa Rica was the obvious choice. That decision wasn’t finalized until several months into the process, though.
C&T: What have been the top 3 challenges of your experience?
Hope: Well, we are only half way through this process, but this is what I came up with so far:
1) The timing of paperwork doesn’t always go as planned. And sometimes for no good reason! You just have to be patient.
2) Saving/raising enough money fast enough. I will add to this though, that the money has always been there right when we needed it!
3) With 2+ years of waiting, and all of the heavy knowledge you acquire during the process, there is a lot of temptation to worry. It’s a fairly unique situation in life, because you stare down an intense life change ahead of time, knowing that it carries trauma and grief with the beauty. But! It builds your faith. You absolutely have to bank on the fact that when God has called you to this, and you know He is undeniably faithful in character, then he will sustain you through whatever happens.
C&T: What have been the top 3 blessings of your experience?
1) Getting to share with others why we are adopting and it opening a lot of conversations. Also seeing them catch the vision for orphan/foster care.
2) Getting to see my kids hearts be more open and thoughtful to loving others, especially those in suffering.
3) How much it has built our faith already!
C&T: If there is one thing you would want people to know about the process of adoption, what would it be?
Hope: It’s normal to be fully committed and yet afraid at the same time. I have been so comforted by many adoptive mamas who have gone before and said even as they were landing in the country – they were scared spitless! It’s a crazy emotional process, and you’ll feel it. Adoption is a lot to process, both practically speaking with the paperwork and finances, and also with processing all of the education and mental/spiritual preparation needed to take on parenting kids from hard places. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it! Just know where you anchor and hope is, and don’t be afraid to reach out for support.
C&T: How do you want to be supported?
Hope: Right now so many forms of support are an encouragement. I feel like different people in our lives are given different abilities to support us, and each one is meaningful and important. Monetary gifts are incredibly humbling and needed (Caleb and I both work 2-3 jobs right now each in order to avoid debt), but also when a friend takes it on themselves to learn about trauma parenting so they can better support and understand what we are undertaking, that means an incredible amount as well. Prayers, words of encouragement…we’ll take it all! After the adoption, I’m sure words of support and encouragement, meals, a listening ear, and respite will be really important for us.
C&T: What would be your advice to someone else going through the same experience?
Hope: If God has laid on your heart the desire to adopt, don’t let cost be the inhibiting factor against it. Even though the math never quite worked out in our heads ahead of time, step by step it IS working out. There are so many great resources out there for parents wanting to adopt debt-free, as well as interest-free loans and benefits from employers.
Also, find other adoptive moms you can talk to who have walked the road before you. Their wisdom and encouragement is invaluable!
C&T: Do you have any ways that we can help support you as you raise funds?
Hope: Yes! My Etsy shop, Instagram, and Pure Charity (this campaign is closing at the end of this month! Donations should be tax-deductible and will go directly to our agency): https://www.purecharity.com/helms-adoption
I’m Hope Helms – a wife, mom, artist and entrepreneur. I love Jesus, and nothing gets me more excited than infusing creativity and simplicity into every day life and inspiring others to do the same. Most days you’ll find me doing ordinary mom related tasks, including homeschooling, with a bunch of coffee, mac ‘n’ cheese, and messy art thrown in. All while I dream about business strategies and creative projects that may or may not ever happen!
Catch up on the other posts in this series:
Part 1: An Interview with Elisabeth Ream: A Story of International Adoptions on the Ground
Part 3: An Interview with Kathryn Thompson: The Story of an Adoptee
Part 4: An Interview with Kristin Campbell: A Story of Multiple Adoptions
Part 5: An Interview with Christa Adams: Foster Care & Domestic Adoption