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.
Today, I (Laurel) am delighted to introduce you to my friend Kristin. Kristin and I met a couple of years ago through mutual friends (it was at a Young Living oils class!). Kristin’s heart and spirit are so gentle and sweet – something that I know you’re going to pick up on easily today as she shares candidly about her and her husband’s journey of adopting their three children.
C&T: What are the current demographics of your family?
Kristin: We are a tri-racial family. Greg and Kristin (Mom and Dad! White), Madalyn (age 10, Latino), Isabella (age 7, White), and Corban (age 2, Black – he’s bi-racial, but on many official forms, the race of the birth father is used to determine the race of the child).
C&T: What led you to consider adoption?
Kristin: We received a calling to adopt after seven years of marriage; we had not “tried” for kids yet, and as far as we know we can conceive, but we realized pretty quickly that the LORD had adoption in mind for our family. All three adoptions are completely unique and were fully God-led! It was amazing!
C&T: Did you foster before you adopted? Was it a domestic or international adoption? Closed or open?
Kristin: Our oldest daughter was adopted from Guatemala — it was a wonderful, beautiful experience! We waited 16 months and brought home a precious little one. From start to finish, it was one of the best experiences of our lives! God was so close at every step. The LORD taught us HOPE!
Seven years later, we felt the stirring again to adopt, and began the process again with our agency – this time, we were open to anything: domestic, foster-to-adopt, international. The day before our first meeting with our caseworker, we received a phone call from a family friend about a birth mom that was due to give birth to a boy soon, and would we be interested? She said she had been praying for the baby and heard the LORD whisper our names. We just knew this was God. It is a private, open adoption (we know both birth mom and birth dad). One of the biggest blessings was that I got to be in the hospital room when he was born–the hospital gave us our own room, so we had skin-to-skin time immediately and we got to bring him home from the hospital. The LORD taught us JOY!
Seven short months later, we were just coming up for air from our “newborn” experience (lol!). We received another phone call from a friend about a little girl named Isabella. Isabella was four years old and had lived with four families at that point. She had been adopted by a family through CPS and it was disrupted, so she came to us via a “re-adoption.” I honestly had never heard of this before, and it was very painful and difficult for all of us to process. It has been two years, and each day has been strenuous. Isabella has attachment issues that impact her on a daily basis. Life is hard for her. She has made HUGE strides, but our family is forever marked by this precious little girl — we are still learning how to parent her most effectively. God is teaching us GRACE!
C&T: How did you decide the when and where of your adoption process?
Kristin: When we received the undeniable call to adopt Madalyn (it was EVERYWHERE we turned!), we knew we wanted to adopt internationally and from Latin America. We had done short-term mission work in Peru, so thought that might be an option. We went to an info meeting at the Gladney Center for Adoption since it was down the street — and walked out of the there three hours later sold on them and their Guatemala program! The other two precious ones came to us through private adoption — people who knew our hearts for adoption. We had two or three other opportunities to adopt privately that never came to fruition. God places children in the homes He ordains!
C&T: What have been the top 3 challenges of your experience?
Kristin: Our first two adoptions were marked by joy, hope and light. It was full of all the beauty that adoption can bring. When we met Isabella, we got to experience the other, very real side of adoption: brokenness, heartache, pain, loss, rejection, shame, grief. It has been an experience that has changed us, strengthened us by breaking us – but it is a privilege to have a front-row seat in watching Him transform her heart.
Madalyn: Madalyn struggles the most with identity; she has a strong love for her Guatemalan people, and a heart for the lost; she sometimes feels “guilty” for celebrating July 4th, for instance – so we make sure to celebrate Guatemala in all the ways we can.
Corban: Having an open adoption has its challenges. We have recently had to stop seeing the birthparents due to personal decisions they have made – choices that we don’t feel best to have our kids be around. I think I have had to understand my role as Corban’s mom and trust that the LORD placed him with us and that its okay for us to keep him healthy and safe.
Isabella: Adopting out of birth order does impact a family unit! We didn’t realize it until afterwards, and its His plan of course, but we did have to adjust. And we had to learn a whole new language (vocabulary, brain-based study, parenting techniques, etc.) concerning adopting a child from a hard place.
C&T: What have been the top 3 joys of your experience?
Kristin: Realizing that Jesus wants to know and save each one of these kiddos is the PRIMARY JOY! He plucked them for all different reasons out of their families of origin and placed them with us where He would be pointed to as the Way! It’s the Gospel before us! And helps me understand my salvation as His adopted child so much better!
C&T: If there is one thing you would want people to know about the process of adoption, what would it be?
Kristin: Wait on the LORD, hear from Him and if He gives you a call to adopt, get on board — it will be a wild ride!
C&T: How did you/do you want to be supported before and after the adoption took place?
Kristin: Our biggest needs today are prayer and respite care. Isabella’s special needs impact all of us on a daily basis – the biggest being a drain on energy and depletion of joy (being completely honest!). We are blessed to have family and friends nearby who take the kids so Greg and I can have a date once in awhile.
C&T: What would be your advice to someone else going through the same experience?
Kristin: One of the biggest suggestions I can give is to know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE! And, SEEK HELP! My husband was pivotal in deciding it was time to put the girls in school (we have homeschooled previously and have chosen to place our children in public school next semester) — he came to my rescue! It is hard for this former perfectionist to ask for help! I am a little nervous, but also excited to see what the LORD has planned for the girls as they start school. I just get to be “mom” and that makes my heart sing!
The other biggie is DO NOT NEGLECT YOUR MARRIAGE! We were pastoring a church during all of this transition of growing our family (my husband was bi-vocational), and through a series of God-ordained events, the church plant we were pastoring ended peacefully. We can see God’s Hand of provision and tender love in letting that go in our lives — we were running below empty, on ALL levels. Sometimes our biggest disappointments become His biggest blessings. We have since found a wonderful church home and are beginning to purposefully work on our four walls, starting with our marriage, which always took a back seat to parenting and church work. God is good, faithful and omnipotent!
C&T: Do you have any blog links/websites/fundraising links we can share for you?
Kristin: A dear friend who worked as an advocate for Corban’s birth mom is adopting twins from Taiwan: adoptingtheekpos.wordpress.com
Kristin Campbell makes her home in Fort Worth and loves Jesus, His creation, coffee, and doing anything with her husband, Greg. They have have been married sixteen years and make their home with three beautiful kiddos, Madalyn, Isabella, and Corban. They are about to make a move to the country so life is about to get quieter and slower. She is looking forward to seeing the stars at night!
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 2: An Interview with Hope Helms: The Journey to Adoption
Part 3: An Interview with Kathryn Thompson: The Story of an Adoptee
Part 5: An Interview with Christa Adams: Foster Care & Domestic Adoption