road·block [rohd-blok] –noun
an action, condition, etc., that obstructs progress toward an objective.
On Wednesday, September 8th — Steve and I officially submitted our formal application to Bethany Christian Services. Unfortunately, within minutes of hitting that submit button, our assigned caseworker called to inform us that we were not eligible to pursue a domestic adoption due to my husbands previous marriage and the fact that we have not been married for 5 years. My first frustration was why this was not specified or asked the preliminary application. That would have eased a great deal of rustration and devastation for us. Secondly, I was a little taken back as to how quickly and insensitively we received that call. I was so upset with what I was hearing that could barely complete the conversation as I began to cry as I received this news. Hitting that submit button was a VERY exciting moment for us as we were about to begin our adoption journey, and to receive that call so quickly was shocking. I guess things are black and white and no further discussion or understanding of the circumstances are necessary — which seems unfair. According to our caseworker in our Bethany portal communications, no exceptions are made. So, if we wait out the 5 years, my husband will be 46 and we then fall outside of the age limit of Bethany which is 45. Sigh. The options presented were international adoption or looking into other agencies. Neither are really great options as time is of the essence for us. Our third and final frustration is that night I received a message from a friend who is also going through Bethany Christian Services in Virginia. They are in the same position we are — husband is divorced and they’ve only been married three years; however, they have completed the entire application process, home study and all. They are now waiting for a match — and no concerns have been raised about the divorce and/or the length of their marriage.
I had to let it go for a few days, as I didn’t want to react to my frustrations. Last week, Steve and I agreed to e-mail the Director of our local Bethany Christian Services to simply share our concerns. Surprisingly enough, she responded so graciously and honestly. Below was her response:
Stephen and Kelly:
I appreciate your email to me today. I very much would want to know your feelings and thoughts about the process. I wanted to take time to review your case file and see at what point we began to fail you. I apologize on behalf of Bethany of Missouri that your experience was less than desirable. You are correct in saying it’s an exciting moment to submit the formal application process and it doesn’t come without struggle and grief to get to this point.
It is not written in stone about the marriage and I again apologize. Rachel has been with us since July and still learning, but I am sorry the burden of learning has fallen on you–it should never be that way. We do look at marriages and recommend that a family be married a minimum of 2 years for the first marriage and 5 years for a second marriage. That isn’t stone, it’s recommended–I am in no way questioning the stability in your marriage, but we know it’s been best practice for families to have that 5 years behind them for a second time marriage since statistically divorce rates are higher among second time marriage. This is recommendation is based on statistics and best practice. You are also correct that if you wait the 5 years Stephen will be 46. The age range is also recommended-not required, but we have been able over time to see for families on the top side that their wait tends to be longer and I’m not sure what your wait time expectations are. The plus is that you are childless which tends to make your wait shorter. These are generalizations and can not be considered how your journey will proceed. Our longest waiting family has waited 4 1/2 years and we have families wait less than 2 weeks. We really want to be sure that you know what is typical before beginning the journey.
I would really like to have a conversation with both of you either in person or via phone. I would invite you both to call me at your convenience on my cell to talk through this more.
Again, please except my apology on behalf of Bethany.
My very first thought after reading that e-mail was how sad those statistics are. My heart was heavy. While that response doesn’t necessarily mean that we will be able to pursue adoption through Bethany, it gave us a ray of HOPE. To be perfectly honest, if it doesn’t work out through Bethany, I’m not sure that I’ll be up to start the search all over. The research itself is overwhelming and maybe it’s time we simply ‘Let Go and Let God.’ I don’t want to try to “make” something happen… I am not a quitter by any means — and anyone who knows me, knows that I am a very determined young lady. However, I can’t say where this road is going to lead us. We continue to pray each and every day for God’s perfect will to be done.
Steve and I will be having lunch with the Director on Monday. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers. We can only expect GOOD things. Amen? Amen. Amen. Amen.