Courtney S. Barr

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Monday, June 2, 2014

Our Adoption Journey Stage 2: Value

“The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in.” - Morrie Schwartz
You all learned from my TMI post the other week what path led us to this decision, but I am learning that this decision & process has many stages each more important than the last…
Ever been asked the uncomfortable questions? You know the ones:
“How long have y’all been dating? And you still aren’t engaged?” (yeah…I can thank a certain Teacher/coach from high school for my husband’s 10 year courtship…still cracks me up)
“oh, you just got married! Have you talked about having kids?”
“I heard that you two are having some issues conceiving…was it drugs? I hear those can truly hinder fertility.” (still a favorite of mine by the way – that question actually had me laughing out loud)
“So. Was it him? Slow swimmers? You? Hostile environment...down there? – I hear both can be contributing factors.” (the laughter continued)
It really is amazing the questions casually asked in simple conversation. As a teen I thought it was the gossip patrol, the nosy, the only way to hear the good rumors – some true, some not. Then into my early twenties it was ‘background information’. It was helping that girlfriend or guyfriend discover the pertinent information about the person they were dating.  Yeah, lists were made, items were checked off and break ups occurred. Now in this immediate age of split second technology information is gathered, sifted and re-transmitted before I can finish typing this sentence. It’s not all bad. It’s not all gathered intel to embarrass, exploit or scandalize the lives we are all leading. My heart of hearts reminds me that getting to know one another, seeing that we are not alone, that others experience the drama, turmoil, joy, happiness…these things help us. They move us forward towards the next stages we must face. If ever you inquired about us and we weren't quick to give a lot of details, or my face took on the defensive reaction, or I let a snarky remark escape my lips - I apologize. It may happen again, for that I am almost positive, but again I will ask for your patience and forgiveness. I know you care and now more than ever we are looking for support, for guidance and for the sweet friend who is asking & walks away, mentally adding our tiny family to their prayer list - what a blessing to have people who genuinely wish us well. You took an interest, showed us love and often continued to do so even when we did not know it. You see, I never thought the invasive questions I’ve asked others, questions I’ve been asked and situations where I’m at a loss for words would be stepping stones, preparation for Stage 2 in our adoption process…yet they are.
We sat at a computer last week, scrolling through page after page of questions; each one growing with intimacy and invasion. M was overwhelmed by some of the Prospective Father inquiries. We made lists of the ones we needed to return to and I typed carefully the answers we had at the ready. Each question builds a more personal, intimate scrutiny; the internal reaction of being judged is there – how we answer these questions, how we reply to their interest in us makes us cautious – no one likes to be judged. We aren’t even supposed to judge, but the natural reaction is more often...judgment.  We feel defensive, we feel a little violated and more than often we scrunch up our faces and wonder “why do they need to know that?”
Some of them were easy, just vital information, but others…the financials, the personal story questions, the questions on your faith…these tested us…then you get to your desired child section – the list is beyond long, the situations they place: alcohol during 1st trimester, 2nd trimester, cocaine, heroin, LSD usage, rape victim…then the medical options…then the family histories…it can break you in two just to realize that all of these are necessary sections to review and consider. My heart ached for these young women, they made choices – I know that – but I wonder sometimes if love had been handed to them in the simplest form of ‘interest’ in their life would they be where they are??? Was interest given without love? Were the nosiest, the ones who miserably seek to ruin your day because they are lost too, the only ones who spoke to these women?
The birth mother ministry of our adoption process has been the hardest to wrap our heads around…until this part of the questions. These women have made the most questionable decisions…until now. Because now I see it differently: They are choosing life. To give life to what they may deem a mistake, a bad night, a drunken stupor, a tragic act of rape or any other of the many situations listed...they are choosing to let these children live a life with love. In that second, in that moment, my heart swelled for the woman who is carrying/will be carrying our child. She is strong. She may have had a moment of weakness, she may have been a victim, she may have chosen to turn down a dark path once, but the light that has led her to this act…it shines so bright that the shadows fall away completely. I also realized I love her. I don’t love her just because she is giving me a gift I cannot fulfill alone but because she deserves my love and to not give it would be a travesty to my faith and terrible example for our child. It’s the heart that matters in the end and she will open hers to us.
So Stage 2 has been checked off our list, it has been sent to be reviewed and looked over – not to be judged but to be accepted. We have value, she has value and the sweet, innocent heart of our child is valued as well. So all these questions, these invasive lists are the pieces that begin to build the house that we are preparing for this beautiful child of ours and the stability that she will see when she releases her ‘mistake, her drunken stupor, tragic act of rape…” and she receives the love that we will shower upon her. We must accept her, bringing praise to God all the while knowing that God values her. He sees beyond the moments that found her broken, to Him she is perfect and He sees her beautifully fulfilling His plan. He loves her, so do we…“No matter what you’ve been through, your value has not changed since the day you were born.  You’re valuable to God!”  - Pastor Layne Schranz, Church of the Highlands; Message Series: The Book of James


  1. I read the TMI post. Courtney, your journey has been heartbreaking. I commend you for your faith, acceptance, and willingness to persevere in your quest for a family. Keep your spirits up, and your expectations high.

    I am a social worker for Children's Services (CPS) in California. I work in the Permanency Planning unit; and have worked with many foster parents who have decided to adopt one or more of the children in their care. I understand what your are personally going through because I've had the occasion to ask many of those intrusive questions, and to sometimes tell prospective adoptive parents they are not right for the child they have picked. I am equally devastated when the prospective adoptive parents reject a placement after 6 - 12 months together.

    The world just isn't perfect. I see many more accomplishments than failures though. And I assure you it is a long, intrusive process to adopt; and private adoption services are much more invasive than the foster care system. Not much more though. Just remember that all this collected info i making sure that the child is also compatible with yourself.

    Perhaps you and M would want to become a foster parent first to be able to get to know a child (or children) prior to making the decision. Just a thought, a plug for children who's parents have totally given up on them, for whatever reason.

    Feel free to contact me by e-mail for "general" support if you need. My thoughts go with you through this process. Good luck in getting your special child.


  2. I am so touched by your newfound compassion for these women who choose LOVE, knowing they cannot provide for these babies themselves. Thinking of you as you continue your journey!


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