BY JERÉ ANTHONY
The idea of adoption is something that many people feel is out of their reach. Just the thought can sometimes be overwhelming because of the obstacles interwoven into the process. I recently had the privilege to sit down with a young woman who shared her journey and the challenges she and her husband are still facing since adopting 2 boys from the foster care system.
Growing up Whitney felt the effects of having an absent father. She felt a void in her life that started when her dad walked out when she was 10. Over time she realized that there was a man that was there for her, though he wasn’t her biological dad. Whitney talked about her relationship with her siblings’ father as if he were her biological father. “He was the one who walked me down the aisle for my wedding, and I realized that I wanted to be that for a child”. Because of Whitney’s firsthand experience with an absentee parent, she knew early on that she wanted to provide that for a child.
For Whitney and Michael Carr, the decision to adopt was one that was made in the early stages of their relationship. Whitney knew that she had to fulfill a purpose, and communicated to Michael early on about her heart’s desire to be an adoptive mother. In December of 2015, after a few solid years of marriage, Whitney and Michael made the decision to begin their adoption journey.
A friend showed her a website called The Heart Gallery of Louisiana and pointed out two brothers. Whitney quickly realized that she knew the boys because they went to her church. After an excited phone call to her husband, the couple made a decision. Whitney said “That’s it, I know that is who God wants us to adopt”.
No story is complete without challenges to overcome. Despite the fairy-tale nature of her story, Whitney and Michael have faced many challenges. I was surprised when she revealed that the most difficult struggle the couple faced was the reaction of some people to the ages of the children. Since Whitney and Michael are a young couple, many family members and friends voiced their concern over them not having a big enough age gap with the oldest child. Despite being a young couple, Whitney and Michael knew that this was something that they were called to do and trusted that God would empower them to lead this role… and so He has.
When asked how they dealt with the daily challenges of dealing with the system, Whitney responded, “DCFS has been amazing towards us during this time and we can’t get over how much they have encouraged us, especially Julia Clark and Wanda Washington”. She finds strength in their loved ones and a solid support network of friends that are always there for them. Today Whitney and Michael still have many obstacles to face before they can officially say that they are parents. They are taking things one day at a time and look forward to the day that they can drive away from the court house with their children alongside them.
Some words of wisdom for anyone who may be considering adoption: “Just breathe because there will be trying times and there may even be times when you want to give up. There are times that it is just hard, but we have these boys that I have fallen in love with, I love them like they are my own children. Reach out to your support system, and make sure you have someone who you can confide in other than just your spouse. You need to have those people that can just bring you back to reality and remind you why you are doing this, and to keep you grounded. When I get nervous, or scared, they are always they to pull me out of it, even if it is just by occupying me with something else.”
I find strength in powerful stories such as Whitney’s that show us even though something seems unlikely, having the faith in God and the courage to let Him lead you can make anything possible. Social norms exist, but they do not have to define everyone. Love is not something that we should keep to ourselves, I am so thankful to Whitney for sharing her story of what a family truly is made of. I hope you feel inspired by this beautiful story just as I am.