Adopting from India: Duncan Family

By Lynette Duncan

Our adoption was easy.

There I said it. Have your laughs, your snorts, whatever. It was easy from start to finish and overall, a fairly uneventful story.

But before you cast me off as delusional or a liar or braggart, please reread what I wrote. Our adoption was easy. As in, the process was easy. Getting to the point at which we brought son, Anshu, home was easy. We didn't have the sob story in which our son was locked behind an iron curtain of bureaucracy or red tape. Our paperwork was never lost or denied. His orphanage was great with communication (and photos!) and took great care of him. We were allowed to send him presents several times. Everything happened in a fairly predictable time frame. Every single thing we prayed for, the Lord answered in some way. I try to give glory to Him for this whenever I can. Sure the wait was hard and I turned into an emotional mess, but that's all part of it. Even after coming home, we have never, not ever once ever, been asked all those annoying questions from the public. Never a "hey, is that your real son?" or a "how much did he cost?" 


We felt the Lord calling us to adopt in June of 2011. There was no "my husband is dragging his feet, but I'm just certain" scenario. We were on the same page the whole time, and if anything, I dragged my feet a lot longer than he did. We didn't really question which country to choose from. God placed India in our hearts about thirteen years ago while listening to a speaker from Gospel for Asia present to our college Christian group. After that, we loved India in a way that didn't make sense for two young white American kids with a fairly narrow world view. We semi-freaked-out over fundraising, but God provided us with some really great ideas and a great team of helpers, so there was never a time in which we didn't have the money we needed.

The process took 19 months from start to finish. That is amazingly short in Indian standards. India has changed the rules many times in the past few years and we somehow slipped into a gap of stability and predictability during our registration and court processes. Our referral was a miracle from God. We waited two months to be matched with a RIPA after we were registered in country, another two months to mail our dossier to the RIPA, and another two months for a referral. It took another 8 months to bring our son home. 


Our travel was ah-maze-ing. We were told every horror story imaginable about what to expect- that we would get sick, that our son would cry constantly and grieve deeply, that we wouldn't be able to leave our hotel room, that our son would run away from us, that the orphanage would rudely demand the clothes off his back before we could take him, that the flight home would rival the seventh level of hell. He happily sat on my lap and blew kisses to the orphanage director when we left. They dressed him and his little best friend in brand new matching outfits and encouraged us to take the clothes home as a gift. Our time in the hotel was great. We played and sang songs. He ate really well. Occasionally, he would cry, but mostly he napped a LOT. Things went so well, that we were actually able to visit the Taj Mahal! We visited markets, we toured ancient forts, we ate at authentic restaurants, we had a great time with our new son. And the flight home? He slept for almost the entire trip. Not a fuss, not a whimper. The crowd waiting for us at the airport was big and enthusiastic. Big sisters accepted him from day one and have never stopped loving him.

Like I said, easy.


Despite everything being "easy", and everything going smoothly, and our adoption being "best case scenario", adoption is still one of the hardest things I have ever done in my entire life. The process of meshing hearts and building family where there naturally isn't any connection at all is hard work. It is work that only God can do. It is hard watching a little boy fight against gestures of love or acceptance because those feelings are so foreign to him. It's hard to watch your own heart react in ways that are unloving or impatient when you assumed it would be naturally easy. It's hard that despite the hours of training you completed and the piles of books you had to read, you still have no idea what you're doing.


The last 8 months home have been filled with highs and lows. Every day is filled with highs and lows. We've gone on some great family vacations! 

Yet, we battle twice a day when the toothbrush comes out of the cabinet. If there is one thing I've learned for sure, is that I need Jesus more now than ever before. If I had a do-over, I would have obsessed more about Jesus during our wait than about what size clothing Anshu might wear or how to pack our luggage. I would have devoured the Scriptures while I still had free time. I would have done everything in my power to latch my heart onto Him, because you don't realize just how flaky your heart can be until you're in the middle of a control battle over a tiny bite of pork chop that someone has been refusing to swallow for over 2 hours.

Hindsight is 20/20, right? Sometimes adoption is really, really easy! And your time at home together can be really, really easy too, if you let God make the preparations. Thanks for letting me share our story with you. I'm disappointed that it's not a perfect story like I assumed it would be, but God's still writing it. If you would like to read more about us, please check out my blog at