I decided to answer some of the 'big questions' surrounding our big news. Hopefully this gives you a fuller picture of what our family is focusing on for 2015!
As is very apparent, we could continue to grow our family the old fashioned biological way. But our goal isn't to simply have three kids. We feel that God is calling us to help an orphaned child. Throughout the Bible, God commands His followers to care for the orphan. We want to do something that truly matters to the heart of God and give a child a home and family forever. We've both seen the effects of institutionalization on orphaned children. Basic needs may be met, but the emotional tolls are devastating. If we can rescue one little girl from that future, we feel that it will be a worthy endeavor.
Why not Romania?
Oh we would love to adopt from Romania. Unfortunately, the current adoption law only allows for those of Romanian blood to adopt Romanian orphans. We will continue to pray for those children and help them in any way, specifically through the ministries of H2H International. Please keep praying for those kids with us!
We were open to any country. But we did feel that we needed to respect the birth order of our current kids. We had to find a place that allowed the adoption of children under age three (Corbin is 3 1/2). We both have a desire to have a daughter so we looked for a country that had girls, under age three. That surprisingly limits your choices! One other consideration was the length of time required to spend in the country to complete an adoption. Several countries require lengthy stays of 2-6 months and we decided that was just not feasible for our family. China requires one trip of about 2 weeks to finalize your adoption. So China was the best fit! We are also aware of the huge number of children in China that have been abandoned due to medical needs. Many, many correctible needs here in the US are causes for abandonment in China. Things that can be corrected through minor surgery or medical support doom a child to a life in an orphanage.
Why not adopt from foster care?
This is really a birth order issue for us. We would love to adopt locally- and our hearts break for the kids here in the US waiting for their forever families- but due to our court system, most children adoptable are much older. Perhaps at a later date we'll revisit this possibility for our family.
Why not adopt a US baby?
This would be a simple solution to us wanting another child but again, that's not really what this is all about. I am fairly confident that an American newborn will be adopted by a loving family. Just look at the waiting list for prospective adoptive parents domestically. We wanted to bring a child into our home that really has no other alternative. And for that we had to look internationally.
Doesn't it cost a lot?
Yes! We're looking at around $30,000! That's a huge sum of money for us and frankly we don't have it saved up. We are saving, scrimping, and simply asking others to help contribute to our adoption fund. We've set up a youcaring page where it is simple to donate directly to us for the adoption. We have broken the $30,000 into several smaller goals- as we reach those goals, we can move forward with different parts of the adoption. For example, our first goal of $4000 will allow us to pay application fees and sign contracts with an agency. The next goal of $3000 will complete our home study, and the next goal of around $7000 will compile all the necessary documents to submit our Dossier to China.
$30,000 is a huge amount of money. For us just looking at it, it makes adopting our daughter impossible. But $30,000 is nothing compared to a lifetime of security and love from a family. $30,000 is ransoming a hopeless orphan and promising her a mama and daddy and two wild brothers who will always have her back. $30,000 is a community of friends and family who all played a role- some large and some small- in changing the ending to a story. And most importantly, $30,000 is a penny in God's economy- but a life saved from lostness is worth infinitely more. So yes, it costs a lot… and so little when you have the right perspective. Here are some of the other costs that we've accounted for:
-cost of life's 'extras' - extra toys, clothes, treats, entertainment while we save for our adoption
-cost of comfort as we tighten our budget and submit to home study interviews and medical exams
-cost of control as we wait to be placed with our daughter- we don't know her background, her specific needs, etc
-cost of our extra space- one more little person to add to our home
-cost of our time- filing paperwork, travel to pick her up, but once she's home there will be huge commitment on our part of acclimating to a new normal for all of us
There are many others that I haven't mentioned and that we'll realize while they are taking place. But here's what we have to gain:
-a daughter! how exciting!
-hearts for those less fortunate for our boys- we will be very intentional in explaining why things are different and why we are making certain choices for one little girl. They may not like it right now, but ultimately we care more about their character and what sacrificing for another will do in their lives than their immediate gratification.
-our personal spiritual growth as we rely on God's provision for all steps of this process
-new friends- we're excited to be learning more about another culture- whether it be the Chinese culture and/or the local adoption culture.
Our gains easily outweigh our costs.
If you'd like to see our fundraising page, visit it here:
What about the boys? What do they think about all this?
Honestly, they really don't have any idea right now. Corbin will give funny answers when asked about getting a new sister. He's curious at this point. Leo doesn't understand and doesn't care yet. We will do our very best to explain things as they happen with them regarding the adoption and of course as we get closer and have a face to call 'sister' that will help a lot. As I mentioned before, we know that parts of this will be hard on Corbin and Leo. But hard isn't necessarily bad. We think they will come out of this process much, much richer than if we sheltered them from it.
What's the process?
We have to submit a contract with an agency. That's our first financial goal of $4000. Then we begin a home study (approximately $3000) that could take a few months to complete. We will also apply for immigration pre-approval to adopt. During that process, as finances allow, we will be gathering all the various pieces of paperwork that make up our Dossier- everything from marriage and birth certificates, medical exams, fingerprints, background checks. All of this has to be certified and 're-certified' before it is sent for translation. And then compiled and sent to the Chinese government that manages adoptions (CCCWA). At this point we can be matched with a child. Several of the agencies we are in contact with tell us it could take between 1-12 months for a match. After we are matched, there is more back and forth paperwork with China. We also have additional paperwork to file with US Immigration… all of that takes time for the government agencies to file and record etc. Once all of the paperwork has been to the right people, we request a visa appointment in China which will determine our travel dates. We purchase airline tickets and plan on a two week trip to China to bring our girl home!
Who is she?
Well we don't really know yet! We have requested a girl under age three. We also have looked over a long list of 'special needs' and have selected several that we feel we are equipped to handle. But here's the lack of control/trusting in God part- we really don't know what her particular needs will be until we meet her and start living life. We'll have some ideas but as with a birth child, there are no guarantees that your child will be 'normal' or 'healthy.' This is what I know- she will be perfect for our family because God already has all the details figured out.
Thanks again for your prayers- we sure do need them! If I missed your question or you need more details, please contact us- we'd love to share more with you. And thanks again to those who have already so generously given- we love you!