Thursday, January 19, 2012

Decisions, decisions, decisions.....

For those of you who really know me, you know that making decisions is not exactly my strong point.  When I started to realize exactly how many decisions would have to be made before we even really started the process, I felt more overwhelemed than ever.  For instance, where would we adopt from, what age would we be open to, would be consider special needs children or sibling groups?  I started to make a list of the many factors to consider so that we could spend time praying and seeking God's direction in each aspect.  My anxiety over the issue was soon proven an utter waste of time (as it always is!) as God faithfully revealed many of the answers to us with clarity.  The few times we have shared this so far there have been many questions about the various decisions we've made, so we figured we would answer some of the basics here......

I think we've already covered the why.....(here and here)

1. Where are we adopting from?  We feel God has called us to adopt from Russia.  We did explore adopting domestically, and even the possibilty of fostering with hopes of adoption.  For whatever reason, God has put Russia on our hearts and we are following that path.  When we started we both really felt compelled to adopt wherever the greatest need was.  We're not sure that you can really say the greatest need lies in Russia, but there are currently an estimated 700,000 orphans there.  We also faced age restrictions when we started looking into adopting from China and Haiti, two places we had previously considered.  Both require for adoptive parents to be 30 and 35, which we soon found to be the case for many countries. 

2. What age child are we hoping to adopt? We have read and heard a great deal about maintaining the current birth order of your home and felt that this was important.  As Caleb is only about 20 months old at this point, we are looking to adopt a child younger than 20 months.  Most children in Russia do not come home until about 11 or 12 months at the youngest, so the child will likely be at least a year old. 

3. Are we specifying gender?  Just as with a biological child, we feel that we should leave this decision up to God.  We do know that there are often more boys available for adoption.

4. Will we consider special needs?  While I thought it was crazy that God was having us consider the idea of homeschooling our children when Caleb was just a year old, we truly feel that this was all part of the plan.  I was really nervous about making all of these decisions as I didn't want to place my own wants above what God had planned for us.  I also worried about being inadequate to care for a child with special needs.  There is such a wide spectrum when talking about special needs, however.  I think that when considering that we will eventually homeschool, we feel that it would be more harmful than good to adopt a child whose needs we could not meet at home on a daily basis.  If the child would require special services in a public school setting they would be leaving the home daily while the rest of us are home together.  I think this would create a disconnect and as soon as we realized this I felt that it was God's way of showing us why we had to make that decision so early on.  As a result we will be open to mild special needs and see where God leads us.  We know He will make it clear if He wants us to be more open.

5. Are we going to have more children in the future? We had told a lot of people that around the time that Caleb turned 2 we would like to start considering having another child.  We'll definitely be putting those plans on hold for now!  I also have said time and time again how much I want several children, but don't want to be pregnant that many times! I think God was listening!

6. How long will the process take? Truthfully we don't know!  We know there is a great need for Russian adoption right now and that things are currently moving rather quickly for the Russia program through the agency we chose.  That being said, we still don't have a guarantee of how long it will be.  We are still at the point of applying to the agencies so it will likely be a while.

7. How much does it cost?  This depends on where you adopt from, but it will likely cost us anywhere from $40,000 to $50,000 when all is said and done.  We were as shocked as many of you probably are at the cost of an adoption, and it was certainly something we struggled with.  We certainly don't have this kind of money laying around, yet we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if God is calling us to adopt, then he will make a way.  He has proven faithful so many times in our lives and has provided for us in extraordinary ways over the years.  We would be foolish to doubt him now.  Never have we been so ready and willing to sell anything we don't need and use any money that we do have to make this happen.  We know that willingness could only come from a God given desire to follow his will.  When you put it into perspective and consider that this amount of money will change a child's life forever, it doesn't seem so overwhelming. 

8. How can you help?  The first and most important way you can help is by praying for us!  We sincerely covet your prayers and support in this process.
         Please pray for.....
  1.  Us to trust God 100%, never leaning on our own understanding, desires or giving in to our fears. 
  2.  Our future child....for their safety and care until we are able to bring them home.  That God would have His hand on their life.  Also for their future and adjustment.
  3.  For our precious son Caleb....for his adjustment to being a big brother!
  4.  For this entire process to go as smooth as possible.
  5.  For the opportunity to share what God is doing in our lives and for this experience to impact others spiritually.
  6.  For wisdom as we move foward.

     In addition to our plans to apply for grants, we plan to fundraise.  We have heard of other families requesting any unwanted items from their friends and family and holding a yard sale.  We plan to do so when the weather is nice enough, and would so appreciate any help!  I remember driving by yard sales in the summer and thinking to myself that it was amazing how much stuff people had to sell.  I thought about it and came to the conclusion that we didn't really have anything to get rid of.  When this whole idea of adoption came up and I heard about having a yard sale I suddenly felt that we had a ton of things we could sell!  It's all in your perspective.  I realized we don't need things that we haven't used in what seems like forever, nor do I need 6 coats!  If you would like to help we would appreciate anything you have to offer....and we'd be happy to store it here if you're trying to get things out of your home!  While we've been waiting for the nicer weather, I've actually started selling some items on e-bay and craiglist and have already sold a dozen or so things.  Every little bit helps!
   We also appreciate any other tips or suggestions on other fundraisers!

If you have any other questions please feel free to ask us!  We are so grateful for those of you who want to join us on this journey and would be happy to share anything with you!


QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ROUND TWO (Was previously it's own page, but we have attached it here as this adoption is complete! )

 Since we're just in a period of waiting and there won't be much to update until the much anticipated "call" I figured I would take the time to list and answer some of the questions we are getting often at this stage......

            The most common at this point is simply "What now?" - At this point everything on our end is done for a period of time (aside from continuing to learn about Russia etc.).  We are registered in our region and everything is ready.  We are just waiting for Russia to choose a child for us and to relay this information to our agency.  Basically any day from tomorrow to several months from now (the current average wait time is 2- 2 1/2 months which would bring us to some point in September), we will receive a phone call letting us know that a child has been chosen for us.  We will find out the age, gender and brief medical history of the child and be given a week or so to make a decision (although I think it's safe to say this will be the easiest decision we will ever make!).  As soon as we say yes, Russia will invite us to come meet the child - this will happen within 2 to 4 weeks from their invitation.  After our first trip, we will return home and wait for a court date (2-4 months), and after we return again, we will wait 30-35 days for it to be finalized in Russia in order to return to bring our baby home. (3 trips total)

Some other common questions........

1.  Do we know anything about the child we are adopting?  Other than where they are from and that they will be between 8 and 24 months old, we do not know anything else.  (This leads into the next question I always get after using "they", no we are likely not adopting more than one, it's just easier than saying he or she!)

2.  Will we change the baby's name?  We are really uncertain about this right now and feel that we need to meet the child before we make this decision.  Because they will be young enough, we are considering it.  If we were to change the name, we would keep their current first name as their new middle name.

3.  Does Caleb have any idea what is going on / Do we tell him?  We talk about it all the time, but he simply does not understand.  He is consistent on one thing, however, which I find interesting.....whenever asked if he would like a brother or a sister, he always answers "sister" or "girl." : )

4.  What can we be praying for?  Our prayers are constantly for the child....their health, safety, that someone is loving them and they are getting attention and care.  Also for patience for us as this wait period could be long....for continued provision financially, and then for the transition home for all of us.

5.  Russia is huge, do you know where you will be going?  We do know that our region is Krasnodar (southwest corner) and that the town (not sure if it's really a town) will likely be Sochi.

6.  Are you still collecting donations for the yard sales?  At this time, we've pretty much stopped taking all donations.  We SO appreciate the offers, and have been blown away by how many people have been so eager and willing to donate.  We still have a garage full, however, and will likely only have 2 more sales.  Our next one is August 18th, this coming Saturday, and the final one will be at the end of September.  At that point we'd like to have sold most of what we have so we aren't keeping it in the garage all winter. Spring we are seriously considering doing this again in order to raise money for adoption in general, whether it be for our family or to help another family.

         Of course now that I'm listing the questions, I'm forgetting many that keep being asked, so I'll update this as I remember!  Thanks so much for wanting to be a part of this journey with us, we hope our next post will be about a referral of a child!!

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