Monday, May 31, 2010

Lots and lots of paperwork - Our checklist

Right now we are in the paperwork phase. Here is our checklist:

x Child abuse and neglect registry clearance forms
_ FBI criminal history clearances
_ Signed Agreement for Adoption Services
_ Parenting Resource Plan
x Release of Information Form
_ Applicant 1 Autobiography and Assignments
_ Applicant 2 Autobiography and Assignments
x Applicant 1 Medical
_ Applicant 2 Medical
_ Financial Statement
_ Certification of Net Worth
_ Family Health Insurance Form
_ 4 References
_ Guardianship Form

This list feels pretty overwhelming. We have 2 months to get it done. I have to keep telling myself "one step at a time".

Sunday, May 30, 2010


Why are we adopting? I have been saving this post because it is the one I am most excited to share.

Many of you may have jumped to the conclusion that Josh and I are unable to get pregnant. I you have, don't worry it does not offend or upset me. But if you came to that conclusion, you are wrong. Well maybe you are wrong or maybe not. I say that because we don't know if we are able to get pregnant... we have never tried.

In August of 1997, I had just finished high school and was about to move out to college. I went on a 2 or 3 week short-term mission trip to Romania. The trip was to do a camp for kids. After that was over we had a little time to kill before heading back to the states. One day we stopped at an orphanage. We were only there for an hour or so. There was no lightening strike or voice from above. It was just clear in my heart that adoption was the path for me.

That following year Josh and I meet and fell in love. At some point after we had been married I asked Josh if I had forwarned him before we got married that I wanted to adopt or if I had just sprung this on him after the fact. He assured me that we had talked about it while still dating and that he was okay with never having bio kids. God had put a man in my life that was able to understand and share my passion for adoption. I believe that God speaks to our hearts and he has spoken loud and clear to my heart.

That was 13 years ago now. I have looked forward to adopting for so long now. It feels SO good to finally be moving forward.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


I am avoiding my homework, so what better to do than answer the question "where"?

There are many places in the world to adopt from. I have always assumed and imagined that we would adopt from Russia. Josh understood my connection with Russia but felt a pull towards Africa if we were not able to adopt from Russia. So we have opened ourselves up to both Russia and Ethiopia.

If you know me you know my connection with Russia. I spent a year there when I was 14 and it was probably the most impacting year of my life. Now my parents live there full time. And while you might not know it by listening, I did actually study Russian for 3 years in college. But due to some recent events Russia has become more and more difficult to adopt from. At the moment it is still possible but more difficult means more hoops to jump through and more money. So the Lord will lead us. I am sure that where one door closes another will open. We would be delighted no matter what country we adopt from.

Now I have heard some people say that they don't understand why a person would adopt from another country and that we should "take care of our own" and adopt from the US first. (Yes, I have actually heard this first hand before.) To that my responce is "then go for it". But if a person thinks that we are wrong for adopting internationally I have to point out that ALL human beings are made by and in the image of our amazing God and creator. I don't believe that God sees political lines on the globe that he created. (ok, yes, he is an all knowing God so he knows they are there, but he didn't draw them) I believe that EVERY child deserves a home. A loving home.

I have told my sister-in-law before that if anything ever happened to her and her husband that Josh and I would take their kids in a heartbeat. And if they had selected someone else in their will to take their kids we would support that couple completely and continue to look out for them. I have told her that we as a family would fight to support and protect their kids. I often wish we were even closer than we are to our nieces and nephew. I hope they will always know us as people that are there for them. Every child should have their own mini-army of protectors. For whatever reason our kids won't have through biological connections but they will find that in our family. It will just take a little longer bumpier road to get there.

So we will travel the world to find our kids. Russia, Ethiopia, or perhaps a place we haven't even thought of yet. I actually had a dream a few months back where I was holding an infant saying "are YOU my baby?" as if I expected him to reply. The next night I had a dream where I passed by a crib with the same baby in it. I did a double take and then picked him up saying "you ARE my baby". :) I guess its on my mind. Please pray that God will help us find our children.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Since I got the question today in response to my last post, I thought I would try to answer "when".

When to adopt? Well next month we will have been married 11 years; so I definitely think we have waited long enough to have kids! :) Maybe we have taken it to an extreme but we got married young, and I am thankful for the time we have had with just the two of us. I might just be a slow learner but I feel like I now have an idea of who I am. And I feel like Josh and I have had time to learn about each other, about what battles are worth picking, and how to appreciate each other after the newlywed novelty wears off.

When is our "due date"? Well if we were pregnant we could calculate when we were planning to bring our little one home within a few days or so. With adoption the time frame is not so precise. The short answer is we are guessing about a year from now with the knowledge that 9 months would be short side of average and 2 years would be the long side of average.

Okay, so now if you are someone considering adoption and you want the details, here they are as I understand them:
- Keep in mind that your involvement, your agency, the country, and pretty much everyone and everything involved influences the time frames; as such, everything is just an approximate; i am no expert in this so you can't hold me to any of this
- First you have to do a homestudy. This is where they make sure you have at least some idea of what you are getting into and that you have are prepared for all the things to come. This is what we are just starting right now. Maybe someday when we are done with this part I will tell more about it but right now I am still figuring it all out. So this process takes about 4-5 months.
- Then you wait. I suspect that this might be the hard part. This is when you wait for your agency to get a referral (the info on a child available for adoption) that matches with your family. This can take 1-18 months depending on the program (country) you have selected and how specific who you are looking for.
- Then you travel. I think if you were adopting older children in the US this might be quicker, but for most other countries you travel about 2 months after referral. Depending on the country it might require 1-3 trips. I think 2 trips is common.

Well that wasn't very detailed. Actually it was a bunch of vague generalities. So now you see why "when" is such an unknown. But now you know what I know. Perhaps 6months or a year from now I will find out that what I thought I knew was all wrong. But hey, that's life!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


I have never been shy about our plans to adopt. Naturally, people ask questions as a part of their interest in us and what we are doing. So I will try to answer some of the common questions. Today I will start with "who".

Who do to adopt? What age? Boy/Girl? You know, the basics.

We would like 2 children. I don't have a strong need for an itty bitty baby so we have always thought that we would adopt both at the same time and try to keep a sibling group together. Adoption can be very hard for children. They are suddenly ripped away from everything and everyone that they know. Suddenly the only people they have are two complete strangers (that would be me and Josh... the complete strangers). These strangers don't even speak their language or know the kiddie basics like how to buckle a car seat (seriously, are there classes for that? those things are complicated) or how much food a kid eats (I usually try to feed my nieces and nephew way too much until Josh tells me that I'm nuts). I hope that having a sibling there will somehow make those first months a little bit easier on them.

We have always talked about 2 kids under the age of 5, but we are open to the possibility of older. Who knows, we will see. That one is pretty unknown.

Boy or girl? We don't care. I would love to see Josh teaching a son how to play sports, understand sports, chart insane amounts of sports statistics on any little piece of paper laying around the house... if you know Josh, you know what I mean. At the same time I would love to see Josh wrapped around the little finger of a beautiful little girl. Boy or girl, I am excited about all the things we will get to share with them. Josh is so good with our nieces and nephew, I can't wait to see him with our own kids.

When you have biological kids you might have some guesses as to what traits they might inherit from you. With adoption this is all a mystery. Will they be patient like Josh? Will they be strong willed like me? Will they be detailed like Josh? Will they be inquisitive like me? What books will they like to read before bed? Will they be outgoing or shy? Will they love legos as much as I did when I was a kid? I can't wait to find out!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Inconvenient Emotions

This weekend we were at the grocery store. Just a few feet away from me a little girl (maybe 6-8 years old) tripped over her own feet and did a big old face plant onto the hard floor. While she wasn't seriously injuried, it was a pretty good splat. Soon her mother was down on the floor with her, inspecting her owies, holding her, and telling her it would be okay. I started to cry. In the middle of the grocery store surrounded by strangers these were an inconvenient emotions. I couldn't help but wonder... next time my kid falls, who will check his/her owies? who will pick up him/her? who will tell him/her that it will be okay? You see I may not know my kids' names but I believe they are out there. Are they alone tonight? Did anyone tuck them into bed? I might not know their names but I believe that God knows their names. I believe he knows their little personalities and their little hearts. I have been praying for them for at least a year now. I pray that God will keep them safe, physically, emotionally, mentally safe. I pray that God will give them people to protect them and care for them. I pray that he will give them an unnatural peace, that somehow they will know that we are coming for them. If you were seperated from your kids, how much would you pray for them? Will you pray for mine?

Friday, May 14, 2010

So it begins

Last Saturday our journey to adoption began. We submitted our application for adoption. We have very quickly learned: that was the easy part. Yesterday we received an email of questions to answer as a part of our homestudy process and today we received a packet of additional information. And so as I said... our journey begins.

Why would I want to blog about something so personal as our journey to adoption? I have read the blogs of many others, some friends and some I have never meet, and I have found them very helpful. Reading first hand experiences helped me get some idea of what to expect for the paperwork process and after the adoption is finalized. I hope that somehow my blog will be helpful to others. I hope that by telling my story others will consider adoption of their own.