As the days get closer to when we'll bring our little ones home, I figured I'd make an effort to fill everyone in on the background of our adoption...
Why did we decide to adopt?
The short version: because God loves adoption
For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:15)
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. (James 1:27)
The longer version: blog to come...
Does this mean you don't want to have/are giving up on having biological children?
No. We would love for the Lord to bless us with biological children as well. We love the idea of having a multi-racial family...it will look more like heaven that way!
Why did we choose Ethiopia?
Reading an outstanding book called "There Is No Me Without You" gave us a deeper understanding of the situation there. Because of poverty and AIDS, the number of orphans in Ethiopia is heartbreaking. There are an estimated 5 million kiddos there without parents. No one to tuck them in at night, no one to kiss their boo-boos, no one to tell them that they are loved by a mommy and daddy on earth AND a Heavenly Daddy. Adoption is obviously not the solution to the country's deeper issues but to our little ones, it will make a world of difference.
For practical reasons, we chose Ethiopia because we have some good friends who completed an Ethiopian adoption while living in China. Things operate so differently for ex-pats that it was helpful to know someone who had successfully navigated Chinese, Ethiopian, and American red-tape. Also, currently Ethiopia has one of the most inexpensive and quickest adoption processes.
What agencies are helping us?
Our primary agency is International Adoption Guides, and Small World Adoption helped us complete our home study. We chose IAG because they've worked with other Americans like us who live overseas. So far, they've been wonderful--really responsive to our questions and very thorough in explaining the processes & procedures.
Why did we decide to adopt two?
We figured if we're going to do it, we might as well do it big. Plus, Kevin grew up as a twin so we think that raising "twins" of our own will be really special. They are not likely biological siblings but once they come home with us, they will be siblings for life.
How much does adoption cost?
For two, it will most likely cost between $45-50,000. That includes two round-trips to Ethiopia, agency fees, government fees, etc. We might also have to take a trip to Hawaii to complete the citizenship process.
How in the world are we paying for it?
By faith and by savings. We were very fortunate that while we lived in Louisville, I had a pretty nice salary. We lived simply while we were there and managed to save quite a bit. We're drawing on most of those savings now for the upfront costs. We've also had some very gracious & generous friends and family who have helped us cover some of the payments as well. The US government also has a tax refund available for adopting families, which could help us recover $13,000 per child, which would mean around $26,000 for us. This credit has not yet been approved for 2011 adoptions so we are waiting, hoping, and praying that it will be.
When do you blog readers get to see more than just bits and pieces of their faces?
We can't post their pictures on the internet until they are legally our children. This will not happen until we are assigned a court date, and we can fly to Ethiopia to appear in front of a judge. This probably won't be until March or April.
When do we get to bring them home?
If all goes well, we are hoping to bring them home by May or June. But, of course, the word to live by in the adoption world are flexibility. Anything could happen to postpone our pick-up date. So we'll wait and hope and pray some more.
How can you be a part of our adoption?
Wait and hope and pray with us! Pray for the health of our little babies. Our younger son is extremely underweight and our older son's height is way below average. Pray that these issues would be corrected. Pray for their little hearts & souls. Pray for Kevin & me as we prepare to jump into the deep end of the big, scary world of parenting. You could also help us collect some of the things we need by sending us a care package. Shockingly, there isn't a large market for black hair & skin care products in China! Or, if you feel lead & able, you could help us pay for some of the expenses associated with our adoption.