That’s right. We are in the process of adopting a child. The shock of that statement (for me) is finally wearing off a bit. I decided that it was time to post my story here and tell the world (or my 8 followers who probably already know! Ha Ha!). We have not been secretive about this whatsoever, but it is kind of a hard thing to bring up. When I was pregnant I didn’t have to bring it up to people because my protruding belly gave it away (usually before I had taken a pregnancy test or the day of. Seriously, people asked). But this one is a little less obvious. I usually just have to say, “So, we are adopting.” There isn’t a good lead-in for this one. I wanted a place where people could come to learn more about our “why” and where I can answer many of the questions that people are wondering. I also hope that one day when this is over, that our story can help others who are in our same shoes. Here are the answers to our most common questions:
Why?/Where did this idea come from?
The idea was not my own. I am not one of those people who have always wanted to adopt. The only time I have really considered it, was the year that it took to get pregnant with our first child. But once we started having children on our own, it was pushed out of my head. The idea of adoption came up again in the last year from my kids and husband. We would like to have another girl in our family and Quinton and I would say that the only way to guarantee a girl, would be to adopt. My kids thought this was a great idea. Then I reminded them how expensive that was and end of conversation. However, my husband and I did actually try to get pregnant for about 9 months. We both feel that although 4 kids is a lot that there was one more we were supposed to have in our family. So, reluctantly, we stopped preventing. When nothing happened, I didn’t panic and knew that if we were meant for another one, that it would happen.
One Sunday in May 2018, my husband and I were in the nursery at church, which is where kids ages 18 months-3 years play for two hours while the adults attend classes. We were the teachers in that class on this particular day. Someone had a stinky diaper and I was trying to figure out who it was. I had to do the old “reach your finger in the diaper and pull it open to do a poop check” trick. As I found the culprit, it hit me…. I am really ok to be done having babies! As I had this thought and said it out loud to my husband, we both agreed and felt really good about it. That was the first time that I felt at peace saying “we are done having kids.” We carried on with our lives and felt that our family was complete.
About one month later (June 3, 2018), I was taking my two youngest kids for a Sunday morning walk. This was becoming routine for Sunday mornings. I would take a walk by myself or push the stroller and listen to a church talk. As I was listening to a talk, the thought hit me out of no where- “you are supposed to adopt a little girl from China.” What!?? That talk had nothing to do with adoption or starting a family, so where did that come from?? It was one of the most overpowering feelings I have ever had. I instantly became emotional and started thinking of all the reasons this was a bad idea (money, time, money, 4 kids, money). But I could not shake the feeling. We finished our walk and went home.
I went straight for the shower and then I said a little prayer along these lines, “Heavenly Father, this is a crazy idea, but I feel like it was personal revelation from you. I really think this is a bad idea, so if it really is from you, I need to know and KNOW for sure.” I did receive my answer immediately. I knew without a doubt that this was personal revelation that had come from God and I was ready to move forward.
Later that day, I was borrowing my husband’s computer to research adoption. I was interrupted during my search and left the screens open on his computer. He then got on his computer and discovered what I had been reading. “What have you been up to?” he asked. I told him and he said, “cool, let’s do it!”
So to answer the question, “where did this idea come from?” My answer is, “straight from Heaven.”
Where are you adopting?
After a great deal of research on the different countries (and creating a spreadsheet of course), and much praying, we decided to adopt from the Philippines. Now, I know that was not my original thought that I had. As I did my research, I learned that our family is not able to adopt from China due to financial requirements. I made lists of all the countries that we qualify for and what their travel requirements are and spent a lot of time looking for agencies and pictures of children in waiting from different countries. The first picture of a child that drew me in and I felt a connection with, was a child from the Philippines. We do meet their requirements and they only require one week of travel when it is time to pick up the child. I called an agency to talk about their program and she informed me that the Philippines is one of the few countries that does allow healthy, young children to be adopted internationally. Most countries only adopt children with special needs (minor or major) to be adopted internationally. She told me that each US agency is allowed 5 spots for families to join the Philippines program each year and their spots were already filled. She referred me to another agency that she used to work for that did still have openings.
The short answer: we are adopting from the Philippines.
When will you be adopting?
Short answer: anytime between 1-4 years.
The Philippines “traditional” program that allows families to adopt “younger/healthy” children can take 3-4 years before a child is referred to our family. However, as soon as our home study is approved, we will begin to get monthly emails from our agency with pictures and descriptions of children in the Philippines that do have a known medical condition (minor or major) and are ready to be adopted immediately. If we see a child on that list who we want to learn more about we can ask for more information. We can then pursue adopting one of those children right away.
What will the child be like?
The Philippines does not allow adoptive families to request gender. They do consider preferences and they really look at a family to decide if a girl or boy seems like the better fit. Our adoption agency said that most likely, when they see our family dynamics, that they will refer us to a girl. We are planning on a girl.
The adopted child can be anywhere from 18 months- 5 years old. The Philippines prefers to maintain the natural birth order of a family, so most likely she will be younger than Carter. If it takes two years or more, then she could be up to 5 years old.
Some of the possible medical conditions are eczema, asthma, dental work, umbilical hernia, cleft lip, cleft palate, club foot, missing a digit or limb, visual abnormalities, hearing impairment, heart murmur, ADHD, and a variety of development delays.
We are trying to be wise about knowing what medical conditions we have the means to manage. Huge medical bills every month would not be something we can handle and we will take this into consideration as we consider children.
The child will most likely come from an orphanage. With that, comes a variety of emotional side-effects. The child may not cry if she didn’t get a response when she cried as a baby. She may find ways of self-soothing such as rocking back and forth. She may hoard or even steal food and other objects. She may have difficulty trusting or attaching to adults and other kids.
The truth is, that we have no idea what we will get. This is very much like a pregnancy at this point. There are many unknowns, but we believe that God will help us find the child that is meant to be in our family and that it will be for ALL of our good.
How will you afford to do this?
Short answer: no idea.
Adoption is expensive. Everyone knows this true fact. What most of us don’t consider, is that if there is a will, there is a way… especially if it is God’s will. Since beginning this process we have learned about so many stories where things happened and the money was suddenly available.
We are only 4 months into this process since the idea was conceived, and already, doors have been opened and the money has been provided for us to get the process started. God often works through other people to do his work, and we have seen that in this situation already.
Adopting from the Philippines is about $20,000, not including travel. We are planning on about $30,000 and if it is less, we will be pleasantly surprised! Luckily, the money is not due all at once. It is spread out throughout the process. It starts out as a couple hundred here, another hundred there. We had one big fee of about $1,500 and a bill is currently on its way to our house for $5,100. Another $4,000 will be due in a couple months. For some reason $30,000 as a whole is less scary to me than $5,100 right now!
There are things out there available to help families adopt. There are grants and even some interest free adoption loans. We do have to have an approved home study to apply for these options, so I am not sure how those will look in our situation.
How do your kids feel about it?
My kids have been very excited about it from the beginning. As I mentioned earlier, they all have wanted a little sister for a while. When we first considered adoption, we asked all of our kids what they thought about it. We tried to explain that the child will be older than a baby and will possibly have some sort of medical condition. We have explained that most children are angry and scared when they are first adopted since we will be strangers.
We have included them in the decision on which country we will adopt from. They were all very excited when we decided on the Philippines. My son has a friend who has a Filipino mother and my kids adore her (and so do I). We are all trying to learn a few words in Filipino. I made Filipino spaghetti and lumpias (Filipino version of egg rolls) for dinner one night and we all learned how to say “let’s eat” in Filipino. Now, when I tell my 3 year old to get the kids for dinner he says, “kain tayo!”
Sometimes my three year old will ask, “where is our little girl?” So I explain that she is in the Philippines and we still need to find her. He talks about buying her a cozy blanket and that he will snuggle with her. All of our kids are excited about this new adventure and someone new to love.
We really are excited to begin this journey. It is scary and I’m sure will be frustrating at times, but I have such a feeling of peace and that carries me on to the next step. I know that our family is supposed to begin this process. I have no idea what the outcome will be, but I trust that it will be okay no matter what happens.
I hope that we can all stay “nice and happy” during this process as we wait for our little girl.