August 13, 2007

A little Q & A...


I promised a post to answer questions about our Ethiopian adoption, and I have received many comments and private e-mails asking questions. So here’s my attempt to answer:

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Question:

Why do you want to adopt from Ethiopia? What made you choose this country? Why Africa? What led you to this decision?

Answer:

Ethiopia, because the program is growing but still new. Because the children are beautiful. The people are fascinating. The country is one of the oldest Christian nations in the world. Anton spent much of his life overseas and has a passion for different cultures and people. Because I have a little bit of soul sista in me. Ask anyone who knows me. Because I love the idea of changing a child’s life forever, and these children – like orphans everywhere – need loving parents and stability badly. Because we're healthy adults in our child raising years and we can. Because Ethiopia has a fairly stable process as well, and their referral timeframe is shorter than many other programs. Because long ago God placed a burden both on Anton's heart and my own for the people and children of Africa.

Question:

But what about Domestic Adoption?

Answer:

I fully recognize that there are thousands of children in the US available for adoption, but that is just not a roller coaster ride I’m willing to get on. There are just simply not enough laws that protect adoptive parents here in the US. I don’t want to debate about it – but just enough to say that it’s not for me. It’s a wonderful choice for many families, but not for us. My heart and children are not here – they are far away. Different people are called to do different things - our family was called to adopt international children.

Question:

What agency did you use that let you pursue two adoptions at once?

Answer:

Ok – so this was tricky – because we are pursuing our Chinese adoption with Great Wall and they are exclusively Chinese adoptions. So they are really not competition for our Ethiopian adoption agency, which is Dove Adoption International. There are only 7 or 8 agencies in the US allowed to handle Ethiopian adoptions, and so to find one that would let us pursue simultaneously was a challenge. We did have to get notarized documents that acknowledged that both agencies were aware of each other and the dual dossier process was going on. Once that part is done, you just pursue as you normally would with a dossier and paperchase.

Question:

Is the dossier process for Ethiopia as difficult as China’s?

Answer:

No, it does not appear to be nearly as daunting or time-consuming a task as our Chinese Dossier.

Question:

So what is the timeframe for this adoption? How long will you wait for your babies? How much longer/shorter is this process than China? How long until you get a referral?

Answer:

This answer would vary from agency to agency because it depends partially on the orphanage. With Ethiopia, you usually know the orphanage your child comes from in advance, because the agencies typically sponsor one orphanage and their referrals all come from that location. With our agency, we were told to expect a 4-7 month referral wait time once our dossier is logged in. Longer for twins potentially by a couple more months. Some agencies suggested to us as little as one week from the time your dossier is registered, but these agencies also did not allow simultaneous adoptions so we were attracted to the referral time, but were not allowed to work with them without abandoning our Chinese adoption.

Question:

Are the adoption costs the same for China and Africa? How much is this adoption costing you? Are you stressed about the financial burden of adding another adoption?

Answer:

No it’s not the same cost. It’s costing a lot. And yes we’re stressed out. I know that if you’re adopting from China you’re feeling like a caged animal. No where to run and no where to hide. Endless wait with no end in sight. And $$$$ going out while nothing is coming in. The thing about adoption is that it’s just a leap of faith and you have to hold on to the stories of others to make it through. You have to have that shred of hope in other families success stories to know that it can and will happen eventually. For us, the money was a big factor because we’re a middle class family making ends meet like anyone. The cost is different per agency, so I would suggest looking into each agencies fee schedule before you pursue anything. However, having said that, it is cheaper than the China program. Not oodles cheaper, but certainly more affordable than many programs out there. We are presently very stressed out about the $$ because when we started our adoption of Keira we did seek support from family and close friends and we don’t feel that’s an option this time. People were so generous to us that we just don’t feel we can continue asking for that kind of support. However, we are remaining hopeful that God will provide. He has to. A friend told me the other day “you just remind God that this is His problem, because He set this on your heart. So remind him of that…gently”. Ha ha…trying to remain sane at the moment because I know we’re on the right path but financially at this point – we have no way to see the ends come together. Holding on to hope of putting our family together some way, some how. I will not accept that we are not meant to be parents over money. I just cannot. . If you are a praying person, send some up for us. We are really struggling but trying to remain positive about this.

Question:

Why did you request twins with Keira coming home soon after? Isn’t that a lot to take on? Aren’t you afraid of virtual triplets? How can you handle so many the same age? Aren’t you worried as a first time adoptive mom that you might be biting off more than you can chew?

Answer:

Well, these are honest questions, so I’ll give you all nothing less than honest answers. I’m scared to death in some ways and totally calm in others. Been watching a lot of “John and Kate Plus E*ght” on Discov*ry Chann*l and that’s been making me feel a heck of a lot better. Let’s face it, in this day and age, I’m certainly not the first mom to have multiples and especially with all the in-vitro multiples that we see nowadays. There are a lot of tools and resources for moms with multiples and I am going to be taking advantage of those things as much as a I can.

I think it’s just the realization that for us, this is it. We have to just go for it and hope that God will get us through the nightmare of three children in diapers. I don’t have any fantasies about how wonderful it will be all the time, or how perfect the children will be, or how great I will be at listening to three crying children. I am not under a bunch of illusions about how it will be or will not be. I think it will be a chaos-fest. On the other hand, I’m trying to think beyond that. We always wanted a large family. We always wanted a lot of kids. We always wanted our kids to have siblings. We are staring down the barrel of an only child with Keira because of the time frame and we’re just not gonna take that lying down. It’s just not what we wanted for our family and so we’re going out guns blazing and doing everything we can to get our kids home and get on with our lives. This paper part and traveling, etc…this is all the easy part (ha…I have to laugh because it certainly hasn’t felt easy). It’s the raising them that’s going to be the true test of willpower and stamina.

Question:

Do you think this is fair to Keira? Do you think Keira will have a hard time adjusting/attaching to her new family and to you with two other little ones in the picture?

Answer:

Look, I would love to be Pollyanna about this and say “it’ll all be fine”. But reality protests and says that I must look at the possibility for any number of attachment issues with any of our children. The only thing I can do is move ahead. I can’t let myself get hung up on "what if’s". There are millions of people in the world who have kids in the same age bracket. Millions of people who have grown up within one year of their sibling(s). Anton is one of them and he and his sister were very close their growing up years. I am not pioneering a way of life. There are many who have come before me and will come after me with children close in age. You grow up with your family and you know nothing else but your family and that's the way it is. In our family, it will be three kids all in the same age category and potentially sharing similar likes and dislikes – clothes, toys, and space. You learn to adapt. These kids are going to be raised around hundreds of other children in the orphanage. If anything, I like to think that it will make their transition easier, knowing that they will have other “little” people running around to bond and commiserate with.

Question:

What made you decide to request a girl and boy, as opposed to two boys or two girls?

Answer:

Because Anton and I both wanted a son, but we also wanted three children total. So we thought it would be fun to request both.

Question:

Do you have names picked out for your new babies?

Answer:

Yes we do, but we’re holding on to that little piece of heaven for their referral pictures.

Question:

Where is your Ehtiopia blog? When are you starting a separate blog for the twins? What is the address for your new blog?

Answer:

No 2nd blog for now. We’ll just share. I can’t deal with keeping two going when all the info will be pretty much the same. Better to just hang out here, where people know where to find me and I’ll keep posting here as things occur and come up about both adoptions.

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Hope this answers the loads of great questions we got – I couldn’t even get through all of them on this post, but I think this pretty much covers all the basics. We’re pressing onward and have our home study appointment this weekend. Once that’s done it’s really up to us to turn this dossier around and get it out the door!

Send good thoughts! We could really use them as we are apparently INSANE!

Meanwhile, many people took the poll I had posted asking if they would pursue two adoptions simultaneously. The results surprised me - most who responded said they would. Some e-mailed me and said it made them think. Some e-mailed me and said "I would if I had the money". So now my question is, for those that said yes, they would, what keeps you from taking the leap with this ever increasing wait in China?

Thoughts???

9 comments :

Doris & Dan said...

Thx for sharing that! It is really informative. We are not allowed to pursue a second until the first is done...sigh.

Living thru u on this one!

Keep smilin!

Kelley said...

Thanks for sharing your honest answers to all the questions that you and AB have received. To answer your question...We are not currently in the adoption process anywhere and CP has said firmly that we are not adding to our family. Now, if I were ten years younger, I would say stay tuned for a change in plans! :-)

Living through you on this too!

Isabella's Mommy & Daddy said...

Thanks for answering so many questions..
You will do fine with 3 little ones.. One is the same as 10... It is just how you handle it..and you will do fine..
Take care..
Kim

Erin said...

Thank you for being so honest! To answer your question - because we are simply too close to referral at this point. In fact, if we were to start it, we would probably get our referrals at the same time. Yikes!

Thank you for showing us that video. Who knows - we might be right behind you! Love you!

Jeter's Mama said...

you had me at, "I have a little bit of soul sista in me"
;0)

Lili & Robin said...

LOVE YOUR BLOG! The title says it all. VERY CUTE. The Q&A was very informative. people keep asking me: "Why don't you adopt from somewhere else while you are waiting for china?" I didn't know you could!! our answer about not doing it is: a)Money. b)not brave enough. I am gonna keep checkin in to see your journey.
(saw your link from Lauren Eliz's Mommie's blog) We are Texans, too!!
Lili
LID 05/15/2006

Michele (your cali cousin) said...

I am so excited for you two this is going to be an exciting time for you...We just went to court and finalized Noah's adoption on 8/13/07 he is ours now. Let me tell you and you know from us being in your home it is a roller coaster ride when you do domestic especially until you go to court and the judge say the baby is yours then it is like a million pounds off of your shoulders because there are no more worries...:) I am just wondering were we will sleep when we come visit with all the kids we will get comfortable on the floor behind the couch hahaha... I love you guys and I am always praying that this wait will be over as I know what it is like to have to wait.....
Love and Miss you

Room for Grace said...

Praying for God to "show you His glory!", and provide everything you need. A couple that traveled with us to China had twin boys at home who turned 1 while we were there. Their adoptive daughter was 10 months at the time.
Thanks for the great Q and A session. Let the fun begin!
Dena

Lili & Robin said...

Hi again!! thanks for your comments on my blog! I love making new cyber friends! So, we ARE moving to AUSTIN next July! Can't wait- that is our home. And yes, My hubby is finishing up his medical residency. It has been a long road (makes the Chinese adoption wait seem short). have a great day in the lone star state! -Lili