Our Christmas card announcement was a success!
We are so grateful and blessed to have so many friends and family who reached out to us to say congratulations, sending prayers and well wishes for our adoption journey. Almost everyone was over-the-moon happy for us and, along with the excitement, we got a few repeat questions we thought we could answer here. The biggest question was:
“What country are you adopting from and why that country?”
After multiple discussions with the adoption specialists, we have narrowed down our program (country) choices to Colombia and South Africa. We are 95% sure we will be adopting from Colombia. All of the countries have different requirements for the adopting parents, ranging from financial stability, to age, to marital status, and family background. They also have different adoption procedures, which equates to different timelines for adoptions and different requirements of the adoptive family during the process and at the end of the journey when you bring the child home. Lastly, all countries have different types of children available for adoption. South Africa’s available children range from toddler through teen years whereas Colombia’s available children are 7 or older and have many, many more sibling groups available. After taking all of the different requirements into consideration, Colombia seems to be the right fit for our family. That leads us into the next more common question (string):
“How old is the baby? Is it a girl or boy? When will he/she get here?”
It’s almost certain that we will not be adopting a baby! Colombia’s adoption program is geared towards older children so we will likely be matched with a child over age 7 or a sibling group that has one sibling in the 10 year old range who could then have one or two younger siblings. Even with a sibling group, we have not seen any available children with siblings younger than 6 years old. We are able to formally inquire about children after our home study is complete so we will have no details on a child or children until then (after spring 2018). International adoption is an extremely long process both here in the US and in the courts abroad, so we can expect it to be closer to 2 years from now before we are able to bring our child(ren) home to Richmond.
One of the most important questions we’ve been asked was:
“What do your kids think about adopting? What did your parents say?”
Our children are so young that it’s hard for them to really grasp the concept of adoption. Of course our 5 year old son E understands a little better. He understands there are children without families in other parts of the world that need families to love them. He also asked if his friends from preschool could be adopted and come join our family. Our 3 year old daughter M loves the idea of a sister! Or a brother! Or a baby! Or 5 babies! We will continue to discuss bringing more children into our family and explaining our adoption plans as they grow older and as we get deeper into the process.
We had a wonderful dinner with parents the week before Christmas and shared the news in-person! We found a creative gift on Etsy that we thought would be a fun way to make the announcement. It was a small box with a tiny world inside. When you open the world there is a note inside that says “We are adopting!”
Our parents were of course shocked and a little confused at first, but overall very happy and excited for us! Stephen’s dad exclaimed, “What!? I didn’t know THAT was coming!” presumably because our folks must have been thinking this was a pregnancy annoucement – not adoption. But if we believe a “pregnancy announcement” is an announcement of a new life, of a growing family, of preparation to care for the most vulnerable of people, and, most importantly, an announcement of God’s love for us, then a adoption announce is no different than a pregnancy announcement. And just as exciting for us. You can see the announcement in the video link below (thanks to our savvy hostess at Southbound):
We also gave our family a couple of books that have come highly recommended for loved ones of adoptive families! If you’re looking for a quick guide to answer common adoption questions and gain better insight into what we’re going through as adoptive parents, check out In On It: What Adoptive Parents Would Like You To Know. It’s a quick read and you can easily jump around between chapters. If you’re looking for a more spiritually-focused book on adoption, we recommend Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches. We are about half way through this book and appreciate the author’s first hand account of his own adoption journey.
Thank you again to all of our loved ones who showered us with warm wishes and congratulatory texts, e-mails and phone calls. We are so grateful to have such a supportive network of family and friends during this process. Thank you!
Stephen and Christine