Thursday, January 30, 2014

the start of the paper chase

I've heard a lot of adoptive parents call the process a paper chase.  It's how I arrived at the title to this blog:  paper chase...chasing paper...lots of airplane rides involved in adoption...paper airplanes could make a cute design...chasing paper airplanes.

Anyway, it turns out people weren't joking about the paper chase.

Up until today, it was a few papers here and a few there.  All in all, manageable and easy to complete.

But today, I got an email from our adoption specialist.  I kept scrolling...and scrolling...and scrolling until I came to the sixteen attachments that will have to be completed.

And if I were to take a guess, I'd still say we're in the beginning phases of all the paperwork.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

slow progress

I mentioned in my introductory post that we've just gotten started with the adoption process, but I thought I'd elaborate on what we've actually done thus far.  Warning:  it's not terribly exciting.

First step:  move.  Adoption is our primary motivation for moving when and where we did.  Why else would we double our square footage and move to the suburbs?

I can handle paperwork and mark things off my to do list, but I personally found getting started to be overwhelming because there are so many choices.  Choose an agency.  Choose whether to adopt domestically -- an infant or through the foster care system.  Or choose an international adoption.   And if you go that route, you need to figure out what country you want to adopt from and whether you even qualify to adopt from that country.  Choose special needs or not.

Ultimately we broke it down by finding an agency and completing a free pre-application.  Baby steps.  Based on the countries our agency works in, we determined we were eligible to adopt from five different countries.  We then moved forward with the real application.  That basically collected info about us, our family, our home, our employment, and net worth.

Then we had to fill out China-specific forms.  We had to be of a certain age, married for a certain period of time, have a high school degree, have a certain income, so on so forth.  As I mentioned, we're adopting through China's special needs program, so there was a six-page document we had to complete listing health conditions we would be willing to accept, as well as a gender and age we would prefer.  These special needs can range from minor or easily correctible to severe.  Just to give you an idea, this list includes needs such as cleft lip and palate, paralysis, club feet, dwarfism, HIV+, cataracts, birth marks, and down syndrome.

After getting approval from our agency and reading through a seventeen page contract, here we are.  We've filled out more forms to start the home study process, but I'll stop rambling now and will cover that another day.

Friday, January 17, 2014

our big news

If you haven’t heard the big news yet, CJ and I are adopting!

The numbers are a little fuzzy, but there are somewhere between 147 million to 163 million orphans in the world.  How do you even begin to wrap your head around that number?  We know we can’t adopt all 150 million plus orphans.  And we do not believe adoption is meant for everyone.  But we do know that God has called us to grow our family this way, so here we are.

We’re still in the beginning phases of this process and we don’t know much at this point.  We have chosen to adopt through China’s special needs program.  (More on that later.)  We’ve requested to adopt a girl up to age three at time of referral, but we have also said we’re open to twins or a sibling group, which is incredibly rare in China.  We’ve signed the contract, started paying the fees, and will begin the home study soon.  Timing wise, the adoption process takes an average of eighteen months to complete.  The wait could be shorter or it could be longer.  We might know who our child is yet this year or we might not.  We might even be in China this time next year.

So yes, since there are so many unknowns, the announcement might still be a little bit premature, but we do have some reasons for making the announcement now rather than later:

One – We need prayer.  The process is a little daunting.  More so, our future child or children need prayer – for proper care, for good health, etc.  In the end, while our child gets a family, we will also uproot that child from everything he/she/they know and I’m certain that’s very scary.

Two – We’re excited, as any parents-to-be should be!

Three – We will need your help.  Adoption is a little pricey and we don’t exactly have this sort of cash just sitting in the bank, and unlike a pregnancy, insurance doesn’t cover adoption expenses.  We believe this is our primary responsibility to come up with the money and we’ll do so by saving, working overtime, applying for grants, and opening up an Etsy shop (I know – finally, right?).  But we also have some creative fundraisers in mind.  For instance, I hope to have a giant garage sale in the spring.  Maybe you’d be willing to forego the small tax deduction and donate your extra junk to this cause instead?  We might look into asking a restaurant to sponsor us for an evening and maybe you could join us for a meal, with a portion of the proceeds going to the adoption.  Ultimately though, we believe that since God has pointed us in this direction, He will deliver, even if that path looks really muddy right now.

Four – Did we mention we could use prayer?

We have started this blog to update and educate you on this process.  We’re new to this and recognize it’s a whole new experience for nearly everyone who is invested into our lives as well.  In the weeks ahead, I’ll break down what a special needs adoption truly is, what the home study covers, and all about the dossier.  Keeping in mind that we may not have much information to share at times, we will keep this as up to date whenever possible.  And, feel free to ask questions!

Finally, we want to extend our appreciation, from the bottom of our hearts, for the love and support so many of you have shown us thus far.  We are truly grateful for your friendship and prayers.