Monday, June 27, 2011

Adoption FAQs

Where are you adopting from?
Africa!!!! We're not publicly sharing the specific country, but I'd be happy to let (those of you that I know personally) know via email. Here are a few statistics about the country we're adopting from:
  • in a country the size of Oregon, there are between 2 and 4 million (yes, that's 6 zeros) orphans.
  • up to 13% of the population is orphaned
  • over 50% of the population is under the age of 15
  • over 45% of orphaned children are orphaned due to AIDS

What is the adoption process?
Every country has a different process and a different order of doing things.  Here's how it works with our agency and the country we're adopting from:
  1. Every adoption begins with a home study.  A home study is basically where a social worker dissects every aspect of our lives to determine if we would be good adoptive parents.  We've had to take 10 hours of adoption training, fill out a 20 page questionnaire on things like our marriage, our child-rearing philosophy, our childhoods, etc., have extensive background and financial checks, and a social worker visit our home.  
  2. The next step is to wait for a referral.  A referral is when a child has been assigned to be adopted by us.  Some people don't have to wait at all depending on the age and health status of the child/children they're looking to adopt. 
  3. After that, we'll send a dossier (hundreds of pages of documents) to the country set up a court date in country.  
  4. At court, we'll obtain legal guardianship of the child.  Four to six weeks after that, well get the necessary papers to bring our child back to the states.
  5. Then, after we return to the states with the child, we'll finalize our adoption in the US.  We'll be required to follow up with the country and our home study agency for a couple of years after the adoption.
What is your adoption timeline?
 We officially began the adoption process in April 2011.  Our home study was completed in June 2011.  Everything is an estimate and tentative, but we will probably be bringing a child home within the next 12-15 months.  We're part of a pilot program, so they're still ironing out a few kinks in the process.
    Why are you adopting?
    There are lots of reasons why we've made the decision to adopt rather than have another biological child at this time.  (Get ready...this answer may be somewhat controversial!)  The main reason is because God tells us to take care of "the least of these".  He also says that one part of pure and undefiled religion is to take care of orphans (and widows) in their distress. This means a few things to us:
    1. There are literally millions of children without homes or families or parents or beds or proper nutrition or education in this world.  They are waiting to be rescued and they are waiting to be given the chance to change their lives and change the world.  We would like to provide a home, a family, and a life to at least one of those children. 
    2. We have been so blessed through Rory.  We've also been extremely blessed to have a biological child, which lots of people struggle to do.  We're not doing this because we have no choice but to adopt.  We're doing this because we have the choice to provide a home and a life to a child that God dreamed up and has loved since before the child's conception.  We get the great joy to share some of that love of God with this child in a tangible way.
    3. Lots of Christians talk a lot about how terrible abortion is.  They make political decisions based that one issue, they picket abortion clinics, and they put bumper stickers on their cars.  Abortion is not an issue I've chosen to be outspoken about.  However, I do believe that if Christians are going to be so outspoken against abortion, they need to take some action and start adopting children that are unwanted or unable to be cared for.  This is not our main reason for adopting, but it is an important one.
    4. Remember that time we were going to buy a house?  Well, it ended up falling through.  We were sort of bummed, but sort of relieved at the same time.  A few weeks later we were talking about the money we had saved away for a down payment on the house.  We had always struggled with the ethics behind saving a lot of money to put down on a house.  It seemed very selfish to us when we thought about the impact those thousands of dollars could make in somebody's life.  (This is not meant to offend the 90% of our friends who are homeowners.  As always, we encourage everyone to act on their own convictions, not the convictions of others.)  We'd always tossed the idea of adoption around, and had thought about it a bit more seriously when we were discussing the financial investment we were going to put into a house.  Well, a couple of weeks after the house fell through, I texted Jonathan one day and basically said, "We'd never regret not buying a house and using our money for adoption.  But, we would regret buying a house and not using it for adoption."  The decision was basically made at that point.

      Why international adoption?

      We made the choice to adopt internationally rather than domestically for a couple of reasons.
      1. Though the foster care/adoption system in the states is far from perfect, we know that most American children in it will receive an education, 3 daily meals, a bed to sleep in, etc. Orphans in many other countries won't receive that kind of care at all because of financial problems or cultural differences
      2. Our family already represents different ethnic backgrounds. Why not invite another into it?
      Are you using an agency or adopting independently?
      We are using an agency.  We're doing this for two main reasons:
      1. The process of adopting is very time consuming and complicated.  We don't have the skill nor the time to orchestrate an independent international adoption.  We would have to find a lawyer, an orphanage to adopt from, and do all of our paperwork on our own.
      2. Unfortunately, a lot of child trafficking is tied up in unethical adoption.  Many countries have basically closed their international adoption programs because healthy children are being kidnapped from families and given to others as "orphans."  There is a lot of money to be made in adoption and working with an unethical lawyer can lead to some really terrible things.  The agency we're using values adopting ethically more than anything else and has put some great safety measures in place to ensure everything is happening ethically.  I'm not saying every independent adoption is unethical by any means.  I'm also not saying that every agency is ethical.  It's just a precaution we took.

      How old will your child be?
      We are open to adopting a child ages 0-2 years old.  It was strongly recommended we keep the kids in birth order.  That may be the case, or it may not.  Our adopted child and Rory will most like be very close in age.  (Jonathan always wanted twins!) 

      What sex will your child be?
       We don't know yet!  We're open to a boy or a girl.  Typically, there are more boys needing adoption in the country we're adopting from, so it's more likely we'll get a boy.  Girls are easier to be adopted within the country.  Also, their extended families seem to be more willing to adopt girls.

      How much does adoption cost? 
      Altogether, adoption costs about $25,000.  There are a lot of "little" expenses along the way that add up to that great big number.  This includes things like our home study, paying the Federal Government to get permission to bring a child back to the states for adoption, our plane tickets and lodging for the 4-6 weeks we're in country, the lawyer fee, our background checks, our agency fees, sending our dossier to the other side of the world, etc.  So, we've already paid a lot, and will continue to pay in pieces as the process continues.

      Whoa! How are you going to pay for that?
      Well, you already read that we're using the money we were going to put down on a house toward the adoption.  We're also using the inheritance I received when my grandmother died in January.  We will raise funds for the rest of the money.  (More info on that coming soon!)  

      Where did you get the onesie you made the announcement with?
      I made it of course!  I just sewed some fabric (with zig-zag stitches so it can stretch) to the bottom of a onesie to make a skirt and I used the freezer paper method of writing the words on.  Check out my tutorial here to do it on your own.  Or, you can buy one from me and we'll put the money toward the adoption!

      Wednesday, June 22, 2011

      The REAL Big News

      No, we're not pregnant...but we are expecting.

      But Mama, what does that mean?  I'm confused.

      It means that you're going to be a big or a little sister to a boy or girl we're going to adopt.

      What?????  You're adopting a baby and I get to be a big (or little) sister????


       This is even better than Cheerios!!!!!

      This is so exciting!  I'm gonna go and wait for him (or her) right now!!!!!!

      Dear little (or big) brother (or sister), I can't wait to meet you.  We're gonna have the best family ever.
      More details coming soon....feel free to ask questions in the comments section that I'll do my best to answer in a later post.

      Monday, June 13, 2011

      10 Months of Rory

      Rory hit the double digits last week.  And she's totally awesome.  This month she:
      • moved into the 75th percentile for weight
      • jumped to the 90th percentile for length
      • started mimicking words and sounds
      • choked twice (scary, I know)
      • took a nosedive off the chair during the photo shoot (hence the picture on the top left)
      • lost and re-gained excellent sleeping habits
      • goes by the nicknames: Rory, Roryface, the face, stinker-face, get the idea, Rorski, Rors M'nors, Chunks (at daycare), and bunny
      Parenting gets more and more fun with such a great kid.  We're very blessed and thankful!

      Thursday, June 09, 2011

      Baby Advice and Dresses

      I'm heading into work late today because we're making a second attempt at Rory's 9 (now 10) month checkup.  I will NOT miss this one!!!!

      Ever since we went to Chicago about a month ago, her sleeping schedule has gone a little wonky.  We spoiled her into getting rocked to sleep every night so she's forgotten how to self soothe herself to sleep.  This is only a problem at 5:30am when she wakes up and decides it's time to be awake since she can't get herself to fall back asleep.  Jonathan and I are awake at that time, but we REALLY enjoy our Rory-free morning time.  She was up from about 5:45 to 7am this morning, and then I just put her down again.  Any advice on how to break her of this habit...without having her cry it out?  (I'm all about the Babywise method, but not all about crying it out.)

      While she's sleeping, I figured I'd post a quick blog of some itty bitty baby dresses I made months ago.  I think these are my favorite things to make, because they come together in about 20 minutes and people are always impressed by them!

      As usual, I made these with remnant or free fabric.

      I can't decide which one I like better. I'm a sucker for polka-dots, but I love the green lining on the flowery one. Which do you prefer?

      Sunday, June 05, 2011

      Summer Sunsuit

      When I ran across this colorful seersucker fabric in the 50% off remnants section, I knew exactly what I was going to do with it.  Summer is finally here for me to show off Rory's ridiculously adorable chunky legs, and what better way to do it than through a sunsuit?  I've had Made By Rae's Baby Sunsuit Tutorial on my "to make" list for quite awhile now and this was the perfect fabric for it.

      It was much easier than I even thought it would be!

      In the process, I learned how to smock fabric.  (Smocking is where the fabric is gathered and stretchy.)

      Smocking is sooooo easy too! I smocked both the top and the legs of the sunsuit.

      The other thing I learned to do was installing snaps.  This project had a bit of a bigger learning curve for me and I had to replace one of the snaps (hence the different colors).

      The worst part was that the very first time I tried this on Rory, she scratched her foot on the broken snap and wailed and wailed.  It never feels good to see your kid cry...especially if you caused it!  Of course she got over it in a minute and was fine.

      All I've gotta say, is I think she'll finish out the summer with a few more sunsuits.  This cuteness needs to be continued.

      Photo Shoot Outtakes: