So I've affectionately been calling our next child Carmen. You know - Carmen Sandiego. As in, "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?"
Ahhh, the nineties.
By the way, the Husband and I watched an entire episode of WitWiCS on YouTube and he was shouting out all the answers. He's such a geography geek. And when I told him that, he said, "Didn't you have a favorite country as a kid?"
Me: No, what was yours? The United States?
Him: (incredulous) No! Denmark!
And then he proceeded to explain that he liked their flag and that they were almost an island and that he "liked the sound of Copenhagen."
Aww. My geeky little Husband. He's so cute.
I hope my little teasers have done their job and you are on the edge of your seats! Are you? Are you?
So, as you know, we've been praying about where "Carmen" might be and after many weeks of prayer and discussion and research and more prayer, we are thrilled to announce that...
That's right! We are pursuing a special needs adoption in China!
We sent in our application last week and heard back earlier this week that we are approved - wahoo!!
Over the next few days, we'll give you all a little insight into how we came to this decision, but for now we just wanted you all to share in our excitement and relief to finally have a plan in place.
For now, I'll share quickly answer some FAQs:
What is the timeline?
We should be home with our child by the end of 2013. Because this is a special needs adoption and we will be choosing from children already waiting, there won't be much of a wait, if any, for a referral. We have to wait until I turn 30 in April (one of China's requirements is that both parents are 30 years old), but it will probably take us that long to get our paperwork done anyway. So once we meet those two milestones (paperwork and age), we will be able to review the files of the waiting children associated with our agency and choose one as our son or daughter. Then, we will wait about 6 months while the child's paperwork is verified before we can travel to bring him or her home. Of course, as we've learned, international adoption is nothing if not unpredictable, which is why I said, should!
What agency? We will stay our current agency, Children's Hope International. They have a well-respected program in China and have many children on their waiting list. We are thrilled to be staying with CHI. We trust them and appreciate their conservative approach to international adoption.
Why a waiting/special needs child? I'll go into this in detail in a future post, but for now I'll give you three bullet points:
- As we researched some of the more common medical conditions that waiting children have, we realized there were many that we were capable of parenting. And if we could then we began to believe that we should.
- We feel like God called us to adopt a child in need of a family. Waiting children are, by definition, waiting for a family. These children are not able to be referred to the many waiting families because of a medical condition. While all orphans are in need of families, waiting children have a unique need for families willing to adopt a medically unhealthy child.
- Practically speaking, adopting a waiting child fits our family's needs as well - our hope is for Lila to have a sibling within the next year and the process for a waiting child in China is much quicker than many other programs because there is no wait for a referral.
Why China? Again, there's a whole post coming on this one, but I'll give you another three bullet points:
- It's a stable country with ethical standards in place (it is a part of the Hague Convention)
- It's a medically advanced country so the medical information available for each child is reliable and as accurate as possible
- Many of the children on the waiting lists were in China and our agency has a reputable program
What about Ethiopia? We are so excited that this will be a concurrent adoption! Meaning we will be able to stay on the waiting list for Ethiopia while we bring our sweet Chinese baby home. One of the things that was hardest for us as we considered other options was closing the door on Ethiopia. This allows us to continue on the path to Ethiopia while also giving us the chance to give Lila a sibling close to her age.
How much will it cost?
We are estimating close to $30,000 including paperwork fees and travel.
Which brings me to our next announcement: we will be introducing several new fundraisers in the next few weeks! Because of the nature of special needs adoptions (no referral wait), we will need to raise the money relatively quickly. We estimate we will need to raise at least $15,000 in 6 months. Gulp. The almost $3,000 we currently have raised/saved will go toward our more immediate expenses (home study - $1000, program agreement fee - $1200, etc). It's a lot of money quickly and I kind of get a pit in my stomach whenever I think about it, but I know that God is big enough and he is faithful.
Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generation, for ever and ever! Amen.
Thank you, once again for walking this road with us. We are so very grateful!
(Stay tuned for a fundraiser announcement in the next day or so!)