Friday, January 25, 2013

what's next and FAQs

There's no such thing as a "normal" adoption.  There's always some x factor - domestic and international alike - that adds a little twist to the narrative.  Whether it's a pre-orphange story with a lot of gaps, a birth parent who is waffling on the idea of adoption, family members pressing the parents in one way or another, political changes in the child's birth country, I could make a running list of less than clear-cut circumstances that families encounter during an adoption.

Faith's adoption was proving to be no exception.  But, we felt such an extraordinary level of peace and clarity about saying "yes" to pursuing her adoption that the complicating factors of her circumstances didn't deter us.  We made the choice to operate under the assumption that Faith's birth mom will choose us and that she will be our daughter.

So, we are officially withdrawing from the China program with our international agency and adapting what would have been an international home study into a domestic home study!  We have been around the world and we have some major emotional jet lag from all of the "traveling" we have been doing!

Now, to answer some basic and frequently asked questions:

Q: How much will this adoption cost?
A: We don't know yet.  The cost of domestic adoptions can vary greatly depending on attorneys' fees and the potential that birth mothers may need financial support while they are pregnant.  Since Faith is already born, we don't anticipate having those kind of expenses, but the attorneys' fees are still unknown.  We estimate that this adoption will be about $10,000 less than our Chinese adoption would have been, but we just don't know.  At this point, we have a little over $8,000 raised and we anticipate getting $1200 back from our international agency to put toward Faith's adoption so we have close to $10,000 raised.  We would like to have $20,000 raised and ready to go so that we are covered and whatever we raise over the amount we end up needing we will put toward our Ethiopian adoption.

Q: When will she be home?
A: We don't know that yet, either.  Our best guess is April based on Faith's birth mom's expressed desires.  It is a voluntary placement so the ball is 100% in her court and we are subject to her time line and desires.  Again, I don't want to go into details on Faith and her birth mom's circumstances at this point.  Once she is home, I think I will have some more clarity on what feels safe and appropriate to share.

Q: So, what's next?
A: We will finish our home study and wait to hear from Faith's birth mom.  In the meantime, I realized that I'm basically 7 months pregnant and I have been in nesting mode the last week or so, drawing up floor plans, researching developmental needs for children with DS, figuring out what we need to sell/giveaway to make room for a new baby, deciding if the girls will share a room, etc.  It's all great fun!  I love this part!  In fact, I make the conscious decision to not fret about the possibility that the adoption won't work out in favor of enjoying these next few months in anticipation that it will!

Q: Will you keep her name?
A: How could we not!?  She also has a Chinese name, but we don't know how to say it or what it means.  We hope to find that out and take that into consideration when naming her.  We also have some ideas for a middle name, but won't be sharing our official decision on that until she's in our arms.

Q: Will you still adopt from China?
A: We don't think so.  Faith will be our Chinese adoption!  We still are planning on adopting from Ethiopia (by the way, I have an email in to our adoption consultant for that program to see where we are on the wait list these days!) and I still don't know if I'm ready to say I won't have any more biological kids so right now China is off the table.  But, we have learned that our plans are quick to change as the wind blows so we won't say never!

Q: What if Faith's adoption falls through?
A: We are hopeful that it won't.  But if it does, we will evaluate where we are at that point and decide what path to take.  It's hard to say what we would do if that happened because we don't know how our circumstances will change between now and then.  If we had a completed domestic home study, we may choose to pursue a domestic adoption.  Or we may re-apply to the China program.  God only knows!  All we can say is we know that we are supposed to say "yes" to Faith right now and if that path leads us to a dead end, then we'll see what intersecting roads are nearby and go from there.

Q: What about Lila? How is she feeling about all this?
A: She is thrilled!  We have told her that we are trying to adopt Faith and she's seen a picture of her.  Her Nana got her an asian baby doll for Christmas whom Lila promptly named Faith, so she is already practicing her big sister skills.  I don't think she really knows what that means, so I'm not too worried about her being disappointed if it doesn't work out.  I'd rather her be prepared for it and risk her being confused/disappointed than have her unprepared and unaware of such a big change.  I have a post in the works expressing some of our thoughts on how Faith's special needs will affect Lila so stay tuned for that.

Q: What do you need? How can I help?
A: Awww. Thanks for asking!  For now please pray for us, for Faith, for her birth parents, for Lila.  I will write another post giving some specific prayer requests and also sharing some practical needs we will have to prepare for Faith joining our family and once Faith is home.  In the meantime, I am loving your comments, emails, texts and phone calls.  It means so much to me to know that we have such a supportive and loving community.  Thank you!

It's hard to tell a story and give enough details that it makes sense to those reading it, but not divulge more than is appropriate for the circumstances, so if there is anything that doesn't make sense or that you have questions about, shoot me an email or leave a comment.  I'll answer what I can!

Thanks for being joining us.  We wouldn't have the courage without you all with us.


Katy said...

Praying for you, let me know if something I can do!! So excited for you! I know God still has plans for you, Eric and Lila!

Susannah Rolf said...

Praying with hopeful expectation for you all!

Jami Nato said...

i just love your guys heart. glad to be a part of it in a very small way.