You may have questions.
You might wonder, why not have another child the good old fashioned way?
What do Jayce and Everleigh think?
You might wonder, why not save a child in the United States?
You may wonder, why China?
I know that this decision isn't one that everyone will understand. It is not one that everyone would make. But, I also know that this decision was not one that was taken lightly. It was talked about A LOT, it was prayed on CONSTANTLY and it never left our hearts.
I am excited to blog about our journey. It will be therapeutic when things are hard and when the days are long.
So, let's jump into the why's, shall we?
Why not have another child the old fashioned way? It was something we talked about. My pregnancies were not fun, my deliveries were terrifying. Steve spends 9 months terrified each and every day. While each pregnancy and delivery were 1000000% worth it, we just couldn't agree that it was what we wanted this time around. And, let's be honest, newborns terrify my husband :P
What do the kids think? Well, luckily we have been doing a lot of giving back lately and educating Jayce about all of the children that go without. So, we explained that some children do not have a mommy and daddy, and how did he feel if we brought home a little sister that doesn't have a family and that will look different than him. To which he replied,
"Another sister? I do not know how I feel about that."
And we asked him if he wanted to switch bedrooms and let the girls have the rooms that are connected with a bathroom. He told us he would love to let his sisters have his room and he will take Everleigh's room. But, ONLY if he keeps his big new bed haha!!! That kid has priorities :)
As for Everleigh, she doesn't understand. She said she wants a baby but when I ask if she wants a little sister, she tells me that Jayce can have one.
Why not save a child in the US? THIS is going to be the biggest issue we will face with people questioning our decision. I want to clear it up, it is NOT that we don't want to save an American child. But to adopt a toddler in the US, it is done by way of the foster care system. We considered fostering with the hopes of adoption but decided that as a family with 2 young children, we were just not up for how it could effect our family as children came in and out of their lives.
We considered the option of adopting a newborn domestically. That said, my heart said no. There are SO many parents who are waiting to be chosen by a family in the US. Many of the people waiting to adopt here cannot have a baby. I just couldn't deal with the idea that we could get picked before someone that cannot have a baby. That doesn't feel right in my heart, because we CAN have babies.
Why China? Man, that is trickier to explain. We looked into a lot of countries and honestly, several require more than one trip to the country you are adopting from and that is not an option in our books. And, China allows your to specify more as far as conditions and gender are concerned.
No, let's talk about the process, costs and what it will look like when we come home.
The process is LONG. We have already started by applying to our adoption agency, Madison Adoption Associates. And we have applied for our home study agency, DATZ Foundation. The home study is the first step. It involves a TON of paperwork, background checks, financial statements, interviews, safety inspections, etc. The home study process can take up to 4 months.
Then, we complete our dossier. Which is complete with our home study and medical form that specifies what special needs we are willing to accept and that we are specifically requesting a girl. That all goes to China with literally enough documents to fill a 1 inch binder. Then we wait for China to approve our dossier and log us so that we are officially waiting to be matched.
Once we are in LID (log in date) status, we wait. We wait for China and our agency to match us with a young (age 0-2) minor needs girl. We are then given a file and pictures of a child that meets our requirements and we are given the chance to send the file to a doctor to confirm any health issues and we can accept or deny the file. If we accept, then we wait for travel approval which means 6-8 weeks following the acceptance, we will travel to China. That is where Steve and I will spend 2 weeks. We will pick up our girl on day 2 and we will complete paperwork and such over the next 12 days. Then we bring her home, fully adopted and a US citizen :) If we choose to deny the file, then we go back to waiting. She will likely be between 15 and 24 months when we bring her home.
Now, let's talk special needs. If we want to wait on a completely healthy girl, the wait is over 3 years. We are not looking for a perfectly healthy girl. We had to pour over an incredibly scary medical form to decide what we can handle as parents and as a family. With each box we knew we were leaving another child as an orphan. We talked for days. I was physically ill thinking of marking the boxes and many times, Steve would shut down and not want to discuss it. I truly didn't think one form would be so hard.
We decided on mild conditions such as albinism, minor heart conditions, developmental delays, prematurity, and failure to thrive. I discussed this with our agency. She told me that cleft lip and cleft palate (CLCP) are considered minor. And thanks to a shift in China, they are keeping as many girls in China as possible and that if we truly want a girl that there is pretty much a guarantee that she will have CLCP. We thought on it for days and our hearts say that we have a daughter in China.
What does that mean for us? For her? For our family?
China considers it minor but it is nothing of the sort. It will require special bottles. It will likely require several surgeries in her first year here. It will require surgery and orthodontics as she grows. It will require potentially YEARS of speech therapy. Her first year will be full of pain, surgery and recovery. Even if it is fixed in China, it will require corrective surgeries here.
Her first months, if not fixed in China will mean stares from strangers who don't understand her journey. It will mean fear of us as her parents every time we take her into public, worrying that someone will see our sweet girl as anything other than perfect and as a fighter. Heck, it could mean my husband or one of my sisters ends up in jail for punching an inconsiderate stranger ;) It will mean commitment to helping her heal. Fear every time she is under, and tears shed every time she hurts and doesn't understand why she has to have another surgery.
That is NOT minor. It will be long, involved and exhausting and it will be EXPENSIVE.
More expensive than the adoption.
Now, I want to take a second and talk about the costs associated with adoption and what that means to us.
The cost of adoption ranges from $30,000-$35,000. There are many grants available, but we do not qualify for them. We make good money. For that reason, as we started, we considered not fundraising.
And then I realized that it was crazy to not fundraise. When we bring our sweet girl home, it will be costly to take care of her and deal with surgeries. So, we are fundraising to help alleviate the cost of the adoption so that we can afford to manage her medical needs when she is stateside.
We do not plan to go crazy fundraising. At this point, I have 3 fundraisers in the works (the first will begin this week) and that is it. I never want my friends to feel as though we are constantly asking for anything. I have picked fun and meaningful ones. I have set up a You Charity account, BUT we will never post that link to ask for donations. That is not my style. It is only set up in order to collect for the fundraisers planned.
I also hope that if you are reading this that you understand my heart. That we never expect anything from anyone except for prayers, love and support. If you choose to participate in our fundraisers, we appreciate you. If you choose to share our fundraisers, we appreciate you. And if you only choose to pray for us and love us, we appreciate you.
If you have any questions, I am an open book and will answer it :) I hope you continue to follow along with us as we proceed!