Tuesday, February 28, 2012

More questions

Why not adopt from the U.S.?

I am asked this question a lot, especially from people who themselves have not or will not adopt any child at all. I will say 2 quick things, not in judgment or in condemnation, but if you ever ask that of an international adoptive family, please be sensitive. It is hurtful to be asked this. Adoption is hard. Very hard. And we are just trying to do some good. So to be made to feel shamed about not doing it “right” in your opinion, it’s hurtful. Also keep in mind, and I can say this from personal experience, the foster care system in this country, as broken as it is, is far better then an orphanage and most certainly better then a “laying room” or a mental institution in a foreign country. Yes, every single child deserves a home, no doubt, and we will provide a home to as many children as God allows, but some children are needier, they just are.

Now to explain our situation, I get the question…there are orphans in our own back yard, why not take care of them first? I agree, really. Hubby and I went to a foster/adoption informational meeting for that reason; we wanted to take care of the orphans in our back yard. We quickly found in our souls that we were pushing something that God was not ordaining for our lives right now. We want to foster and adopt children in our state. But that is not God’s plan right now and if we have learned anything about adoption it is that you DO NOT want to do it without God! I am not sure we could have survived adoption without our faith and trust and assurance that it was God’s will! If we have matured in anything in our Christian walk it is that we know that we know when God has chosen a child for our family. We were not expecting to adopt again so soon…I mean really not expecting it. But as soon as I read Valentin’s story it was like God hit us with a 2x4.

So why are we adopting from foreign countries…because that’s where our children are. Simple.

Maybe our next child will be a child we foster or that we adopt locally. Who knows? We are open to whatever child God calls us to, it just so happens that He has called us across oceans.

Are you “locked in” for Valentin?

No. There are absolutely no guarantees that we will be able to adopt Valentin. Other then the huge guarantee of God impressing upon us that he is our son J But as far as his country is concerned, he is not ours really until he is with us and out of the orphanage.

He is not our son until a court judge in his region grants us permission to be his parents and even then there is a 10-day waiting period where biological family members can come forward and ‘claim’ him.

Several things can happen, his biological family could decide to take him out of the orphanage, another family ahead of us in the process could choose to adopt him, or he could be given as a referral to another family ahead of us in the process. We are not worried though; as of last week he was still available for adoption and we are absolutely certain God has made us a family. We would not be doing this if we were not certain that it is God’s will! Valentin is our precious son!

When will you travel? What is the process?

Within a few hours our dossier will be submitted in Valentin’s country. It *usually* takes 2 weeks for the dossier to be approved and an invitation to travel to be issued. That travel date is *usually* 2 to 3.5 weeks after that. I use the term “usually” loosely here because the adoption governing body has recently changed and no one is sure if the new process will be the same as the old process. We are in the group of people doing adoptions through the new governing body for the first time so the process is a little uncertain. But if things happen the way they used to happen we could be leaving in 4-6 weeks.

This just blows our minds! Our other adoptions took 9-10 months. We just heard of Valentin in early January and already we are talking travel??? There is a lot to be done in the coming weeks but we are so grateful that things have moved so quickly and that God has moved so many mountains!!! Our beloved Valentin, it won’t be long now…

The travel in country is averaging about 40-50 days. Yes, you read that right 40-50 days. There is no way hubby can get that much time off work so he will be making 2 trips for the parts of the process he has to be there for. I have the option of making 2 trips too and it is a struggle because on one hand I want to be here with my kiddos (the thought of leaving them is killing me) but I know Valentin needs as much love and attention as he can get. My plan is to stay the entire time in country to make it less disruptive for Valentin.

Why all the secrecy?

I know right?! You have probably noticed I do not mention what country Valentin lives in. This is for his protection and the others in his orphanage. This blog is VERY public and we are trying to walk that fine line of sharing his story and our story without also inviting any harm to come to him or us. You never know who is reading about these kids and could use info to take advantage of them.

It is so hard and so heart breaking to know that someone half way around the world is your child and yet be completely helpless to protect them. I cannot make sure that Valentin gets held today or that he gets a nutritious meal, or that he stays warm and comforted. All I can really do is protect his identity and location, so that is why the secrecy.

You know how hard it is going to be, right?

Ok, no one really asks the question like that, people have been so kind, but it is alluded to often so I thought it would be good to address here. It is easy to read this blog and others with all the blessings and stories of children being healed and thriving in their new homes and think it is kind of easy. It is easy to think it is going to be easy during the waiting. It is easy to picture a grand first meeting and an easy transition. God has blessed us in AMAZING ways and we would not trade adoption for anything…I mean anything! But, yes we know it is going to be hard. Very hard. Beyond hard. We have had one extremely hard adoption with a child that fought us every second of every day for a long time. And we have had one easier adoption with a child that smiled at us, came to us immediately with hugs and love and has not stopped since.

We are very fortunate that we have gained experience and knowledge in bonding and attachment and in development and therapy, but even with all that experience and knowledge we know that we will be shocked by what we see in Valentin. We know that the hard part has not even begun yet. It is going to take a huge amount of time and work to undo 6 years of neglect. 6 years of sedation. 6 years of possible poor nutrition. 6 years of no way to communicate. 6 years of self-soothing behavior that will not go away over night. Our minds probably cannot even imagine what we are going to see and experience. We cannot even begin to know the rough days ahead.

But God…I just love those words “but God”…but God is so good to bless us with all the encouraging stories of people helping to rescue Valentin and the thousands of prayers that are prayed for him and for us. We have seen miracles, mountains moved, people doing extraordinary things, amazing amounts of selfless giving, and many new friendships formed. All this God is doing so we can remember His faithfulness and His provision to motivate and encourage us when the hard days come.

And above all, isn’t Valentin worth it? Jesus paid a painful and bloody price for our adoption, what is it for us to have to put forth a little effort…a lot of effort?

We know the hard days are coming…but God…


  1. I want to encourage you on your last point. We recently adopted our daughter from Uganda. She had been abandoned and was living on the streets. She has CP, epilepsy, hearing loss in both ears, and global developmental delay. We deal with a lot of the behaviors you mentioned in your post. We also go to therapy three times a week and see multiple specialists for her complicated epilepsy and hearing loss. The challenges are many, but the rewards far outweigh anything negative! I would love to be in touch with you as you go through this process. What you are doing is a courageous step...God will bless you for this! my blog is christinaswinger.wordpress.com if you're interested in reading more of our story. Blessings to you and your family. I pray for Valentin every day and hope you are together soon.

    1. Oh my goodness Christina, I just checked out your blog and only had a second to look at but I love your story and your daughter! I can't wait to read more! Thank you for your encouragement and prayers!

  2. I just love reading your thoughts..they are so encouraging to me! Thank you~

  3. May God bless you and your family richly!

  4. I am catching up on your story - Sprig break, you know. I can't wait for Valentin to get to you! One challenge of adopting a special needs child that I did not anticipate is the loss of many of my friends, as far as the "do you know what you're getting into?" question. We did not think that we would lose friends, although we were told that by some special needs parents beforehand. It's been two years, and friends are falling away and don't want to socialize with us; there's no invites to trips to the zoo when there's a wheelchair involved. It's too bad, really, and while we are a little lonely we're not sorry we did it, or to let some people go.