God has placed a great desire on our hearts to continue growing our family through adoption. We feel called to take this leap of faith and we have taken the initial first steps. We have signed with an international agency and will begin our home study in this next few months.
For many years we have had a heart for Ukraine. In 2001, six months before meeting my husband, I went on short term mission trip to Ukraine and fell in love with the people and the country. My eyes were also opened to the oppression and injustice for children in third world orphanages. My husband has always supported my heart for Ukraine and over the years his love has grown for this country as well. For almost 13 years now we have continued to support a missionary family that own a small farm and provide a safe place for orphans who have aged out of the orphanage and need a place to live and learn life and work skills. We always thought that if and when we adopted it would be from Ukraine. After much prayer and research this door has been closed to us. The adoption process in Ukraine is very complicated and we would have little chance of being able to adopt a child that was close in age to our children. With some sadness but His peace, God has revealed to us that this is not the right time for us to adopt from Ukraine.
We continue to feel drawn to Eastern Europe. We have made the decision to adopt from Bulgaria. They are part of the European Union and a Hague Accredited country. Bulgaria has better systems and funding in place which in turn means greater quality of care for their orphans. Our hope is to adopt a girl between the ages of two and six or a sibling pair younger than six. We feel that it is important that our two oldest children, now six and eight remain our eldest.
We are open to a child with special needs. Special needs is a very broad term. It can range from a missing finger or birth mark, a child over five, a sibling group or mild to severe physical, emotional or mental disabilities. God has opened our hearts and minds to the possibility of a child with vision or hearing impairment since my husband is visually and hearing impaired. These are our desires although we put our trust in God to lead us and we are open to His very best for our family. We do not want to limit God or put Him in a box. We will follow where he directs us.
Adopting from Bulgaria can be a lengthy process. From start to finish we are looking at two to four years. This first year we are in is what many refer to as “the paperwork pregnancy”. This includes many steps from thorough questions about our history, to in-home visits, fingerprinting, background and criminal checks and so on. After this we will than be placed on a referral list. At this point, we wait. For a healthy younger child (under five) the wait is longer. The wait can be much shorter if they have known special needs. These children are called “waiting children” because they have been waiting longer and are hard to place due to there varied special needs. When a child is referred to us and we have accepted this referral we then travel for the first time to meet and hopefully bond with the child. This trip will last about a week. We then will return to the States and wait three to six months for our court case and final paperwork to be finished. Finally we will return for another week to bring our child home.
The financial cost to adopt internationally is steep. It can range from thirty to forty thousand dollars. This includes all legal and international fees, passports and immigration as well as all travel costs for both parents and the adoptive child. When adopting a sibling the cost goes up about ten thousand dollars. There are resources available like grants and loans to help in funding an adoption. Fundraising is also an essential part in coming out of the adoption without acquiring debt. Our hope is to apply for the grants that we qualify for as well as take on side jobs to bring in extra savings for our adoption. We also feel it important to fundraise. Our plan is to organize and facilitate a few different fundraising events in the next several months and year to come. Our hope and prayer is that through varies channels God will bring all the funding we need to provide for our adoption, down to the very last dime.
As the saying goes, “It takes a village to a raise a child”. Well, I would like to coin the term, ” It takes a village to raise for an adoption”. We need a village to walk beside us, to pray for us, to encourage and support us. We can not do this alone. We need God more than ever and we need the support of our friends and family. Will you be a member of our “village” and help us bring our child or children home?
We ask you to take time to consider how God might be leading you to join us on our journey. In doing so, you will be an active participant in reconciling a child to their forever family and providing the love and stability that is essential to their physical, emotional and spiritual development.
We invite you to join us in praying for God’s heart considering our adoption this week.
In love and grace,
Heather and family