Adoption? Is it because you can’t have your “own” children?
The quick answer is NO! We’ve been blessed with 2 healthy children - we had no trouble conceiving. Our desire to adopt is our response to the call that we know God has given us as a family.
What is your motivation to Adopt?
All throughout the Bible, God demonstrates an-almost-strange affinity for people on the margins. He chose slaves and shepherds, carpenters and fishermen, and gave them a special place in history. Even Jesus’ ministry was all about the lowly, the outcast, and those on the fringes. He consistently gave special attention to the people that the rest of society pushed aside because essentially they had no place or value. Jesus welcomed them front and center – often stopping what he was doing to attend to them.
And Jesus made much of them.
In doing so, the Creator of the world, God of the universe, and the Savior of man, in all of his glory says, “I see you. I value you. I love you. There’s a place for you."
As we read through the Bible, there’s no mistaking that God’s heart beats for children, for orphans, and for those with special needs. Here are just a few scriptures that speak to God’s love for orphans.
“Father to the fatherless, defender of widows – this is God, whose dwelling is holy. God places the lonely in families; he sets the prisoner free and gives them joy” Psalm 68:5-6
“No, I will not abandon you as orphans – I will come to you.” John 14:18
“Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.” James 1: 27
Over the years God has grown our heart for orphans. It’s been a gradual thing. Through family friends’ adoptions, mission trips, opportunities to sponsor children around the world, we have been privileged to take a small part in caring for orphans, though somewhat from afar.
However, a few years ago, our motivation to care for orphans became much more personal. What started as a call to participate became an undeniable call to immerse ourselves in the cause of the orphan and pursue adoption ourselves. You can read more about our story here.
What do you mean by “call” to adopt?
It’s a story years in the making, but it’s definitely worth the read. You can read our story ... so far.
Are you adopting a boy or a girl? What age?
Our intent is to adopt a girl or a sibling set. Given that Chase and Savannah are close in age (8 yrs and 7 yrs, respectively) we are pursuing the adoption of a child between the ages of 4-7. We feel that the addition of a similar-aged child, while maintaining our current birth order, would be a natural, healthy fit for our family.
Special needs? Are you really sure you’re up for that?
Given Michelle’s professional background and our family experiences, we feel God is equipping us to meet the unique (and perhaps complicated) needs of whomever he leads to our family. We are open to what that might look like. We have had many discussions about what type(s) of special needs we would consider. We recognize that regardless of the need, this will be a stretch for us, so we’re moving forward prayerfully, with realistic expectations, and fully trusting God.
There are so many children without families here in the states. Why not adopt domestically?
We believe that God’s heart beats for all orphans; that he desires each and every child, in the US and abroad, to have a forever family. We trust that God prepares different families for different stories, but we sensed from the start that our journey would be an international one.
Our decision to pursue a child from India came after discussion with our adoption agency, exploration of each country’s adoption program, orphan demographics, and need. Scott expressed interest in India and we went with it. Since that time, we’ve become better acquainted with India and the depth of need that exists there. We’re praying that God would continue to break our hearts for the people of India and share his heart for orphans there.
Here are some of the staggering statistics that we’ve learned about India:
- India has more orphans than any other single country in the world, with approximately 25.7 million orphans throughout India today.
- About 4% of India’s total population are orphaned. Of them, parents of only 0.3% children have died. The rest have been abandoned.
- Under-five deaths are increasingly concentrated in Southern Asia – India is one of the countries with the highest rates of early childhood mortality (UNICEF).
- There are 20 million street children in India.
- Over 59 million children in India have no access to school.
- One out of two children between the ages of 6 and 14 has no access to primary education.
- Out of 27 million children born in India every year, 2 million do not survive to celebrate their first birthday.
- About 60 million Indian children under the age of 6 live below the poverty line.
- 500,000 children are forced into this commercial sex trade every year.
- 1 out of every 3 girls does not live to see her 15th birthday.
- Every sixth girl child’s death is due to gender discrimination, 3 times more girls than boys die every year.
- 5.2 million children are infected with HIV/ AIDS
- 46% of children under 5 are malnourished
- India has 17 million child labourers -- the highest in the world.
How do Chase and Savannah feel about it?
From the start, “Hope” has been the name that stood out to us. Chase and Savannah have been nothing but enthusiastic about their future sibling(s). From stocking our “Hope Jar" with extra change, brainstorming ideas for how they can raise money to bring her home, to setting aside clothes and special treats for her, Chase and Savannah have been fully invested in bringing Hope home.
We’ve spoken with them at length about what this will mean for our family, adding another (or more) sibling(s), the addition of a child with special needs, etc. and they have continued to be optimistic and excited. We trust that this is a call for our entire family, so we are actively trusting God to prepare each of us individually for what’s in store.
Chase and Savannah’s only reservation has been related to getting shots. Yes, vaccinations. Neither of them have a stellar record when it comes to emotionally handling shots. As a result, it's become something their mom dreads as well! Somewhere during their preschool years, they watched a cartoon depicting a family who was adopting internationally. In the show, one of the children had to get shots before traveling. Since then, this has been Chase and Savannah’s main (and only verbally –expressed) concern. Our adoption journey will be a growing and stretching experience for each of us in unique ways!
Do you need to travel to India?
Will Chase and Savannah go with you?
Yes and yes. At the approved time, we will travel together as a family to India. The typical duration of travel is 2 weeks, during which time we will complete necessary paperwork in country, take time to bond and acclimate as a family in our daughter’s native country/culture, and see and learn more about India first hand.
We are excited to travel together as a family! We feel that, at Chase and Savannah’s age, the bonding opportunities in our first days together will be important. We believe that God will use Chase and Savannnah to help our new daughter/sister bond with us in a very special way. Additionally, they are old enough to understand and value the cultural significance of immersing ourselves and appreciating Hope's country of origin.
What are the costs?
Our estimated costs for the adoption are around $31,000-$41,000.
How are you financing your adoption?
It has been our desire from the start to finance our adoption debt-free. We have worked hard to save money in preparation, and we’re prepared to use our skills and abilities to help raise the necessary finances to cover our adoption expenses. Will you join us in our journey To.get.her.Hope?
If there are millions of waiting children in the world, why is it so costly to bring them into a loving family?
There are a number of factors that make adoption so costly. Show Hope has done an excellent job of addressing some of the major factors contributing to the cost of adoption. We’ve summarized the major expenses here:
LEGAL: We have partnered with American World Adoption Association to help us navigate each step of our adoption. We have partnered with AWAA to advocate for us and guide us through the extensive paperwork and necessary legal steps.
HOME STUDY: In order to begin our adoption process, we were required to complete a home study. Our home study consisted of multiple visits with an adoption social worker who provided training to us and collected extensive information about our family (i.e., autobiographical info, background checks, fingerprinting, health, income, family dynamic information). Personal references were also submitted. At the completion of our home study, a report was written to summarize the information collected and paint a thorough picture of our family life.
After our daughter is placed with us, our home study agency will also complete post-placement visits to ensure that she is doing well and thriving within our family.
The entire home study/post-placement process can span many months to years (depending on how quickly a waiting child is placed into our family) and the cost is often impacted accordingly.
COUNTRY: The Hague Convention was enacted by the United Nations in an attempt to thwart corruption/trafficking and preserve the right of orphaned children to experience the love and protection of a family through adoption. Under the Hague convention (of which India is part), each country has its own program to place children internationally and determines its own adoption fees.
Since we live in the US and are adopting abroad, there are a number of fees for processing federal forms and paperwork, as well as India-specific adoption fees.
DOCUMENTATION: Documentation is required for each step of our adoption process. These documents make up our Dossier. Each document is processed locally, then by our adoption agency, state and federal government, and finally by the international government in India.
Additionally, we are required to submit paperwork to the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services- USCIS (we recently submitted this– YAY!) in order to receive citizenship for our adopted child. This step alone has extensive costs.
TRAVEL: Our adoption process culminates with travel to India to meet our daughter. During this trip, our family will remain in country for approximately 2 weeks. International adoption travel can be quite expensive.
These factors combined can be expensive, but we don't view them as a major stumbling block -- it is just something we are being faithful to God who has promised to provide for all of our needs.