A Little Change in Plans?

Adoption is the ultimate example of hurry-up-and-wait, and we are back in the hurry-up phase. In my mind, there are roughly 43,284 things to do before you get put on the wait list, but the adoption agency groups these things into four main categories. Moving on to immigration is a whole new category, so the fact that we have applied with them is a pretty significant step. And we mailed our application in one day before the fee increase took place, so I consider that a success. Immigration takes 4-6 weeks and during that time we have a bunch of online classes to take, we have to finish getting our papers notarized, have the agency check our papers to make sure they’re notarized correctly, get any that are incorrect redone, etc. Should be a fun few weeks. Sarcastic font.

Our home study arrived over the weekend, 11 pages of single spaced details, all you could ever want to know about the Millers. It was BOR-ING. I mentioned that there was a small issue with our home study, and I know you have probably been losing sleep over just what that issue is. Drum roll please…

We chose the Ethiopian program for many reasons, including the relatively short wait times, the young children, and the fact that sibling groups were available. We told the agency we wanted two siblings age three and younger. The agency said that three and younger truly means three and younger, so we wouldn’t get matched with a 38-month-old, for example. That being said, they don’t record or celebrate birthdays in Ethiopia, so age is an educated guess. Sometimes they’ll know something like they were born three harvest seasons ago. Doctors examine them. But the birthday is truly a guess. And it’s decided in Ethiopia. It can be changed after arriving home, but it is not an easy process. Keep in mind that from the time you are referred to the time you bring them home, roughly six months passes. So if you get referred a 36-month-old, they will be 3.5 when you bring them home.

Late last week I received a call from Nikki. She told us that they have not been getting many referrals for 3-and-younger sibling sets. In 2010, they have received five referrals of this type. And four of them were twins. There are roughly 10 people on the waiting list requesting 3-and-younger siblings. So if the upcoming years follow the same pattern, it will be 2 years before we get a referral. Two years doesn’t include the time we’ve already spent, the things we still have to do, or the 6 months between referral and travel. 2 years on the wait list increases the total time to 3 years. Major suck factor. In fact, anybody applying to the program today who wants a sibling set of two has to be open to six and younger.

So, we basically have three options:

1. Stick with our plan and accept that it will take much longer than originally anticipated.

2. Raise our ages- The older we’re willing to take, the shorter our wait time will likely be. My worry is that if we say 4 and under, the older one will be 4.5 by the time we get him/her home, and then you have to start thinking about school. Not something we had planned on so soon. Of course, the wait time is shorter because more of these kids need homes.

3. Change our plan and apply for a single baby instead- Our wait time would decrease to 10-14 months, total time 22-26 months. We would love a baby, but. But we like the idea of having siblings. But we like the idea of having more than one person in the family look different. But if we decide to adopt again, we have to pay and do everything again, rather than pay a relatively measly $3,500 fee for a second child. Lots of buts.

So that’s where we’re at. We’ve talked but haven’t made a decision yet. And we don’t have to make a decision anytime soon. We can change our minds at any time and not lose our place on the wait list, so there really is no hurry. But it’s been on my mind and I need some advice, people. What do you think??

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12 Comments

Filed under Adoption Process, Decision Points

12 responses to “A Little Change in Plans?

  1. Shannon Addington

    Why not change country or is Ethiopia set in stone?

  2. Kaydee

    Well I already shared my opinion. A poor little 4 year old is sitting, hungry in ethiopia waiting for a family. Guilt factor. Secondly, as you said- the idea of having more than one child in the family “look different” would be nice. It would be a support factor for the kids. They would have someone else that came from where they did and that helps them feel more at home.
    But, its your decision and either will yield a great outcome.

  3. sara

    I think that taking the one baby would be cool, cause maybe then in a few years yall could get another baby from another place and have a whole family full of different people from diFferent places that LOVE EACH OTHER THE SAME!!!!!

  4. justjames44

    Thanks…keep em coming. 🙂 We’re not changing from Ethiopia. One, we are already attached to Ethiopia. Two, changing would mean starting all over and losing the time/money we have already spent. Three, even given these things Ethiopia is still one of the shortest wait times with youngest kids, so I’m not suer what we would change to.

  5. Leah

    Personally, I agree with Kaydee that there are a lot of older children out there that need homes. I was listening to a christian radio station today (Air1) and they are having a drive to build orphanages in Africa… and it is really sad to hear about six and nine year old children having to act like adults and care for younger children… those kids don’t get a chance to play or be a regular child. They are thrust immediately into adulthood. Preventing that in even one life would make a HUGE impact. BUT it is your kid. I will only be spoiling them periodically ( and I intend to!), but they will be your child… all I can say to do is pray and do more research!! :S I love you guys and am so proud and inspired by you!

  6. Jennifer

    We will certainly be praying for you guys. I can’t imagine the back and forth you may be going through. I think God put in your hearts for two children to come home with you. A lot of people may not be up for that…but you both are okay with it. I wouldn’t rule out bringing two kiddos home.

    If you up the ages and get older kids, I think God will grant you the grace to manage ALL of the life’s changes, even the ones you haven’t thought of yet. Love you both!

  7. Mark

    You all are amazing. Thanks so much for reading about our journey and sharing with us. One big thing that Jayme and I want to make clear is that we are not adopting out of a charitable obligation. We were somehow drawn to Ethiopia…I’m not sure why. But we’re also drawn to young children. There are millions of children around the world in NEED of a home. Should we adopt them all? I don’t mean that sarcastically at all. Just probe your brain and think about literally signing adoption papers. We’ve grown a lot through this process, and we will continue to grow. One thing, however, will not change…we won’t change our adoption preferences out of charity. It’s not fair to the children or us.

  8. Shannon

    My choice would be to stick with your original plan. The adjustment of moving to the states will be difficult enough and, most likely, having a sibling nearby will help the transition. Plus, you never know when a miracle will happen and grace you two with children sooner!

  9. Larry

    I think you nailed it Mark. You shouldn’t adopt out of charity any more than you should give birth out of charity, if you did so, you would tire of it quickly & and it would not be fair for the kid(s). Obviously, it seems like a viable solution to up your age a bit, but I’m sure you know that the older the child the more difficult the transition might be. Whats hard for people to fully grasp, is that when you adopt, it’s the same as when others give birth…you are growing your family and raising your kids. They may not look like you, but it will be the same nonetheless. The love and bond will be intense! Having people congratulate you on how wonderful it is that you rescued these kids… will. get. old. Trust me.

  10. Cathy

    How long does it shorten the time to go 4 years and younger siblings? I understand your concern with starting school…but if you think about it, most kids don’t start school until they are 6. Yes, some start at 5 too. Avary and Brynna will only be a year apart in school even though they are 22 months apart in age. The language barrier would be my only concern with school. But I think that is something that you two (especially you two) can handle and get through. I say raise your age to 4. There is still chance that the other sibling will be a baby, right?

  11. Michelle Ramirez

    Wow – what a difficult decision that I believe only you all can make….we all have opinions, but we won’t be living with the decisions. Continue to pray about it and God will provide you the answer…..trust what God tells you.

  12. I support you guys sticking with your original plan because, while the wait may be harder on you, having a brother/sister around AND time to get used to a whole new culture before being thrusted into the school environment will probably be easier on the older child. I think the whole transition from the other country will be stressful enough on the child… also, having that year will give the oldest time to develop their English, and hopefully make the social aspect of school better on them as well.

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