Thursday, October 30, 2008

Cost of adoption

Several people have made some reference to me regarding the cost of adoption. Some have asked me straight out how much will our adoption cost and others will say, "Isn't it expensive to adopt?!" OR "Why does adoption cost so much?"

First of all I will not give out a figure for the total cost of our adoption unless I know that someone is genuinely interested in adoption themselves.

Secondly, I don't think people realize that there is a huge tax credit ($10,000 +). Also, there are several organization who have grants available for families for financial assistance.

Aside from the assistance or how much the adoption process taxes your finances, if God has chosen for you a path leading to adoption, God will provide your needs.

Why does adoption cost so much when there are so many orphans in the world? Adoption is a legal process and there are many resources and processes that are necessary to complete this legal process. For example, background checks is just one of the many steps a family has to take. This step is very necessary and will help cut down on human trafficking, a reality that is growing in all parts of our world, even in our own state.

In addition, the Ethiopian government specifically asks adoption agencies to give back to their country in some way. Our agency has provided much relief to much needed causes in many ways. Just to name a few, they have built a school, a stadium and a hospital in the capital city, all of which help generate money for their economy and provide needed schooling and health care for those who before have gone without these services.

We are not adopting to 'save' a child as many people like to assume. And our son will not be the lucky one. We are the lucky ones. We do hope to provide him with a better living environment. But regardless of his current environment, we know that God would choose his first family over us. Even if his family has nothing, being raised by his first family would be God's first choice for him.

We are adopting because we want to add to our family through adoption and since we see one of the biggest needs in Ethiopia, we have chosen to pursue adoption through this country. To us, this child's life is priceless. To his birth family, it is a much bigger price to pay.

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from becoming polluted by the world." James 1:27

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Skunks only spray Grirls!

My father is retiring from farming after this fall's harvest. So, our family travelled to the farm this past weekend to witness some of the last corn picking days of his farming career. We love the farm! There is never a shortage of four wheeler rides, tractor rides and combine rides.

For my kids, this is like Disney World!

Actually, it's better than Disney World because not only are the rides fun but the culture you experience is so rich. Like, how many kids have really seen a LIVE SKUNK up close?!?!

My kids and all their cousins got to see a skunk. No, it wasn't a black and white kitty. It was an actual skunk that found it's way into a cage on my parent's farm and got trapped.

The cousins were so entertained by this skunk. Avery, my 5 year old announced that she didn't go any closer than 10 feet from the creature. How far can skunks spray? Well, I don't think I want to find out so I asked my children to keep their distance.

And then I had this conversation with my 3 year old nephew, who also saw the black and white 'kitty':

Me: O, have you seen the skunk?

O: Yes!

Me: Does it stink?

O: Yes!

Me: Oh! Did it spray you?!?

O: No it didn't spray me.

Me: Can I go see the skunk?

O: No! (shaking his head) You can't see it because it only sprays grirls. It doesn't spray boys.

Me: Oh, well if it only sprays girls, I better not go near it then.

Thank you mom and dad for the rich experience!!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Referrals starting again

After 4 months of hardly any referrals, our agency finally handed out a batch of referrals the first two weeks of October. We were disappointed but not overly surprised that we did not receive a referral this time.

When we started this process, we expected to wait 2 - 4 months. We thought for sure we would have our son home by Christmas. We are now 5 months into our wait and now will not travel until 2009.

The good thing is that every time there are referrals, we get that much closer to meeting our son. Also, our agency just announced that they now have contracts with 2 more orphanages in Ethiopia. We are hoping this will pick up the slow down we've had in referrals.

We know that our son will join our family at the right time but this wait is testing our patience. It's really hard to stay focused when so much time passes with no word.

Still, we try to keep our eyes focused on the Lord and not the wait. We have hope and joy in knowing that He will select the right child for our family at the right time.

Monday, October 6, 2008

My weekend with Lauren

This past weekend, I helped chaperon 15 girls (including my 12 year old, Lauren) from our church to the 'Revolve Tour' at the Target Center. Over 6,000 teenage girls from the Midwest and Canada attended the event. Our girls spent the night at a local church. Their sleep over was one of the highlights of their weekend.

The most popular part of the tour was the Christian band, Hawk Nelson. The girls absolutely went crazy over them!

Natalie Grant was also a hit! She was so awesome but unfortunately, I don't have pictures of her.

Another one of my favorite parts of the event was a message from Chad Eastham who wrote the book "Guys like girls who..." He told the girls that guys like girls who are comfortable in their own jeans and who like themselves. He also brought home the idea of NOT letting the guys be accessible by 'key pad' during this modern age popularity of communicating by text messaging. They even designed a T-shirt with the message, 'Don't txt my heart'.
Jenna Lucado (Max Lucado's daughter) was also there to deliver a powerful message about how "God is ALWAYS accessible, but it's up to me to access Him."

I was most inspired by this 14 year old boy. He started his own organization, Hoops of Hope and has raised millions of dollars to build schools and help feed hungry children in Africa. Go to this link for information on how you can get involved in this ministry.

My day with Avery

On a beautiful, sunshine, fall day, Avery and I took many pictures outside. She loves getting her picture taken! I just love spending time with this little one. We have so much fun together!

This is Lucy, the sunflower Olivia brought home from school in the spring and transplanted in our garden. When Olivia brought Lucy home, she was smaller than the size of my pinky!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Sharing our story once again

I had the great privilege once again to read to Olivia's class. This time I chose a book about adoption.

Olivia has been getting a lot of questions lately from her classmates about our adoption. She doesn't know how to answer every question, so I used this as a time to educated the rest of her class and to help her answer some of those tough questions.

I answered no less than 20 questions from the students. They were so intrigued by our adoption story that they kept wanting to know more. Here were some of their questions/comments:

Will he be black?
Will he live with your family the rest of his life?
Will he be a twin to Olivia?
How old will he be?
Won't he be afraid?
How soon will you have him?
Can you bring him to school so we can see him?
I have a brother. Are you sure Olivia wants a brother?
How far do you have to travel to get him?
How long will you be gone?
Where are Olivia, Lauren and Avery going to stay while you are gone?
I know someone who adopted.

Olivia was pleased with the positive response from her classmates. In a way, I think it kind of took some pressure off her. She doesn't feel so weird about the whole thing anymore - she feels more at ease. What a blessing!

She informed me that at the end of their school day, her teacher lifted our family up in prayer, which really meant the world to Olivia!