Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Our Adoption Journey, Part 2

“Adoption” is a very broad term in today’s world.  The two types we are looking into are domestic infant adoption and international adoption. 
Domestic infant adoption is *probably* cheaper, but I am wary of how the outcome depends entirely on a birth mother to select you to parent her unborn child.  I guess I’m a little afraid that our conservativeness could come off as weird or freakish.  We also are not comfortable with any kind of open adoption, and closed adoptions seem to be getting more and more rare.  Of course, if you are never selected by a birthmother, all the money and time you’re invested in the home study and the agency is gone.  That’s a big risk in my book. Finally, I take issue with the ‘waiting period’ that the birth mother has to change her mind between the birth and finalization. In our state it is 96 hours (four days), which isn’t the worst, but my heart would break if we took a baby home for four days and then baby’s birthmother wanted him or her back. 
International adoption is pricey, mostly because of all the paperwork that must be done in both the U.S. and your adoptive country.  Everything needs to be translated, and in the vast majority of cases, travel is required.  This is tough for us as we cannot be gone on long trips due to my husband’s work (and he HATES to fly!). However, in most countries, a couple is matched with a child that is already free for adoption – no ‘waiting period’, no waiting to be selected by a birthmom, no requirements to maintain contact with a birth family.  I have family members that were adopted internationally and it was a great experience for me to see.  They are not without their struggles, but it was a powerful lesson in love for me that has impacted me, and I would like to make a difference that way, too.
What country?  Well, this complicate things even further, my husband and I are too young (26) for many countries (China, for example, requires parents to be 30; the Philippines requires age 27).  Furthermore, our mental health histories also eliminate a LOT of the most common countries that Americans adopt from.  It was really kind of heart-breaking to see so many possibilities slip away just because we’ve both endured major depressive episodes at times in our lives. (Who goes through infertility without depression, anyways?)  The trend in international adoptions has also shifted from healthy, older babies and young toddlers to older children or children with special needs.  Now I’m not afraid to welcome a special needs child as my own, but I need to be honest about our situation.  We will be on one small income after we are parents.  Our current insurance is good – does not deny coverage for pre-existing conditions – but it’s pricey and may very well have to go in favor of something with lower premiums.  We’re afraid to take an older child as our first – we feel like we need some parenting experience “growing up” with a younger child first.  Also (could this get any harder?) some countries require a ‘ent worth’ or have income requirements that we don’t meet, being a ministry couple with old cars and living in a parsonage.  So, what country lets you adopt from them if you don’t make a ton of money, have depression in your medical history, has young kids available, and doesn’t require multiple trips or one long trip?  South Korea.  Vietnam is also a possibility if they re-open for international adoptions in 2012 as indicated.
As you can probably tell, my heart is leaning toward international, but my husband is unsure as this point.  If you would, please pray that God’s will is made known to us, and that we follow it. 
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding, In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV

Our Adoption Journey...

…hasn’t really started yet, though I am very anxious to begin.  Let me feel like things are moving by telling you a bit about it.
We’ve been married for very nearly five years (our anniversary is around Christmas).  Birth control was not something we wanted to do or can do with clear consciences.  God commands His people to be fruitful and multiply (Gen. 1:28) and proclaims that children are a blessing and a reward (Psalm 127). 
I will admit that we did very loosely practice the calendar method for the first year or so of our marriage.  We didn’t want to, but we didn’t have health insurance through my job, my husband was a full-time student, we couldn’t afford to buy our own insurance and didn’t qualify for state benefits due to residency requirements.  The tough decision was made, and let me tell you, I regret it completely.  I wonder almost every day if our one chance to conceive was during that year and we threw it away for the sake of what we perceived to be social responsibility.
After that year I got a job with benefits and we quit watching the calendar.  This was in January 2008.  I tried to relax and we prayed.  We were pretty patient for a year, then I started getting a little concerned.  At this point my insomnia had been going strong for seven months and I saw a doctor.  She ordered bloodwork to check a myriad of things.  The results showed nothing abnormal and cost us $800.  I bought and read “Taking Charge of your Fertility” by Toni Weschler.   We implemented the BBT method for the entire calendar year of 2009.  I also bought and used Dr. Lee’s progesterone cream that year.  It helped neither my insomnia, nor my painful periods, nor our infertility.
In January 2010 I quit my high-stress job I’d held for two years.  I wondered if that would make a difference (but that wasn’t the reason I quit).  It didn’t.  In spring that year, my husband finished the classroom portion of his seminary studies and was assigned his internship in a tropical climate.  We moved from the Midwest to the subtropics.  I wondered if the sun, the gentler climate, and working part-time would open my womb – nope.  In summer 2011 my husband was assigned his first church as a pastor, back in the Midwest, and this is where we are at.
I think that when we got the $800 doctor bill for the bloodwork I got done in January 2009, we decided that we weren’t going to pour any more money into tests or treatment for this.  I don’t feel right putting money into testing that may or may not give answers.  Even if answers were found, there’s no guarantee that the medical field can fix them.  And we have moral issues with many of the ‘treatments’ for infertility, including IVF, IUI, and AI.  Rather than even start down that road, we want to dedicate our time and our finances to being parents to a child that needs us.  I have cousins who were adopted when I was a teenager, and that has always been on my heart.  Adoption was the natural next step to parenthood for us.
To be continued in next post: “Adoption” is a very broad term in today’s world.  The two types we are looking into are domestic infant adoption and international adoption. 

Friday, December 9, 2011


There was a mini-movement on Facebook this year to post an item you were thankful for in your status from November 1 to November 24 (Thanksgiving).  I put down 25 since I like my numbers to be multiples of five.  :)
1.  Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
2. Martin Luther
3. Being a member of a church body that believes, teaches, and confesses Scriptural truth.
4. My baptism
5. the Lord’s Supper
6. My husband and my pastor (they’re one and the same)
7. Living in the Midwest
8. Christian parents
9. Christian teachers and mentors throughout all my school years
10. Godly in-laws
11. Music
12. Musical ability
13. Living close to family
14. A lovely house to call ‘home’
15. My job
16. God-fearing co-workers
17.Having the resources to consider an international adoption
18.Being able to access, read, and study God’s word
19. My practical, faithful car
20. Fourteen years of sweet companionship with our (my parents, sisters, and my) family dog who had to be put down in September
21. Facebook – sounds shallow I know, but it really helps us feel like we can stay in touch and be social with our closest friends and family in other states
22. Books
23. The Green Bay Packers
24. Gymnastics
25. Great,understanding doctors