You guys are obviously quite fertile…why not just have another biological child?
Even before Landon and Evan emerged on the scene in rapid succession, we always thought about adoption. So this has always been on our radar. With more than 15 million orphans in Africa alone and countless others in the U.S. and abroad; does it really make sense for us to keep having more children? We reached a point recently where we just couldn’t justify brining another biological child into this world when God clearly calls us to look after the orphans and widows among us.
On a more selfish note, adoption guarantees us two things: avoiding a third round of horrendous morning sickness and, of course, a daughter.
Why adopt internationally when there are so many children without loving homes to grow up in here in the States?
Great question, simple answer: We’ve never once felt God leading us to adopt domestically. Our hearts have been bent toward international adoption from the start, so we’ve chosen to follow that inkling. When approaching this from a global perspective, a child without a home is a child without a home regardless of geographical boundaries. And, for every couple that feels compelled to go overseas to adopt, there is surely another couple looking to adopt closer to home. So hopefully there is a good balance out there with all the different adoption routes families can take. This just happens to be our route.
What adoption agency are you using?
We’ve chosen to work with America World Adoption, a Christian agency our neighbors went through for one of two Chinese adoptions they recently completed. Not only does this agency approach adoption from a Biblical perspective, but it also gives full-time pastors a sizable discount on its program fees. We are confident and excited to be working with America World and have already been impressed with their information, organization, staff, referrals and core values.
In addition to Ethiopia, America World offers adoption programs for El Salvador, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan and China. Of these programs, Ethiopia’s international adoption process is one of the least complicated and most affordable programs to go through. Also, we meet the age and marriage requirements in Ethiopia. This is a big deal because we are either too young or haven’t been married long enough to adopt from several other countries, including all of the other ones America World offers as programs.
As you can read here, our church has been partnering with World Vision to rebuild a village in Swaziland for the last year and a half, so we have been recently exposed to Africa on very personal levels. Through our involvement with the project and our sponsorship of Cebile, our perspective has broadened and we’ve developed a heart for the African people. American Idol’s charity event, Idol Gives Back, also did a lot to compel us to start asking ourselves what more our family could do to help the plight of Africa’s orphans.
How old will your child be?
Initially we wanted to adopt a 12 to 18-month old girl, but new adoption laws in Ethiopia require a two-year age difference between a couple’s youngest biological child and the adopted child. Evan turns two December 30 which means means we will likely be referred a baby between three and six months old. But, honestly, we really don’t know. That’s just our hunch.
When will you receive a referral?
That’s the million dollar question. Between now and Evan’s birthday in December, we will be collecting all the necessary documents to compile our dossier (a large set of legal documents). Once we have everything together we’ll submit the dossier to America World (AWAA). AWAA will send our dossier with a letter of recommendation to the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs via the in-country staff representative for translation and processing. Meanwhile, the waiting game begins. It could take Ethiopia six weeks or six months to contact us with a picture and medical report of the child they feel best fits with our family. So the timeline is wide open.
Will you get to name her?
She will have her African name, but we will most likely choose an American name for her and keep her African first name as her middle name. We have some names in mind, but maybe we’ll end up just keeping her African name as her first name…hmmm, we’ll see.
Will the child be healthy?
Yes. All of AWAA’s programs have healthy children available. However, to quote from the AWAA Web site, “it must be clarified that in international adoption, children are referred to as “healthy” if they are not known to have a significant medical/emotional condition. Healthy children often have effects of institutionalization which can include malnutrition, delayed development, and other minor medical conditions. Many of the effects of institutionalization diminish after a child is placed in a home and receives love, attention, medical care and proper nutrition. Children with repaired medical conditions may also be considered healthy.”
If you accept your referral, how long will you wait to travel to Ethiopia?
AWAA will send our acceptance back to Ethiopia and then we will wait approximately 6-8 weeks to travel.
Will Landon and Evan travel with you?
Heck no! We are adventurous people, but we are not crazy. 🙂