Adoption: Phase 1 (and 2 and 3)
Ok, enough with the preamble. Let’s get to the deets of this whole adoption thing. Adoption has been on our hearts for years now, but we were never quite ready due to job changes, multiple city changes and moves, and a general feeling that it was just not the right time for us to become parents yet. After buying our first house and moving into it in mid-December of 2014, we felt rooted for the first time in 5 years of marriage. We both are looking to stay in our current jobs, we won’t be moving anytime soon, and now we have this house with empty rooms. We have enjoyed having 5 years of just the two of us, but we both KNEW that we would adopt someday, and now just seemed like the perfect time. We prayed about it individually and together and definitely felt the same calling. Our child might already be out there somewhere, in need of a forever family. That’s a really overwhelming thing to think about. We were ready.
I also spent hours researching various agencies. Since agencies do not have programs available in every country, this decision would go hand in hand with the selection of a country. This part was much more difficult than selecting a country. We spoke to several of our friends who are adoptive parents (thankfully, we have a large network of people who have already gone through the process!) and asked for some tips on what to ask agencies. Blake and I are SUPER thorough. We are also not naive about the “dark side” of adoption, knowing that unfortunately children and birth parents are often exploited and manipulated. So we wanted to make sure we could find an agency we could trust completely to perform a totally ethical adoption. In addition, we knew we would be working with these people closely for the duration of our whole adoption process, so we wanted to feel comfortable with them, and we specifically desired a Christian agency that could provide spiritual support throughout the process as well. So we began compiling questions to ask potential agencies. We included financial questions, faith-based questions, procedural questions, country-specific questions, home study questions, and LOTS more. All in all our list was 62 questions long! Like I said, we are very, very thorough.
The good news about having so many questions is that we felt super prepared. It gave us GREAT insight into how the adoption would go, timelines, expectations, and so much more. We had phone interviews with several different agencies, and it gave us an opportunity to actually speak to the people we’d be working with so closely for the next couple years. The bad news about asking so many questions is that it’s impossible for an agency to answer all 62 of them exactly to our satisfaction. That would’ve made it super easy. But, after all of our interviews, learning about the different programs, and getting to know some of the people involved, we made a decision. We decided to go with All God’s Children International (AGCI), and we are confident that it’s the best agency for us!
AGCI has a pilot program in Burundi, but they do not have a program in Uganda. So the decision was made. We’d be adopting from Burundi! Now let’s talk a bit about what “pilot program” means. Basically, it means that the program is very new so there are a lot of unknowns, particularly regarding timelines. Burundi does not have many US agencies working there, and so since 2005, only 14 kids have been adopted from Burundi to the US (according to the State Dept). That’s very, very few. In other words, there is almost no history of previous adoptions to gather info from. When we interviewed AGCI, their pilot program had 13 families in the process of adopting from Burundi. But now they have 14!
So now that we’ve made these big three decisions: country, placing agency, and home study agency, we were ready to begin Phase Two: THE PAPERWORK PHASE. We wasted no time in filling out the pages upon pages of paperwork that both agencies began sending us. The picture below is JUST the AGCI Orientation Packet. We have lots and lots more to go.
As we are working on the paperwork phase, there is a third phase that will be occurring simultaneously…Phase Three: THE FUNDRAISING PHASE. You probably have heard that international adoptions are very expensive, and it’s true. Once we add up all our fees, we are looking at about $42,000! WHAT?! I know that’s a huge number, but the Lord will provide, just as He always has. We have set up a Pure Charity account which allows you to donate to our adoption in a tax-deductible way if you feel led to do so. We’d really appreciate it! Stay tuned here on the blog for more upcoming fundraisers that you can be a part of to help bring our little one home!
And of course, we would appreciate your prayers. Please pray for us as we begin this adoption journey. Please pray for patience as we settle in for a 2 year process. Pray for the Lord to prepare us for parenthood. And please pray for our faraway little one, that God would protect him and already begin molding him perfectly for our family. Thanks for following along with us!
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We certainly have plenty of ways you can partner with us if you feel called to do so.