Wednesday, April 20, 2005


In response to a number of emails (which is great! we love to hear from you guys!!), we've put together a FAQ post that will hopefully help everyone catch up with this whole adoption process.

Why adoption?
We have talked about adopting since we were married in 1999. We had originally planned to have a few children and then adopt a few. However, God has other plans. ;) We have not gotten pregnant for over 3 years now, with no known medical reason. We are not interested in fertilization techniques at this point in time and have decided to pursue adoption to begin our family!

Why Ukraine?
We visited Ukraine in the spring of 2003 and really loved it. We loved the people, the culture, and especially the food!! While we were there, we visited a number of orphanages, both urban and rural. There are so many kids in Ukraine who need loving homes. There are also a large number who are in the orphanages but who are not adoptable, as their parents are still alive but cannot take care of them. We feel that we can give some (1,2...a few ;) ) of the adoptable kids a loving home and a chance to live life that they might not experience if they stay in the orphanage.

How does it work?
Here's the brief story: We will fill out all of our paperwork here, which first entails getting a homestudy done (which we're still working on) and getting INS (US govt) approval to adopt internationally. Then we will collect a bunch of paperwork for Ukraine (including our HS and our INS approval) and send it to the National Adoption Center (NAC) in Kiev. We're hoping to do that June-ish. If the NAC approves our dossier, we will then be registered to come adopt a child. We can then request a date to go to the NAC to be shown potential children for adoption. Ukraine does not allow preselection of children (through photolistings, etc.) so we will not have any ideas of the child we will be coming home with until we travel and visit the NAC. Depending on when everything goes through will depend on what date we request. They do not have to honor our request--we could ask for December and they could give us an appointment in October or March! Whenever our appt is, we will travel to Kiev to the NAC. At the NAC, we will be shown photos and medical descriptions of children who supposedly fit our profile (ages, medical conditions, etc.). When we find a child that we are interested in adopting, we are given a referral to go visit that child in their orphanage. We can visit with the child for as many days as we like before we decide whether or not we will adopt him/her. After our decision, we either file a bunch more paperwork and have a court date to finish the adoption, or we choose to return to the NAC for the referral of a different child (most people accept the first referral unless there is a medical condition that was not disclosed). Once we have a child, we will get them a passport and visa and then return to the US! Sounds quick and easy, right? ;)

How long will you be in Ukraine?
We will probably be in Ukraine 3-4 weeks. There are a lot of variables in that time frame, because we will travel to wherever the child is to visit him/her, and Ukraine is a large country! People have come back from Ukraine adoptions as quickly as 2.5 weeks, and the current record that I know of is a couple who just returned after 11 weeks, and will be returning in a few to get their son (this is an unusual case with special circumstances)!

What age of child are you requesting and how many?
We are asking for a child from age 14mo-4 years, although we would prefer under 3 years old. Ukraine does not adopt out children under the age of 14mo unless there is a severe medical condition, so chances are good the child we adopt will be a toddler. We are hoping to adopt two, but Ukraine only allows for the adoption of 2 orphans if they are siblings, so we don't know if there will be any sibling groups that fit our age range that are available when we are there.

Are the children healthy?
Based on US standards, no. Almost all of the children in the orphanages are undernourished, as a consequence they are underweight and have many issues from malnutrition. Most of these clear up after a healthy diet and plenty of exercise and love. Many of the children have minor correctable medical issues, such as cleft lip/palate, lazy eye, etc. There are also children with more severe medical issues such as missing limbs, blind, deaf, spina bifida, cerebral palsy, etc.

What are you doing to prepare for parenthood?
Well, it's a little difficult to prepare materially since we don't know what age, gender, or even how many kids we will come home with! We have been discussing bedding options (crib v toddler bed v twin) and we are working on reading some adoption books to help us prepare mentally. A lot of people take a suitcase full of clothing ranging from 12mo-3T. Whatever their child can't wear is left at the orphanage for the other children. We will probably look at doing something like that so that we will have some clothing that fits before we come home. We will also be sending out SOS emails once we are in Ukraine for some help here in St Louis to grab last minute things like diapers, etc. once we know the sizes we need.

What can I do to help?
First and foremost, PRAY! We need lots of prayers for patience as we wait for God's timing. Prayers for financial peace are wonderful too. If you are interested in helping out with the adoption, we can use donations of good used toddler clothing (12mo-3T). Financial donations are also welcome. We will be posting a breakdown of costs before too long if you would like to sponsor a specific aspect of our adoption process.

Why would you need financial donations? Are you not financially capable of caring for a child?
I've included this one--although no one has asked us about it--because it is a very common question for adoptive parents. The truth is, yes, we are financially capable of caring for a child or children. However, coming up with $10000-15000 out of pocket can be trying. We have been very blessed by God with money from the sale of our house in Michigan, but we would like to have some savings set aside in case our child/ren need more extensive medical care when we return (surgery for cleft palate, lazy eye, etc.).

If there are other questions we didn't answer, please let us know!

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