Monday, November 15, 2010

Q & A

I know the questions are swirling. Sorry I've been jumping all around. It's all so very exciting. I can't keep my thoughts in a fluid stream.

So, I thought I'd do a little Q & A knowing all the questions people have asked us over the last several weeks. Hope this helps.

Q. What do our children think?
A. Another huge confirmation for us that this is the right direction for our family is our children's genuine enthusiasm. Our girls are old enough to get this and they're thrilled. Our boys are referring to the children as the 'new kids.'

'When the new kids come, we can share our toys with them. And they can live in our house. They don't have a mommy and daddy.'


Q. Do we prefer certain ages?
A. We're not trying to go back to diapers, sippy cups and high chairs. However, if God has a different plan, we'll adjust. Our request is that the children be between the ages of 3 years and 8 years old. Payton has made it very clear (from the first mention of adoption years ago), that she wants to remain the oldest in the family. Her clarity about this is really quite remarkable.

Interestingly, I was talking to someone at the adoption agency we're using out of state and she asked how things were going with everything. I told her that our children are very excited and that our oldest child has made a very clear request that we not adopt a child older than her. She told me that research shows that birth order is very powerful and that we have a wise and insightful young daughter on our hands. I must agree with her. :)

Furthermore, because we are pursuing 'older' children (as if 4 or 5 is old!), we will be adopting children who are identified as 'waiting children.' If a child is over the age of 4 or 5 they become less-adoptable. I can hardly type that word in reference to a child. But this is the reality. This resonates with us not only because we're not adopting because we're yearning to have more children in the sense that we miss the baby-stage, etc. We feel such a sense of warmth and purpose when we imagine children joining our family who are around our biological children's ages. It seems sweet to us that they'll have instant playmates. I just can't wait to see our biological children embrace the 'new kids.' ;)

Q: What country will you adopt from?
A: At our first meeting with the local agency (Jewish Family Services who will do our home study), we were asked this question. Our answer was basically, 'We don't care. You tell us.' Now we've learned that it doesn't work that way. We choose the country and then the agency pursues that country. Oh. How in the world do we choose a country? After much research on-line, we learned that each country has it's own regulations and stipulations. For example, some countries have a limit on the size of the family it will adopt to (we clearly got the boot right there from some countries). Some countries have lesser travel requirements and some have greater (Colombia, for example, requires that the adoptive parent live in the country for 4-8 weeks with the adopted children before leaving the country with them. yikes). Considering that we already have children, that wouldn't work for us. Russia requires 3 trips! Having said all that, the country that meets most of our needs and has sibling groups available is Ethiopia. So Ethiopia it is!

Q: Will we change the children's names?
A. We think not. Since we are adopting 'older' (I mean is an 8-year-old really old?) children, we imagine their name will be a huge part of who they are. It just seems unnecessary to do that to them in addition to how their worlds will already be rocked. 'Welcome to a land where no one speaks your language, everything's foreign to you, you're missing everything that's familiar to you, your hearts in some ways are broken, but oh, by the way, your name's now Johnny and Suzie.' I don't know, it seems odd. And no judgement or condemnation towards those who have changed their children's names. Truly. I just can't get my head around it right now. But we'll never say never. We just don't know for sure how the children will respond to all of it. Perhaps they will want a more Americanized name or we will come to believe that's of greater value for them than keeping the name given to them at birth? Perhaps we put more emphasis on names here in America than elsewhere in the world. I don't know. I guess it's safe to say the jury's still out on this one.

Q. Have we had the 'race conversation' with our biological children?
A. Yes. They know the 'new kids' (please know I'm not using that in a derogatory sense -- I just think it's sweet) will look different than us and they will not be visitors to our family. They will be their sisters or brothers. I truly think kids' hearts are more open and expandable than ours. Their hearts aren't bogged down with a bunch of garbage like ours are. They just take things as they are. Even faith -- that's why the Bible talks about having faith like a child because they simply and purely believe without all the questions, what ifs and doubts. When have you ever seen a kid over-analyze something? Adults (myself included) are notorious for this. It's a beautiful thing how kids' hearts are ready to receive.

Q. Will we get a new car?
A. We can all fit in our van, but I imagine when it's time to replace the van we'll consider a large SUV again.

Q. Where will we put them?
A. We have a guest room that will no longer be a guest room. :) We're huge believers in the benefit of young children sharing a room, so if we get children of the same gender, they'll share that room. If we get a brother-sister pair, Avery has happily offered to share her room.

Q. How long will the adoption process take? When will you have them?
A. I started off saying a year, but several people have said we might want to prepare for sooner because they've heard stories of very fast adoptions. I have this gut feeling that it's going to be this spring or summer. Don't know why. Maybe because I think that's perfect timing to have the summer with them and all of our children out of school. Or maybe it's because God's trying to prepare me/us.

That's all the questions I can think of for now. Feel free to ask more in the comments if I've forgotten something.

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