Monday, March 30, 2009

Somewhere Between Octo-mom and Madonna...

So we're not setting out to have a bajillion kids "of our own," but we're not going to fling some $$$ around like Madonna, either. What are our plans?
Well, right now, they're not too specific. We have about a year (13 months and 6 days, 5 days in a few minutes, not that we're counting or anything) before we can even begin the paper chase. A **lot** can and does happen in that time, in the international adoption world. In the domestic -- that's something relatively "new" we're researching, but it doesn't seem like a lot will change in that arena. I guess a Q&A type thing would make this easiest.
Q: Why international? Don't you know there are a lot of kids here that need parents?
A: (Vanessa) Well, international is mostly where I feel called... The Feed the Children thing started it all, and then there's Hope for Orphans of the World (.org) and a little boy named Denis I'll tell you about next time. In Ukraine specifically, there's about an 80% chance a child who grows up in an orphanage won't really "make it" in society. Prostitution (for girls), prison (for boys), drugs and street life, and/or suicide are the most common outcomes. They're viewed as second (or third or fourth) rate citizens. At the age of 15 or 16, an orphan in Ukraine is basically handed some change, and let go. Some go to a trade school, but none really have a complete high school education. They go from a very structured setting with absolutely no choices, to deciding EVERYTHING, from how to spend what little money they have, to time management, to making it to trade school classes on time and with proper supplies. While those percentages DO absolutely exist in the US, chances are a lot better an orphan or child in state care will eventually "make it" in life. More aid is more widely available. Do some kids still manage to fall through the cracks? Sure. Which is only one reason I've started reseaching more about domestic.
Q: What's holding you back?
A: Longer waiting times, the ultimate goal of DHR, stories we've heard from other people, and quite honestly, stubborness. Stubborness? Oh yeah... I (Vanessa, again) have been adamantly against DHR, for lots of reasons... The biggest being, the goal of DHR is to keep children within their biological family. That may be with an aunt, cousin, etc, but "studies have shown" that children have the best chance to succeed in life when they remain in the "original family unit." That being the case, we're heard of several families, both recently and in years past, who have been basically "promised" a child or a sibling group, kept that child or those children in their homes for years, thinking they would be able to adopt them, and for various reasons, those children were ripped out of their foster home (for some, the only home and only parents they had ever known), and placed in the biological family home. Could our hearts take that?
There are other ways... There are some Christian, non-profits who do domestic adoption. As I read more about open adoption, and open my heart and mind to different ideas, I see how it definitely can be (or absolutey is?) a positive for the child. And thats ultimately whose interest should be placed first. (More on open adoption later, that's a post in itself!) Longer wait times... We've already waited 3 years. It's like we're standing in line, to get in the line to actually get on the ride.
Q: So couldn't you just, like, do whatever Octo-Mom did or something?
A: Um. You really want to get me going, huh? LOL Actually, if ya don't want 5 or 6 or more kids, ya shouldn't really transfer that many enbryos. They just might all make it through the implantation stage, then there's the whole twin thing. And we have researched those options and looked at what we could try to do. And weighed those options against scripture. And the whole adoption-as-a-calling thing. Honestly, while I (Vanessa) absolutely DO feel called to adopt, I do not necessarily feel the same way about being pregnant and giving birth. There are some women who do feel so, and that's fine, and probably right for them. Really it's not a lot different than one person feeling called to become a preacher, and another becoming a teacher. Both, if they are Christians, are supposed to live Godly lives, and do many of the same things. It doesn't really matter if a mom gives birth or adopts, she is still supposed to be a Godly mom, and raise her children in Christ.
Q: So you're saying you want to be Brangelina or Madonna?
A: Insert lots of eye-rolling here. Another don't-get-me-started-moment. One of the drawbacks to international adoption is the possibility for a high level of corruption. Notice I said possibility. It really depends on the country. China is a very stream-lined, organized, no-surprises, predictable country as adoptions go. Some of the former USSR countries, as you can imagine, are a little (or a lot) less predictable, and let's just say money sometimes talks. And talks fast. The good thing about celebrity adoptions are, they kind of bring about an awareness of the need for adoption. The bad thing is, that awareness is not always positive. A biological family is reluctant at first to let their child become available for adoption, and one of the aforementioned mothers is involved, and suddenly, the family decides the child will be adopted. Maybe they really did, then again, maybe a certain "M" celebrity threw something a little extra in there. And let's also just say, the speed at which some celebrity adoption occur, and the length of time between new children coming into the home, are shockingly different from say Joe Schmoe attempting the same things.
Q: So???
A: So, we wait for God's perfect timing. He will bring our children to us (actually Isaiah 43:5 says He will bring them from the east) however and whenever He sees we are ALL ready. Maybe it will be a few more years. Maybe it will be months. But for whatever reason, God is still preparing us, or our children, or their biological parents, or someone involved in the process. The children's song "He's Still Workin on Me" applies. In the mean time, we help care for our niece and nephews. We play with them and let their Mamas get some work done and get called the Fun Aunt and Uncle. We teach kids at church. We sing. To be honest, we also occasionally enjoy being able to sleep in on Saturday, or decide on Thursday we're leaving town for the weekend, or make last minute plans with other people who don't need baby-sitters.
Tune in next week for..... eh, something to be determined. Scriptures related to adoption? Bible characters involved in adoption or orphans? Hope for Orphans and my little friend Denis? How adoption parallels what God did for us? Why I (don't) want to Be Like Mike? See, I told you I had lots of posts in my head! ;)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Our First Post / You Want to Wha????

Welcome to our first family blog!! You guys will probably be hearing a lot from Vanessa, and less from Jason. I (Vanessa) have been in bloggy land for a while now, but this is the first blog that will actually be read by people I know in real life (IRL). I hope to get some pictures up and do some more "stuff" as I find time. With 6 niece/nephews, church, work, beating Jason on the Wii, and cooking/cleaning, we'll see how that goes! ;)

If you know me at all, you probably know that I love orphans. This orphan-love didn't start when Jason and I started discussing adoption, but God has been preparing me for adoption throughout my life. I have always been a night owl. When I was just a little girl, I would stay up late at night watching tv. The only thing on were infomercials and Feed the Children episodes, and lots of shows I wasn't allowed to watch. Prior to watching FTC, I assumed ALL little girls and boys had a Mama and Daddy who loved them very much, a house, some animals, a car, etc. After watching FTC with little Romanian kids (I can still see one little girl's face), I worked it all out: I would give up my bed and sleep on the couch, so one of those little kids could have my bed. We had plenty of clean drinking water, extra desks at school, jobs, and if every family in the US took just one of these kids, surely it would take care of the problem! Better yet, I would sleep in the FLOOR, so that ANOTHER Romanian kid could have the couch, too!!! You see, I didn't really comprehend that sleeping in the floor would get old and uncomfortable and crowded. I didn't grasp the enormity of the poor around the world, and their families. I didn't know there were kids right here in America that needed clean water and food and they didn't have mommies and daddies, or that some mommies and daddies weren't very good to their kids. I didn't take into account that there would be other people afer all those kids were put in families, that the problem would NOT be solved.

I never told anyone about my plan, because somehow I knew that most adults would think it silly, or impossible. But that was the first seed that God planted in my little heart and brain. It continued into my school years, when I became friends with little girls and boys who liked coming to my house because they could play, and laugh, and run, and be loud little kids, and nobody yelled at them or beat them or worse. In high school, I kind of floated from group to group, and tried to help the kids that everyone else ignored or made fun of. Oh, don't get me wrong -- I, too, had my moments of snickering behind someone's back -- but even then, I knew I should be helping that person.

It took a lot of years and some pretty rotten stuff for me to realize what God had been whispering to me all of my life -- adoption is the path He has chosen for me. The only path He has led Jason and I to so far. I don't know why He has chosen **me** to live out such an awesome example of what God did for us.

We know that you will have lots of questions and comments for us related to our adoption plans. I have absolutely not covered everything I want to say... I have lots of posts in my head, but it will take some time to get it all down. I found out early on that we have to be married for 3 years before we can actually begin this journey... But in another way, this journey began so many years ago. We're about a year away from that 3-year-mark. We will be making some decisions over the next year as to where, how, when, etc this journey will take place, and we ask that you join in with us NOW!!! Be praying for us as we pray about those decisions. Pray for our children, pray for their biological parents, pray for the social workers and others we will be working with to bring our babies home. We invite you to make this journey with us.