Monday, June 13, 2011

"Why's" Answered :)

People have been so sweet asking questions about our adoption, and we really love answering them!  Here are the most commonly asked questions (and maybe a few that you're too afraid to ask!).

This question wins the award for "Most Frequently Asked"

When will you go get your boy?!

I wish I knew!!  We're hoping to travel in the fall - but things in Carter's country are a bit uncertain right now.  We're hopeful that his country won't close indefinately (although, anything can happen - in ANY country, for that matter) - but there is a chance that his country might close for a few months to rearrange some things.  The truth is - we just don't know. 

How long with the travel be?

We will probably make 2 or even 3 trips.  From the first flight of the first trip to the last flight of the last should be no more than 6-7 weeks.  Again, this country is not predictable at all - so the timelines could be completely different when we travel.

Why can't you tell us what country he's in?

Most of our family & friends know what country Carter is in - but because this is a public blog, we just can't share that info.  For his safety, and the safety of the other kids in his orphanage - it's best that it stays a secret :)

Why does this cost so much?

I don't know!  We just know that the cost is a necessary part of bringing him home - and so we're willing to do whatever we need to.  If you click (over on the right, down just a bit) you will see a label that says "Timeline" - this will not only give you our timeline, but also how much we have spent to date.  The 'big number' that is tied to adoptions goes to so many little things (as you'll see if you click "Timeline")...passports, birth certificates, marriage certificates, homestudy fees...all the way up to things like airfare, room & board in-country, translation fees (because we're not fluent in his language...!), gifts for the orphanage, etc.  So - it's not like we just show up at his orphanage with a huge check.

Is he 'yours'?

In our hearts - yes!  Oh yes!!  But legally - no.  Anybody, at any time, can come and adopt him.  Reece's Rainbow is an excellent ministry that builds a bridge (or a rainbow, if you will!) for families to 'choose' their child (among many other things).  However, being 'committed' through Reece's Raibow (as we are) does not change anything with his status in his country (or the world).  He will not be 'unadoptable' to others until we are in his country, at our SDA appointment (which is the first thing we do in his country).  He will be 'ours' after our court date in his country.  Does this make us a bit uneasy?  Sure.  But, this whole process feels a bit 'shaky' - we're just trusting (like we've never had to trust before...we did not know the meaning of trust until this process...!).

How old is he?

Carter turned 3 on May 30th.  He shares a birthday with my very-cool cousin Jacob, and Jake's also-very-cool cousin Nick (who, oddly enough- were not only born on the same day, but also the same year!  Crazy, I know!)

What other medical concerns does Carter have?

We have no idea.  We are assuming that he is healthy, but all we know about is the Down syndrome. We're prepared for him to have heart problems (as is common in children with Down syndrome) but we feel that it's highly unlikely. 

What fundraisers do you have planned?

We have some sweet people from church that have offered to plan a benefit for Carter.  We feel so blessed that they're willing to do this - and we can't wait to unveil some of our ideas for including other adopting families in this event!  Because it's not about us, people!!!

Are you adopting because you're not able to have kids?

We'll be married 5 years this July - and we've loved being D.I.N.K.'s (as our friends call us - Double Income No Kids...ha).  There have definately been times that I've wanted to start a family...but I've been okay totally blessed by waiting.  This was an area that I've had to really submit to Jake and follow his lead.  It's not always been fun - but now I'm so glad that he knew what was best.  It's been completely perfect just enjoying our time together over the past 5 years.  We've never tried to start a family the 'homegrown way'...but someday we will! 

You say you're getting approved for 2 kids - are you bringing home 2?

I wish I knew :)  Being approved for 2 doesn't mean we have to come home with 2 kids.  But it does give us the opportunity to add another child without waiting for USCIS approval (which can be a long process).  Either we can add another child between now and when we travel (from his orphanage), or we can add another child when we get to his orphanage.  Additionally, we would actually have 18 months before the approval for the 2nd child expires, so this would give us the option to go back after we get home.  I really don't think we'll bring home 2...but we're leaving this open for the Lord to work out.

Why are you adopting internationally when there are so many 'American' kids that need homes?

Well - first off, let me say that we are in no way 'against' domestic adoptions.  I am adopted domestically, after all.  This is just the path that the Lord led us down.

Will you adopt again?

Let's get through the first adoption, first :)  We may - but right now we're just so focused on today, we're not really thinking about tomorrow yet!  I wouldn't say that 'no' we won't adopt - but we will see :) One day (or one adoption...!) at a time. 

Will Carter know he was adopted?

Of course!  We plan to speak very positively about his adoption, and adoptions in general.  He will know (if he somehow forgets the 3+ years spent in an orphanage....) that he grew in our hearts, and the Lord blessed us with him in a unique way.  He will also have a scrapbook filled with things from his country, and photos from his orphanage. 

What if you get to Carter's country and find out he is unadoptable?

Well - then we grieve....and move forward.  Yes, this does happen (in fact, it happend just recently to a Reece's Rainbow family).  If it does happen - it's not anybody's fault, and usually not the result of human error - these things just happen.  This would not mean that we would come home childless.  Remember, it's not official in his country until we are there, at the SDA.  So - as strange as it sounds, we would very prayerfully choose another child.  Yes - this would be hard.  But if it's necessary, then we will just do it.  Before we were able to commit to Carter via Reece's Rainbow, we were very worried that (because he's so cute!) somebody else would commit to him before we could.  We agreed that it would be okay if the Lord saw fit to put him in a different family - knowing that he was used as a bridge to our child, whoever that may be.

You have a crib in his room - if he's 3, why will he be in a crib?

We're pretty certain that he is in a crib now.  Once he comes home, he will sleep in our room for a while - just to make sure he's sleeping through the nights, not having nightmares/night terrors, and to be sure that when he wakes up he will know that we are there.  Once he moves from our room (upstairs) to his room (downstairs) we want him to stay in a crib for a while, just to be sure that he's staying in bed, not sneaking out.  Remember that developmentally, he will not be a typical 3 year old. 

Any glitches in the process so far?

Not really - our homestudy went very quickly (our first visit was May 9th, our last visit was May 19th!).  We did have a small issue (that could have turned into a big one) with our homestudy agency, but what a surprise - God totally worked it out.  Go God!

What does your family think about this?

Well...they are ALL so ridiculously supportive.  We are incredibly blessed.  It breaks my heart to hear about other adoptive couples who get criticized by - and even ostricized from - their families because of their adoption (special needs or not).  Our families are thrilled - sometimes I think even more than we are!!  Both sets of parents will be first time grandparents with Carter - and let me tell you, the spoiling has already begun!  Also - all sets of grandparents will be first time GREAT grandparents with Carter.  Amazing.  He is going to be one loved-on little boy. 

But really - what do they think about the 'Down syndrome' piece?

Yes - I do get this question - I think that people don't really believe how awesome our families are.  Really - seriously - they are thrilled.  The only comment we received that could have been taken as negative was "You know you could be caring for this child your whole life...?" - and it was completely spoken in love, with our best interests in mind.  So on to THAT question...

What if you're caring for him your whole life?

Yea - because you all stopped caring for your kids the day they turned 18.  Right.  We know that Carter will require more care than the average adult.  But we also know that adults with Ds are capable of so much - working in jobs, contributing to their community, going to college - seriously!  We have great big dreams for our Carter.  But - we're also prepared to love him like crazy, even if it means that we'll never be empty nesters.  It's okay.  Because it's not about us.

When will you have 'kids of your own'?

First off - Carter is 'kids of our own' - he will be 'ours' - and no different from our biological children.  As far as having more kids - the limit in this house has always been '2 kids - NO more!' (I won't tell you whose rule that was...!).  But the '2 kid limit' is slowly changing to the '3 kid limit'.  And who knows - maybe someday it will be the '5 kid limit'.  Ha.  Even I laugh at that.  Because I'm a planner.  A ridiculous planner.  My life has been meticulously planned - every detail.  And sometimes God just waltzes in and changes all of that.  And that's okay.  So will we have kids of our own?  I hope so :)  But God knows...we'll just let Him work it out :)

You talk about teaching Carter sign language.  Why?  Is he deaf?

Sign language is a super way to help non-verbal (or not-yet verbal) kids communicate.  It is becoming more & more common to teach babies and toddlers sign language to eliminate all the pointing and whining.  If they want milk, they can sign milk - want a cracker?  Then sign cracker.  When Carter comes home, he will obviously not be able to speak English (he probably isn't even speaking his own language) and so sign language will allow him to communicate with us before he has the words to do so.  These kids pick up sign language incredibly fast - we're sure that within weeks of being with him, he'll be signing 'mama' and 'papa'. 

Why are there so many Eastern European kids with special needs in orphanages?

I'm really not an expert - but I think it largely has to do with their culture.  There is no schooling available for kids with special needs, and most families cannot afford to hire a full time nanny, or have 1 parent quit work.  There are just no options.  We're talking about a place where doctors are paid the same as teachers (and it's really not much...).  So - we can all sit back and criticize, or we can just accept that - as sad as the situation is, that is just how their culture works.  But really - who are we, as Americans, to criticize?  Do you know that in the US, over 90% of mothers who find out their baby has Down syndrome will choose to terminate their pregnancy?  I'd say that's even more repulsive. 

Do you know that what you're doing is so 'radical'?  So 'crazy'?

Ha...Jake and I just talked about this last night, and then someone said this to me at work today.  We thought this was crazy, too, when we first started the process.  Now - we think "what's the big deal?"...this is just our life.  God has totally been preparing us for this - we have no doubt about it.  Now adding another child....that would be crazy :)

One Thing I Know For Sure: We love informing people about adoption, down syndrome, and orphans - have a question that didn't get answered?  Email me :)


  1. Ashley, the more I read your blog the more and more I feel that you need to become a writer. You have such a way with words....your depth and perception of this whole process and being able to put it down in words and so eloquently, totally awes me. I love you more than you'll ever know!! I am so proud of the woman you have become. Love, Mom

  2. DITTO_DITTO_I truly believe too that you should write a chilrens editorial for the newspaper on special need children. Your source of info is terrific and you handle it with love and care amd would teach alot of people some wisdom about caring. Love Ya ??


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