This was the weekend we'd scheduled to finish our home visits - the last step before our home study could be completed (other than choosing a country!!). The drive to Albuquerque was relatively painless, although since we took Dustin's car for gas efficiency, we were stuck without air conditioning. Driving at 75mph with the windows down makes for really loud conversation, alternating with windy silence. And messy hair. We came into town late, and had just enough time to talk with our good friends, who faithfully share their home with us on our trips to Albuquerque, for about 10 minutes before we all crashed.
A little background information: about a week and a half ago, a man who is very involved in the adoption and orphan care arenas (and who has helped answer serious questions I had about various forms of adoption), asked Dustin and I via email if we'd considered adopting from Asia. I answered with a lengthy reply about how no, we hadn't considered Asia. And how it would require a much larger amount of money to be raised than we were anticipating with the other programs we were considering. And how it would mean that the already difficult decision-making process would be made even more complicated. And how it would require even more stretching of our faith than the countries we were currently considering. And how all of that probably meant that God would send us to Asia. So yes, please, send us the information. One dot.
Friday afternoon we had our individual interviews to complete our end of the home study. After meeting with our case worker, she told us, "I think you should adopt from Korea. It's a good program for you."
Hmm. Korea. I can tell you quite a bit about adopting from Ethiopia. I know all about domestic adoption. And I'm very familiar with what the process looks like in Uganda. But Korea? Dustin and I looked at each other, wondering what God was doing. Another dot.
Friday evening we had a parenting class for adoptive parents, which was beyond helpful. It soothed many of our fears, and allowed us to talk with other couples who were in the midst of the adoption process. We talked through issues of race, attachment disorders, adopting at various ages, the grief process, sibling jealousy, and what the first few months might look like. After that meeting I felt like we had a net beneath us, which made me feel a lot more willing to fall, and a lot more ready to take that first step toward placement.
We attended an informational meeting about adoption from South Korea and China. And we learned a few things.
- It happens that China and Korea recently changed their requirements for international adoptive families.
- It happens that these new requirements will keep all families from New Mexico from adopting from China and Korea, since none of the agencies working on home studies within our state meet the new requirements.
- But it also happens that there is an agency in Colorado that does meet these new requirements, and they've gotten special permission from the Korean and Chinese governments to work with one agency in NM,
- Which happens to be our agency.
Dustin and I spent some good time on our knees before God that night, asking Him to continue to make His will clear to us, and to give us the courage and faith to step forward when He wanted us to move.
I felt like a celebrity at church when I met a new friend who asked if we were the ones having trouble making a decision about which country to adopt from. Wow, my decision-making capabilities are famous (I won't pull Dustin into that label; he's been patiently waiting for me to quit freaking out)! She suggested that we just choose a country and GO - as in, start working on all of the paperwork and fundraising for that particular country, not as in just go to the country and snag a child from an orphanage.
She explained that when she and her husband first started working on their adoption process, they were waiting for a little girl from China. They now have two sweet daughters from Ethiopia, and one precious boy from China. Still no girl from China. But they are blessed as an adoptive family, and if they'd been stubborn about choosing their way and sticking to it, they'd still be waiting...waiting to be a forever family to a little girl who may never be theirs. And all the while there were three children they didn't expect to bring home who have made their family a beautiful picture of love, and of surrender to God's will.
So, she said, GO. And don't be surprised if God changes things up on you while you're going.
While I've enjoyed researching endlessly and coming up with every possible adoption scenario for our family, from every available country, there are times when I just need Dustin to say, "This is what I want to do. If you feel comfortable with it, let's go with it." And that's what he did with South Korea. SIGH OF RELIEF. Yes, I feel great about it. My typical tendency to freak out seems to be completely gone and I feel a comforting and blanketing sense of peace about this program, in spite of its risks; let's go!
The main risk: Korea has been aiming toward shutting its doors to international adoption for several years now. Their current goal is to have all adoptions completed within its own borders by the end of 2012. This means we need prayer - that God will cause our name to keep climbing the list steadily, that our His provision through our fundraising will blow us out of the water, and that we can complete this process before it's too late.
I contacted the representative from the Colorado agency and asked a few more nagging questions. She responded quickly to all four of my emails (blush) within just a few minutes, and reassuringly answered all of my questions. She's a patient woman, I can tell already.
We got all of our initial paperwork together, printed a family picture at a local drugstore, wrote a check for the deposit, and sent it all up to Colorado. Once we are approved to continue in the program, we'll send the rest of the materials up for Phase I and officially be on the waiting list.
The waiting list for Korea.
The waiting list for a little boy.
And now to start thinking about names...