Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Monday, July 30, 2012
It's a short drive to the mountain and we stopped at a picnic spot to eat our food. It was nice to sit in the shade, eat, and listen to him talk about whatever he wanted to talk about. When we'd finished and disposed of our trash, we went to the trails. Now there are 12 different trails one can take. They range from easy to strenuous. Which do you think he chose? Well, as we all know, "easy is for babies." I wanted to add, "And 44 year olds who don't go hiking all that often."
As we hiked up the mountain, I kept reminding myself of why I was doing this: for my son. Spending time with him can be some of the best and most rewarding for both of us. We share and laugh and, because Mommy's not with us, we can engage in lower body humor that boys like. At the start of the hike, Benjamin started off way ahead of me, hurrying up the path, and calling back, "Come on, Papa!" I knew better and paced myself. What I had to catch myself from doing was simply watching the path and not looking around me at the scenery, something I do too often in my daily life where the tasks at hand crowd out simple pleasures.
When we reached the mile marker, we took our first rest and drank water from the water bottle. We sat on some rocks and talked a bit more. He told me about previous hiking trips he'd taken with his friend Shane on this mountain. I liked how happy he was to be out here in nature with me. After a moment, he was ready to start back on the trail. Once again, he took the lead.
In my head, I sang John Denver songs.
The further we got and the steeper the inclines, the more I realized how infrequently I really did stuff like this. And I began to wonder how far up the top of this mountain really was. The higher we climbed, the more my son encouraged me with, "Come on, Papa. Not much further! (How many "not much furthers" can a person believe?) You can do it!" I kept making references to Mount Doom from The Lord of the Rings. He was so happy when we made it to the top of Crowder's Mountain - just as I would be so happy when we made it back down.
The climb down was, in some ways, harder than the climb down, though we did it by making up silly songs to the tune of "She'll Be Coming Around the Mountain." One of my all time favorite sounds is my son laughing. From the very first time I made him laugh, I loved hearing him do it. This was no exception. We both laughed and sang loudly in our off-tune voices. When we got back to the car, he looked at the back of my shirt and asked, "Did you pour water down your back?" No, that's sweat. "Wow! You're soaked!" After getting in the car, he first told me to "Crank up the AC," before he added, "I always have a great time with you, Papa." That made the whole climb worth it.
Sunday, July 29, 2012
My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth."
- 1 John 3:23
Saturday, July 28, 2012
Friday, July 27, 2012
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Monday, July 23, 2012
As part of a way to help raise money for our adoption, we have joined the global funds site Indiegogo. If you'd like to contribute, here is a link to that site:
One of the "perks" for contributing is an illustration of a name (yours, your child's, a niece's or nephews) according to their interests. Below is a sample in which I illustrated the word "adoption."
The cost of adoption is expensive and any size donation will help, even if it's a $1 that dollar will help. Indiegogo gets 4% of money raised on that site so if you want to donate straight to our adoption fund, there is a donate button on this blog that goes directly to our Paypal account set up for the adoption.
Sunday, July 22, 2012
Adoption is quite a journey for everyone involved. I don’t think there is a clearer picture of God’s pursuit of us, and our own adoption into His family than when we adopt an orphan. I’m so thankful that the Lord put this burden on our hearts to adopt. I can’t imagine life without our oldest son, Caleb, and look forward to the other children He has for our family in the future.
We are all called to take care of orphans and widows (James 1:27). How that looks in your life might be different than how it looks in my life. If you feel the Lord leading you to adopt, sit down with someone who has gone through the process before you and gather information. Pray and seek the Lord’s guidance, and He will lead you to the right place, or type of adoption, and ultimately, the right child for you family. It will not be easy. Adoption is not for the faint-hearted, but persevere. The joy of loving a child and eventually receiving their unconditional love is worth it.
Many people say, “I could never adopt because it’s just too expensive.” To that I say, “The Lord will provide in ways that you could never ask or imagine.” If He has truly put the burden and desire on your heart, He will give you wisdom to know how to make the finances work. It might take time, but there is a lot that can be done. I know MANY families who have raised money through various means…by cutting things in their budget, not taking vacations, selling some of their possessions, selling ornaments, jewelry t-shirts. Some families have had carwashes, community fundraising dinners etc. You name it, it’s probably been done! I have seen congregations get behind their pastor and his wife financially and through prayer, when they see them reaching beyond themselves to bring a child who needs a mommy and daddy into their family. The Lord is bigger than your finances, and He delights in taking care of the fatherless…
Friday, July 20, 2012
Thursday, July 19, 2012
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
I know she would think this was out of character for me.
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Biblically speaking, adoption is about more than just child-placement. As I've written, the Greek word for adoption is a compound of the word “son” and the word “to place.” Taken together they mean placement as a son. So, biblically speaking, adoption does speak of child-placement. But we when we look at Scripture’s overall usage of the word adoption contextually, we find that it actually stresses the renewal of creation (see particularly Romans 8:19-23). Adoption has two primary aspects not one: child-placement and creation-renewal. It’s also important to realize that the Bible really never separates these two aspects from each other either. Where you have one, you also have the other.
- Dan Cruver, Together For Adoption
Saturday, July 14, 2012
Friday, July 13, 2012
We are now officially done with the home study portion of the adoption process. Now comes the fun - the I-600A, which I was disappointed to discover wasn't something Barney Fife cited on "The Andy Griffith Show," but is the Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition.
This application is 8 pages of instructions and 3 pages to be filled out. We have to mail the application in to the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services so they can determine if we can properly care for an adopted child. Along with the application we have to mail the USCIS the following:
- Two sets of fingerprints
- Proof we're U.S. citizens (such as birth certificates)
- Marriage certificate
- Certified check for $890
When the USCIS approves our I-600A, they'll send us am I-171H form, which is a Notice of Favorable Determination Concerning Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition (Whew! That really rolls of the tongue, doesn't it?). We'll also be sent a request that the notice of this approval has been sent to the U.S. Embassy or consulate in the country we plan to adopt in. The I-600A is valid for 18 months from the date of the approval.
To download a copy of the I-600A form go to the USCIS site at:
As if all this doesn't sound like a ton of fun, we have to begin gathering more information and documents for our dossier. The dossier is a collection of forms containing detailed information about us. This involves us compiling documents, getting them notarized with various seals from county, state, and U.S. government. More paperwork. More legwork. Although many of the documents were needed for our home study, the majority of them will have to be notarized, certified, apostilled, and authenticated.
As to what goes into a dossier, here's a listing that was posted on Adoption.com:
- Health statement for adoptive parents - usually a written report by your physician (on his letterhead) after you have undergone a complete physical examination
- Financial information – usually written letters from the financial institutions with which you do business stating your account balances
- Adoption petition (provided by your adoption agency)
- Post Placement Agreement (from your adoption agency)
- Form I-171H (this is the only time a copy of a document is allowed in the dossier) from the USCIS
- For married parents: certified copies of birth and marriage certificates
- For single parents: certified copy of birth certificate
- Certified copy of divorce decree (if applicable) – obtained from the probate court of the county where the divorce was finalized
- Certified copy of death certificate of former spouse (if applicable) – obtained from the state office of vital records
- Proof of home ownership (or rental agreement) - a copy of your most recent monthly mortgage statement or your rental agreement
- Employment verification - must be on company letterhead and have a recent date – ask your company’s human resources department for a letter stating how long you have worked for the company along with your current annual salary. (Note: You must include employment verification even if you are self employed.)
- Homestudy – obtain a certified copy of your homestudy from the social worker who conducted the homestudy
- License of your adoption agency (Note: check to be sure the date on the license is valid)
- Results of your criminal background check – visit your local police station to obtain this document
- Copy of the photo pages of your passport
- Letters of reference – it’s okay to use the same references you used for your homestudy.
- Copy of your most recent Federal income tax return – if you don’t have a copy, the IRS can provide you with a copy (go to http://www.irs.gov/faqs/faq1-6.html for instructions on requesting a copy)
- Power of Attorney (given to your adoption agency coordinator)
- Photographs of your family, relatives, pets, and house
Rohr's statement was repeated by Katie Davis in her book Kisses From a Katie about how the poorest of the poor, who had little and lived in homes made of sticks and mud, slept on dirt floors "did not blame God or ask Him for more." How different that is from my own prayer life. She wrote how they simply "praised Jesus for keeping them alive" and "believed in His goodness." In their poverty, the people "lived with love and passion, caring for one another . . . and deeply appreciating the simplest gifts life had to offer: the happy giggles of children, the smile and warm greeting of a friend, the beauty that surrounded them, a chance to work when possible, a helping hand when needed most." How many of us view life that way? How many of us are too blinded by all that we own or want to own?
All too often I see people who cannot see the world because their eyes are glued to their smart phones.
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Here is a list of books recommended from readers of this blog. If you have a book on adoption or parenting please send in your recommendations.
1. 10 Steps To Successful International Adoption: A Guided Workbook For Prospective Parents by Brenda K. Uekert
2. Cross Cultural Adoption: How To Answer Questions From Family, Friends, & Community by Amy Coughlin
3. Lifebooks: Creating a Treasury for the Adopted Child by Beth O'Malley
4. Raising Adopted Children: Practical Reassuring Advice For Every Adoptive Parent by Lois Ruskai Meline
5. Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wished Their Adoptive Parents Knew by Sherrie Eldridge
6. The Complete Book of International Adoption: A Step by Step Guide to Finding Your Child by Dawn Davenport
7. Handbook on Thriving as an Adoptive Family: Real-Life Solutions to Common Challenges by David Sanford
8. Parenting the Hurt Child by Gregory C. Keck
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Friday, July 6, 2012
Will this child ever think of me as their "Papa" the way my son does?
2. DECISION MAKING FEARS about adoption routing. How to we spend our money wisely and choose the right professionals for us? What about
using the internet? Advertising? Mass mailings?
3. LOSS OF CONTROL FEARS:
a. Fear a child will not become available to you.
b. Fear of openness/open adoption
c. Fear the biological parents will change their
minds and take the child back.
d. Fear the process will take too long.
e. Fear you will be too old to parent or be
f. Fear of pressure to take "any" child.
a. Fear the birth mother will not take good care
of herself during pregnancy using drugs, alcohol,
or poor nutrition... also smoking.
b. Fear about the genetic background as being
inferior to your own.
c. Fear the child could be emotionally disturbed.
5. BONDING ATTACHMENT FEARS:
a. Fear you won't bond to the child
b. Fear you'll have doubts this is "as good as"
c. Fear you will later conceive- and should have
d. Fear your adoptive child may later choose
birth parents over you.
e. Fear the biological parents may seek contact
and disrupt your bond with the child.
f. Fear you won't love this child as much as one
6. FAMILY/FRIENDS FEARS:
a. Fear your family won't accept an adopted
child, especially if racially different.
b. Fear you will be stigmatized and others will
doubt your "real" attachment and parent role.
Fears stem from the pain of LOSS or possible LOSS.
Steps to healing and repairing: It is important not to be "victimized" by losses in life. Life always has "speed bumps" and "detours." Action steps include:
Grieving, Grieving, Grieving
Knowledge, knowledge, knowledge is power
Preparation, Preparation, Preparation
Support Groups, Therapy when needed, Rituals
But how will I see when we go overseas and are shown photos of children up for adoption? Will I see with the loving, embracing eyes of a parent like God who, like the father of the prodigal son, cares not for how others sees Him but runs with overwhelming love towards His child coming home? Do I see with grace or do I see with the harsh, judging eye of the elder brother? The choice is mine. There is a miracle unseen waiting to be discovered and called my child.
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Let's face it, one of the biggest obstacles for many people who consider adoption is financial. Adoption can be expensive. International adoption can cost upwards of $30,000. I know we didn't even consider for years because we thought we couldn't afford it. For those who are either considering adoption or are in the adoption process, here are some possible ways to raise money to help you pay the costs.
1. Sell things on-line, such as Craig's List or eBay. We have found better success selling items on Craig's List and have sold things like books and a violin.
2. Yard Sale. We are not only getting up items from around our own house, but people we know are offering to donate items for the yard sale since they know the money's going to the adoption.
3. We purchased a large box of candy bars from one of the major membership warehouses and my wife took them to work to resell them at a profit.
4. Although we have not tried this one yet, we are considering using the website:
This is a "global funding website" that people can use to raise money for everything from an adoption to buy some expensive gadget.
5. Apply for grants. In communicating with a lot of families who adopted children, we are amazed at how many of them didn't apply for any grant money. Here are some websites for grants:
- A Child Waits: They offer up to $5,000 for families adopting older or special needs children. http://www.achildwaits.org/
- Gift of Adoption Fund: They offer grants from $1,000 - $7,500. Family must be U.S. Citizens to apply.
- Grant Me a Chance: This organization offers grants for those adopting older, sibling groups, and children with special needs.
- Help Us Adopt: They offer grants up to $15,000.
- Lifesong For Orphans: Offers matching grants from $1,000 to $4,000, with one dollar for every dollar an applicant raises.
- Show Hope: Offers adoption grant awards each month.
Those are just a few of the grants available. Other suggestions for raising money for adoptions that I've seen on-line are having your own walk-a-thon with people pledging a dollar for every mile your family walks. Bake sales. Car washes.
We are prayerfully considering all of our options as we move forward in the adoption process.
For those who wish to partner with us, we have a donation button that is secure and all money will go towards the adoption. Prayerfully consider this. If you cannot financially help, we welcome your prayers for our family throughout this adoption.
For others considering adoption, below is a range of adoption costs according to the Child Welfare Information Gateway:
|Foster Care Adoptions||$0 - $2,500|
|Licensed Private Agency Adoptions||$5,000 - $40,000+|
|Independent Adoptions||$8,000 - $40,000+|
|Facilitated/Unlicensed Adoptions||$5,000 - $40,000+|
|Intercountry Adoptions||$7,000 - $30,000|
Monday, July 2, 2012
Sunday, July 1, 2012
My wife and I decided that whenever we go to the foreign country to adopt our child, we are taking our son with us. We think it is vitally important that he not only see where his sibling will be coming from, but also to see that, despite our not being wealthy by American standards, we are wealthier than many around the world. He needs to have his eyes opened. This world is not about him. He needs to realize that he is to grow up to be more than a mere consumer, he is to be someone who should make a difference by giving of himself and seeking to help others.