Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Adopting from Liberia

Why did we choose to adopt?
Why did we choose Liberia?
Why did you choose to adopt two and was there a reason for their specific ages?
What was the experience like?
What has the transition been like having two black children in your family?

These are just a few of the questions that we would regularly hear. I continue to get emails asking about our reasons for adoption and how is it really going.
It would take us quite a few hours sitting around a hot cup of coffee to relate the details of our story. It was life-changing and life-changing stuff usually takes one-on-one discussions.
But, I will try to give you a nutshell version of our experience.

Eric had always wanted a dozen kids. I thought he was joking! I had given birth to four and that seemed to be enough but then we both desired to be parents again. I was only 28 when Daisy was born. We tried for the next twelve years but God said no. Eric started thinking about adoption way before I did. I had a hard time wrapping my brain around the idea of bringing someone else's child into my home. But, over the years it seemed the way God was leading us. I have written many times about my struggles through those years so I won't elaborate now. I just know that it was a God thing....He directed my heart in the way Eric's was already bending.

We started to do research about the different options. We had looked into Snowflakes ministry where you adopt embryos that were literally going to be tossed away by parents who no longer wanted to do in vetro. But, the statistics were not good and the cost was way too high.
We then looked at domestic adoptions. We figured that a private adoption would be too costly so we never really pursued that avenue. After many conversations with those who had worked with the California system we decided that inviting the state into our home for a year was not what we wanted either.
It was a dinner at our Pastor's home that gave us some new info. We had looked at Korean, Chinese, Indian, Romanian, and also Guatemalan adoptions. Haiti was on the list as well. But, again the cost seemed absolutely absurd and to add to the dilemma most countries expected you to be in country for two or more weeks. With Eric being self-employed that was just not going to work for us. We talked to our Pastor and his wife about this and they asked if we had ever heard of Patty Anglin? She had written a book called "Acres of Hope" about the children that her and her husband had adopted.
Being the curious person I am I immediately went online to find out whatever info I could about Acres of Hope and Liberian adoptions. I had heard about Ethiopian adoptions but that was the depth of my knowledge on African orphans.
Ultimately it was the cost and ease of adopting which led us to Liberia. The cost was considerably less than other countries and Liberia was not charging us to adopt. All fees were going to the orphanage to care for the children and to the U.S. government for processing the paper work to get them here.

If you scroll down through the blog archive list to the first November you will find the whole adoption story there. It is amazing to read. I do not think that there is any adoption that goes as planned. It is the most sacrificial thing a family could do and the most sanctifying thing for your personal growth. I would highly recommend it!

To answer the above questions...we chose to adopt two children because were not sure if we could ever afford to do it again. And, now I am so thankful that we did. We purposefully tried to adopt younger children because we take seriously the admonition to raise our children in a godly manner. That being said we felt that the younger the child the more we would have an influence on them. But, our plans were different than God's. Lil' Cowboy was suppose to be four when he came over from Liberia. Instead we believe he was anywhere between six and eight. That means that he is now between nine and eleven. In the long run it doesn't matter but there is a huge difference in attachment. Lil' Cowboy is ours and loves being a part of our family but there is definitely a different connection than with Brown Sugar who was a year old when she was put into my arms. And, a weak year old at that. She had just survived Malaria and was a mere twelve pounds!

The transition has been smooth for the most part. We were prepared for problems but God was gracious on us. He knew what my future held and allowed us to pick incredibly compliant and pleasing children. Lil' Cowboy struggles a bit with his lying and brain function but I believe that most of this is due to the life he lived in his former country. Brown Sugar knows nothing of her life in Liberia and you just would not believe that it is the same child. She is vibrant and talking up a storm.

Thanks for asking about adoption. I always hope that our story will spur someone else to do the same. He loves the orphans and the widows so how can we not?


Melonie said...

Thanks for sharing this. My husband and I have discussed adoption many times - I still see more children in my future but we'll see. As things stand right now a lot is up in the air. We are looking at the Philippines but this information about Liberia is excellent. I will have to look for Acres of Hope at our library.

Lazy D Ranch said...

As for now, Liberia has stopped all adoptions. A great place to look in Africa is Ghana or Ethiopia which both have long going, stable adoption processes.

Erin said...

Thanks! :) I went back and read the whole adoption story (throughout the morning in between laundry and children crying) - beautiful story...

Mrs. U said...

Oh how I LOVE adoption!! I've adopted my husbands 2 children, then we adopted our daughter 2 years ago and we are currently praying about where our next adoption will be. If it's up to me, I'm like your husband, I'll happily have 12 children!! :)

Thank you for sharing this!!!

Mrs. U

Anonymous said...

God called us to do foster care. We don't just minister to wards of the state, but also to state employees who come into our home and to birth family members . Case workers need to see how well-adjusted, talented, polite, and interesting Christian homeschoolers are so that they think well of them in general. We talked to the president of HSLDA about our concerns about having state workers in our home on a regular basis and he said to win them over, serve them the best we can, and be ambassadors for homeschoolers (and Christians) everywhere. That's what we've tried to do by His grace!

We've also spent time with troubled birth parents, grandparents, and siblings so they could see what a Christian family was like. We pray our interactions have planted seeds and exposed them to another way of life that they might not otherwise have gotten a glimpse of.

God allowed us to adopt our first 2 placements who we've had since birth (full brothers, 18 months apart). Even tho they were exposed to meth in the womb, they're smart, developmentally on target, and very sweet (they even look just like us!) This is not the road I ever dreamed I'd take, but here we are, enjoying every step of it. I'd highly recommend foster care and adoption, especially if you can do it through a Christian agency (we're with Christian Family Care in Arizona).

Our 12 year old (biological) daughter wants to be a missionary and have an orphanage when she grows up...we figured having lots of little ones in our home would be good practice for her! She went to Kenya last year with her Daddy (who was documenting 2 ministries' work there) and is eager to go back to Africa. She REALLY wants a "dark" baby to foster and/or adopt :)

Thanks for letting me put my own plug in here...there are so many children all over the world who need homes, but there are also many right down the street. I pray all Christians would consider how they might get involved some way, somehow, somewhere!

Lazy D Ranch said...

Agreed! As I said in an earlier post...it is all of our responsibility to help orphans whether they live in the United States or in another country. We all can play a part in the way the Lord leads us. I thank you for your courage to be a light to the state government.