Monday, March 12, 2007

Adopting Internationally

This is the aforementioned post that has been “percolating” in my brain over several days. I should preface this by saying that I have researched international adoption time and again during these past seven years in which God has been building our family. We did not choose to adopt three children domestically because we were unwilling to adopt internationally, but mainly for two reasons: finances and stability. Both of these reasons need to be explained further.

Finances – by this I mean that yes, adoption is obviously expensive. However, we have personally seen in our own lives and have witnessed in the lives of others that this should never be the determining factor in whether or not a family chooses to adopt! God is more than able to provide financially for families to fulfill one of the passions of His heart – in this case, caring for the “fatherless.” Let me also clarify that international adoption is not necessarily more expensive than domestic adoption. It varies depending on each country, as every country has its own laws and fees related to the adoption of one of their children.

To be honest, I have much less of a problem paying an orphan fee to a country that desperately needs funding to care for their orphaned children than I do to certain adoption agencies in the States that in my opinion have crossed the line between building families to lining their pocketbooks. That may sound harsh, but I have seen agencies in our country charge up to $40,000 for a healthy infant and to me, that is and always will be a crime! Yes, there are legitimate fees relating to adoption such as foster care, legal fees, etc. but there must be a limit. For that reason, anyone considering adoption must carefully and prayerfully research before committing to an agency.

Yet finances are a reality and one we had to face when determining how we would be able to adopt. It not only affected our decision not to adopt internationally in the past, but also limited the domestic situations we could accept when being considered for a child. Over the years, we have had to turn down the opportunity to have our profile shown to many potential adoption situations because certain agency fees were simply too high.

Stability – by this I strictly mean stability relating to our housing situation. Since we first began the process to adopt our daughter Eva in 2000, we have lived in three different states and five different houses. Because international adoption seemed to take longer than domestic adoption (or so we thought) we felt that we were not in one house long enough to complete an international adoption before moving again.

We have since learned that there are certain international adoption programs that are neither as lengthy as we thought nor as costly. Over the years, we have especially considered the needs in Africa and in Haiti time and again. In recent weeks, I have spoken with several agencies working in these areas of the world and have been overwhelmed by the sheer number of orphaned children waiting and longing for families to call their own.

I would invite you to visit the websites for just a couple of the orphanages I have contacted recently or in the past, and look at their photos of waiting children, and especially their “Before & After” photos of children who have arrived malnourished and at the point of death into their care. Then, realize that these are just two orphanages out of hundreds, and multiply those hundreds of orphanages by the thousands of motherless and fatherless children they try to serve … and perhaps we can begin to picture what “5.5 million orphans in Africa, 3.5 million orphans in Asia, 1.5 million orphans in Eastern Europe, 400,000 orphans in Latin America, and 135,000 children available for adoption in the U.S. foster care system” really looks like.

Children of the Promise

God’s Littlest Angels

As I have spoken with these agencies, the need is so great and they have assured me that we could find a way to begin an international adoption and complete it even once we have moved to Chile. Yet, ultimately we do not have a peace about doing so because we realize that there are tremendous challenges and changes facing our family in moving overseas and beginning our ministry in Chile.

If the Lord allows us to complete another domestic adoption as we have been asking Him for this past year, this would be done before we move to Chile. But to be “in process” of an international adoption while at the same time transitioning our family overseas, we feel would draw our focus away from what should be our first priority at least for now. We do not know if perhaps the Lord will open the door to adopt internationally or even to adopt from Chile someday, but we would embrace that opportunity if it came our way!

Finally and most importantly, the reason I chose to share this with all of you is not primarily to share our own journey, but to challenge you to consider your own. Many of you are in a far better place financially than we may ever be, and even if you are not then we are living proof that God is able to provide for your family to adopt! Also, many of you are living in a stable home and community (not moving halfway across the world in six months!) It doesn’t matter if you already have your “own” children. Let me assure you, if God leads you to adopt a child then He will make that child as much your “own” as the ones He placed in your womb.

To quote Dennis Rainey of Hope for Orphans, “as adopted children in God’s family, believers should be the first to reach out to orphaned and abandoned children around the world.

Won’t you consider your part in sharing God’s heart for orphans?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am a bit confused over your post regarding international adoption. Are you asking for people to give you $$$ for adoption or asking people to consider adopting internationally themselves?