Our Adoption Frequently Asked Questions
Many of you have already begun to ask questions. Some of you are too afraid to ask us questions, but are still very curious. So rather than me answer dozens of questions to dozens of different people, I figured I’d just answer them all here. Some of these questions I’ve answered rather pointed. If you have read any of our blog up until this point, you know how passionate I am about orphans and about adoption. The intent is not to offend anyone, but rather to answer questions I’ve been asked honestly and clearly.
Why are you drawn to adopt internationally?
The answer is complicated, but what it boils down to is I believe there is a more desperate need for International adoption for four main reasons. First, I’ve read some biographies of American fatherless children as we did prayerfully consider adopting locally. Some of them read like this, “He dreams of one day having his own iPad” or “He wants to be adopted but he feels he must continue living in Florida because of the sports he participates in.” Do you know what Brandon’s lifelong dream was? To have a family. To have enough food each day to keep up with his growing body. While American fatherless children still live in less than optimal situations, and I’m sure many do desperately want a family, they still are not institutionalized with hundreds of other children. They do not go to bed hungry at night. Our government even has programs in tact so the fatherless can go to college upon graduation and live a full and successful life. Foreign orphans “age out” usually at age 16 and are put out on the street and wind up to be prostitutes or criminals. Second, less people are moved to adopt internationally. Not everyone can travel overseas, can complete the rigorous paperwork, want to deal with a language and cultural barrier or care to comply with foreign adoption laws. Third, in America the fatherless have a better chance of hearing the Gospel since there are Bible-believing churches almost on every corner. In foreign countries, the chances of them hearing the truth about Christ are much slimmer. Fourth, people are less likely to adopt internationally because it costs so much. All 5 of us are drawn specifically to Ukraine for our next adoption. “And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me (Isaiah 6:8).”
All the textbooks say you should wait at least a year after the death of a loved one before making a major decision. Why are you not waiting?
I do not care about any textbooks. We are not bound by what is “normal” and what is “recommended” by top PhD’s in the country. Our situation is anything but the normal “text book” situation. The Bible is our only book of authority. God has been clear in His word that we must obey and we must obey immediately.
Are you just trying to replace Brandon?
No, we are not trying to replace Brandon for the single reason that OUR SON CANNOT BE REPLACED. He was too unique and too special. He was a wonderful son and had all the qualities I’ve ever wanted in a son. I had no idea that God would give us exactly what we ever wanted in our sweet, Brandon and I didn’t even know it was what I wanted in a son before I actually met him. Having said that, I feel it is an unfair expectation on our newest son to be a suitable replacement for Brandon. Instead, we believe our love will grow. When we first learned we were expecting our second daughter, Kylie, we could not imagine loving another little girl as much as we loved our firstborn, Katie. Yet, somehow God grew our love and we love the girls equally. Then little Haley came along and we couldn’t imagine loving our third daughter as much as our first two. And somehow our love grew. Then God called us to adopt Brandon. We weren’t even sure how we could love a child that was not our own flesh and blood as much as we loved our own “home grown” girls. Yet, God gave us an AMAZING love for Brandon that far exceeded our expectations and it was the SAME love we have for our daughters. So regardless of our newest son’s temperament, gifts & talents, we believe our love will grow and we hope this love will point this child to Christ.
Why don’t you wait to adopt until you are done grieving?
Well, I am not even sure we will all EVER be done grieving our son, Brandon. Yes, we may even grieve over him until the day we reach Heaven. We have suffered such a great and unexpected and premature loss with Brandon that it is not something that we will just “get over.” So why wait a year or two years before adopting again? Why make a fatherless child sit in an orphanage for long periods of time while we attempt to “get over” our son? We are going to grieve. We will have our moments of sadness. But we have so many more moments of joy. Time, on this side of Heaven, is running out. Jesus Christ is coming again!!! Fatherless children are growing up and they need nurturing and love more than we need to sit in our own self-pity and wallow about ourselves and our trials in life.
When did it occur to you that you need to adopt again?
I can’t speak for the rest of the family, but I felt God calling us to adopt again on February 4th, 2012 during Brandon’s celebration of life service. The Academy’s high school choir was singing so beautifully and I stared at my son’s picture. God impressed upon my heart that our family and our friends and our church and our school are TOO GREAT to keep to ourselves. We must share all that we have again with another child. I fought it back for some time. It would be so much easier to just move on with life and not worry about adoption any more. We did our part. But then I think about the life change we saw in Brandon in such a short period of time. He went from being 53 inches tall, 70 pounds to 56 inches tall and 85 pounds in only 8 months. We had no idea our son’s hair was blond because when we met him his hair was dark, greasy and short! He had never had a hot shower or used a toilet correctly. He learned proper hygiene and work ethic in only 8 months. He went from not being able to read or write in English to understanding, writing and speaking English in only 8 months. He made hundreds of friends and impacted thousands of lives in only 8 months. He had no idea that there is a God who is alive, seeking lost souls. He had no idea that you live eternally either in Heaven or in Hell. He had no idea that Christ died on a cross for the sins of mankind, but he learned ALL of that in only 8 months. Adoption doesn’t change the whole world, but it changes lives—ETERNALLY.
How will you pay for another adoption so soon?
This is the question that kept Tim and I from making a decision to move forward with a new adoption the longest. Money is always a problem. We had a well-meaning deacon in our church tell us with the 1st adoption that he believed that families needed to have their finances for the adoption before they even think about adoption. I’m sorry, but I believe that is completely unscriptural. When Jesus Christ told his disciples, “Follow me” they did not say, “Wait a minute, Lord. I have to raise the funds first. Hang on. Let me contact my bank to get a loan.” They dropped EVERYTHING and followed Christ IMMEDIATELY. In fact, God even commanded his disciples to “take nothing.” What was God’s plan for their material needs? Other believers. They were to stay in the homes and eat from the tables of other believers. Adoption is our ministry. It is our lifelong calling. It is our mission field. We would love for you, if God has laid it on your heart, to come along side of us and help us financially to adopt. Those believers that gave towards Brandon’s adoption have eternal rewards waiting for them in heaven and those that help in this adoption will be rewarded eternally as well.
What is the cost of your adoption?
A really good estimate this time around is about $28,000 and that includes everything. Last time we did not plan adequately for airfare and in-country expenses so that it threw us off with our figures. This time we know exactly what it costs for these things. We are expecting to receive our $13,360 adoption tax credit from Brandon’s adoption by the end of the year, so that helps out a lot.
Do you have a specific boy picked out to adopt yet?
We learned from our first adoption to be more open-minded. We do have our eyes on one little boy and if God sees fit to allow us to adopt him, we will. If God points us to an entirely different boy, or even boys, we’ll obey accordingly. Our paperwork says we are willing to adopt “up to 3 children, male or female from Ukraine.” So anything within those parameters is fine with us.
What do you think Brandon would say about adopting another boy?
Brandon was one of the most generous people I have ever met. He would give the shirt off his back if you needed it. He would often give up his bed so his sisters could sleep in it while he’d willingly sleep on the floor. I casually asked Brandon back in November if he thought Mama and Papa should adopt more boys. He laughed and said, “Maybe in one year you can. Today, I am the only boy.” A week before he died he was particularly concerned for his two best friends back in Ukraine. Out of the blue he asked if I thought any of our friends in America “would buy” Maxim and Yuri. I told him I would try my best to find a family for Maxim and Yuri. I then explained that we didn’t “buy” him. We paid for his plane ticket and we paid for some papers he needed to come to America, but children are not bought. He definitely had a heart and a love for other people and I believe he would be thrilled to know we are adopting again. He would gladly share his bed, his bedroom and all his toys.
Anyway, this is all I had for now. Feel free to let me know if you have any other questions and I’m happy to answer them for you. Those of us who were born in America are so blessed. We sit here in our gigantic 4 bedroom/2 bathroom houses with a bedroom set aside solely for a computer and a bedroom set aside solely for guests that may or may not even have time to come visit for one week out of a year. We don’t even blink about spending $18 a plate at a restaurant or $8 on frozen yogurt or $5 on coffee. We drive new vehicles and wear name-brand clothing. That all may be part of the American dream and we may very well be entitled to it all, but it’s not for me. I’ll keep my 10-year-old family car with 120,000 miles on it, I’ll wear the same clothing I’ve worn for the last 10 years, I’ll take our empty bedroom upstairs and any money that I have and use it all to bring another little boy home. I’m willing to do this so he can grow and thrive in our home. More importantly, I’ll sacrifice it all so he can learn about God’s love and grace. “Take this world and give me Jesus. This (world) is not where I belong” (Building 429). Thanks for listening.