Saturday, February 2, 2008

Adoption Options?? Help!!!!!

As most of you know David and I are in the process of deciding where we will adopt from. I don't now if this wiklkl make sense to anyone else but throughout this process I feel like no matter what I choose I am being selfish. There are three big decisions to be made. Here are some of my thought processes going on in my head in regards to those three desicions.
Sierra Leone vs. Ethiopia:
Selfishly I want to do Ethiopia for a few reasons;

1. The process is clearer, the time line is pretty mush set (although this seems like a joke to those of you who are adopting from ethiopia, compared to the SL prgram Ethiopia is butter!), it is cheaper, and you only have to travel once. I can't imagine my self meeting my baby and then having to leave them in Africa and go home for an undetermined amount of time, that wait would kill me. (This is why I pray for the Landers every day, multiple times a day, everytime I get sad about us waiting to jump into this whole thing!)

This is where I feel selkfish though, barely anyone is adopting from SL for all of the above mentioned reasons, and I don't want to put a lid on God and say, "your not big enough to get me through all those things." And plus those orphans need help just as much as any other orphan.

I also think that it is popular to adopt from Ethiopia and so if we didn't adopt from there whomever we would adopt would probably get adopted anyways. (But then I argue with myself on this point because there are millions and millions of orphans in Ethiopia that need a family, so saying that just because it's popular isn't a good enough reaosn, especially when "popular" last year meant around 700 ethiopian babies came home to the U.S.A., there are still millions there, waiting.)

I also think about the amazing Ethiopian adoption community, especially here in Colorado. There would be such a support sytem for our baby, and that as they would grow up they would have that link, that connection to others who know what they are going through. Where as with SL this would not be the case.

Okay, and then as if that is not enough the next question is boy or girl?

When I imagine our family I imagine us with a little boy (besides the other little boy we already have). The problem with this scenario is that David imagines a little girl! (I know, just get both, although I think my husband would have a heart attack if I presented that into the picture right now!) Right now my solution is, just say we would accept either. But if David wants a little girl I am not opposed to this at all (and he says the same thing about a boy), I think I am just afraid of girls.

Lastly, age. I think this might be the biggest desicion. What age do we request. David says he is not comfortabkle with anyone over 2 yrs. right now. If it were just me I would adopt an older sibling group. We'll get there he says. So do we request an infant or a toddkler? I knwo so many positives and negatives about both (negative for an infant mostly being me- I don't like infants, meaning the kind that are so small you are afraid you'll squish them and the kind that wake up every two hours, I would be quite joyous to just skip this stage all together!).


Okay I have shared our deepest thoughts as of late, now I need you to give me all the advice, wisdom, thoughts, stories etc. that you can, call all your friends and say "this lady needs our help! "

We feel the freedom from God to move forward very soon, and are praying diligently about all of these things.

The gravity of these desicions seems huge to me.


  1. here are my thoughts:
    1. Choosing the country has to be something you and David come into agreement on and feel good about. But with that said, it doesn't have to be through a revolutionary moment. It can be through a series of logical choices. Brent and I knew 'africa', that was it. Ethiopia came because it was the most stable program (we decided it was important to us to choose a program that had a low likelihood to close while we were in the process). Obviously Sam was brought to us in part b/c of the decision to adopt from Ethiopia (b/c we wouldn't have been with the agency we chose if we hadn't chose ethiopia and sam was in their system).

    Like I said to you today: When saying no to something remember that you are always saying yes to a child. It was a really important thing for me to hold on to when in the process. Making choices was hard b/c we worried that some children wouldn't find homes. And some won't. But we trusted God to give us wisdom on what we could handle right now.

    So, if Ethiopia is easier, cheaper, and faster... well maybe it's a better fit for you guys right now. Maybe SL in the future, maybe not. Whatever you guys decide try not to feel guilty.

    As for the Ethiopia adoption community, yes they are great, but they would support you even if your child is from SL. I still go to the gatherings etc and post on the group even though Sam is from Kenya.

    2. Gender: If you guys both are ultimately okay with whatever, but have a preference, then open yourselves up to either and don't specify. It may (you'd need to check on this b/c I may be wrong) make your process faster.

    We didn't specify. Brent wanted a boy but would be okay with either. I didn't think I cared but when we decided not to specify I freaked out. I was scared of not knowing how to raise a boy and on top of that, how to raise a boy to be a well adjusted, upstanding black man. I was terrified. God worked it out and I'm glad. God could prepare you for a girl as well :)

    3. Age: If David feels like all he can handle is 2 years and under and you don't like the infant stage then request 18-24 months. I love the idea of sibling groups. In fact when we got to the end of our adoption we wished we had done it. It would have saved us money etc. So, figure out if your into sibling groups or just older sibling groups. I will say that the adjustment to two kids is a lot, however I think we would have struggled but could have made the adjustment to three.

    My advice on this one is that David is comfortable with a child over two then respect that. If you aren't stoked about another infant then try to make provisions for that (by requesting older). We requested 18-24 months and our agency made us move it down to 12 months b/c they had policies against artificial twinning. I DID NOT want another baby. Even a 12 month old was pushing it. But Sam was 15 months old when he came home and it was fine.

    There is some research that says that at 18 months old attachment gets more difficult. I do not discredit this but I also think the difference between 17 months and 24 months isn't that big. As an adoptive parent you need to be aware and proactive about attachment no matter what. We know lots of folks that have adopted elementary aged kids, a couple families that adopted teenagers and lots of families that have adopted kids 2 and under. Some struggle and some thrive from every category. There's no formula.

    Last thing: The cool thing about adoption is that you aren't bound by your age. You can adopt again later. When your children are 6 you can adopt a 2 year old or a 5 year old. When your kids are 15 you can adopt a 5 year old or a 17 year old. You can create your family as your kids grow up. We talk about that all the time. Who knows where we'll be at in 10 years but maybe adoption will be something we're doing again.

    i hope that stuff helps. Call me or email me if you want to talk more.

    good luck!!

  2. Hi,

    You don't know me, but I'm a friend of Courtney's and have a little girl from Ethiopia. When it comes to choosing a country, just go with your gut, go with what feels right (same applies for an agency and every other decision you'll encounter). Courtney is right, the Ethiopian adoption community will support you regardless--we love having new people on board, and there is at least one other family I know of in our group with a little girl from SL (they're currently adopting from Ethiopia, but were in our group before that). My husband and I both wanted different genders as well--he wanted a boy, I wanted a girl--but since this was our first kid and neither of our reasons were very good, we just left it open. We were the only family with our agency to do so at the time and while it didn't make things go any quicker, we did end up with a little girl who is perfect for our family (and vice versa). I think if you're open to older kids and/or sibling groups it will definitely speed things up a little because there will be more kids to choose from, but we were in the 0-12 months age range and it didn't help us (we're shocked we didn't get a boy, actually...everyone who was requesting was requesting girls, but there just happened to be more girls available when our time came). I also think sibling groups are really cool--it's great for the kids to have siblings when they come home, I think it helps with the whole adjustment (and you don't need to go through the process again so quickly!). I never thought I'd be open to older kids until we got to the orphanage where our daughter was, and promptly fell in love with all these Kindergarten aged kids..I'm pregnant right now with a boy, so I think we are done having kids, but if we decide to go for 3, I'll be lobbying hard to adopt a Kindergarten age boy from Ethiopia...

    Good luck and I hope to see you at one of our events sometime!

  3. Hi Amanda, We were looking at the SL program through Hope's Promise in 2004 as well. We went on to have a bio son and, now that we're ready to adopt, we decided on Ethiopia through another agency. There wasn't any one thing that changed our just felt right. So I'll echo the other comments and say "go with your gut".

    A big ET adoption group is meeting for dinner at Habesha on 2/23 if you can make it!

  4. Thank you guys so much for your thoughts, those that emailed me as well. You have given us klots of good advice!