Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Adoption: Our Special Village & A Large Cost

The Village
I can remember telling family and our close friends about our decision to adopt from the beginning. Lots of why questions, lots of curiosity, some excitement, some resistance, and a little of the unknown. But when you read all the adoption books going into it, they prepare you that everybody will have very different reactions. Some are all for it right away and others don't come around until the child comes home. No worries, we didn't take offense to your reactions. It's all part of the deal.

We were also told about this "it takes a village" statement...

I've never quite felt that saying or understood that saying completely because when you're adopting, you and your spouse are doing many of these things on your own. Nobody is involved in the home study process with you, nobody is doing the educations hours you're doing, nobody is involved in the daily doses of adoption portal message checks or getting new mail with good news. Everybody is just involved from the outside hearing through our words. So when they say, it takes a village...I never could figure out when that village comes into play. And what is the village's responsibility?

But over the past few weeks, I've realized who and what this so-called village is and their duties are on so many levels. Anything from our 7 references that not only had to take the time to write letters to prove our worth as individuals as well as how we'd be as parents, but get them notarized and to us quickly. We've had family donate some money to get new household appliances (we've been living without a microwave since the beginning of the fall and our dishwasher has been leaking after the cycle is complete), knowing that much of our monthly income has had to go to saving for the adoption. Individuals we've met along the way have provided us with tips, suggestions, ideas, personal stories, and small unique gifts (I'll have to share those another day!). Although everybody's adoption story is a bit different, it is wonderful to hear their stories and keep some of those ideas in the back of our brains for the future. We have specific individuals who receive our immediate updates personally before they go out to the public and those who support us in all sorts of ways! Most importantly, we have been on so many prayer lists through this journey and had many people thinking about us along the way. We cannot thank each and every one of you enough who have been there on all these levels with us...whether it is being involved directly or from a distance, we are so thankful for every bit of what you all have done.

So that so-called "village." They're all out there. They are all participating. They are all involved in one way or another. And they are our village. We love what our village has become at this point, but we also look forward to our village when we bring our child home. We look forward to all who are excited to be a part of our child's life. We thank you now, but we will always be thankful for our village.

The Cost
Before we got married, I had saved up some extra money. All that extra money, we had no idea what we were going to do with it. We thought we would do some traveling, buy a house, and enjoy ourselves for a while. Sure, we did do all of those but the leftover money? We knew there was a bigger purpose for it. So instead we didn't invest it, didn't spend it...we just held onto it.  We didn't know we would adopt as soon as we have decided, but looking back we realized the Lord was telling us to "keep it, I've got plans for that stuff you won't be needing." No wonder we never had a settling feeling about the purpose of that money. We are sure glad we listened. Because He had plans for us to be settled in a home before we started our home study process and then, have enough money to pay for this process along the way. It may not have been anywhere close to what we need for the adoption, but it has provided us with a way to get to this point. And now we pray we either

a) have enough month after month to pay the next big fees OR
b) the Lord has a plan that it could take longer, which would allow us to save more.

Many moons ago, we had someone tell us that, "We hope you don't ask for money to pay for your child" and, "Other people don't fundraise for their kids." And sure, we get it. It doesn't always make sense, but it isn't like people have insurance to cover adoption fees like you do when you have medical insurance. But we've never asked for anything. We don't qualify for grants and we don't get any special discount if we pay early or everything at once. So instead, we continue to work hard and save as much as we can every month. If that means pinching pennies, then that's what it means. So it's exactly what we've done. However, I think on the other hand I've turned it into pushing away some of our village...because when someone told us that (the above statements), my first reaction went to "then we will do this all on our own, you watch us" in such a childish way. But over the last few months, we've realized it's not about doing it solely on our own. Because...that village....they have a purpose. Not necessarily to give us money, but to support us and to make sure we don't do this all on our own. So we ask that if you pray, pray for our financial side to this journey right now as we have more large fees coming up and that we can month by month scrape up enough for the big trip if it comes sooner than later. If you don't pray, well then think good thoughts for us. We will take and appreciate both!

The adoption journey will cost us a large lump sum by the time we return from South Africa.
The total cost can be anywhere from $33,000-$40,000 to adopt just one child. And no, it's not a scam.
We have so many workers States side we must pay and have earned their money, we have social workers and attorneys in South Africa who must be paid for their duties, we pay large fees to the government for processing paperwork, and we pay a large sum for all the traveling expenses for initially two people who become a family a three on the return trip. We cannot save up on clothes or children's items because we have no idea what the age of the child will be, so all the child's "needs" will be last minute purchases to prepare ourselves when we return home.

As I preach to you all in these posts, there is much more to adoption than most realize. It has been about the support from all of you, it has been about building the strength of our relationship, building our prayer strength, and learning about how we are going to make this child's life as loving, joyous, adventurous, and God-filled as it can be. So we will ask again for thoughts and prayers as well as thank all of you who follow our journey.

♡The Stanleys