Monday, September 21, 2009

Fellow Blogger's Post On The Question-Is International Adoption Worthy of Our Time and Money?

I read this post from a fellow blogger and thought it was written so thoughtfully and so well. I really wanted to share. Read this great post (link below in green) on her answer to the following question:
"Why not use the money that you are spending on your adoption and give it to programs that alleviate poverty in the third world and allow impoverished families to provide for their families intstead?"
This is a fair question that she was asked. A question that we have asked ourselves, but were not able to put into words as well.
Click on the link below to read her response, it is a little long but worth reading.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

We wanted to answer some frequently asked questions.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Why not adopt a child here in the United States? Specifically why Africa?

First and foremost, we both feel that adoption in any form is a wonderful endeavor. There are so many children in the U.S. and abroad who are waiting on families. Not even the best orphanage or foster home can replace a permanent family’s love. We highly encourage families to adopt: domestically and internationally. We met while working in a developing nation, and have seen the living conditions that many orphans face daily. We have always shared a calling for the impoverished and the forgotten; especially those with little hope of finding a forever family. That being said, this is not a rescue mission on our part. It is not an extension of missions work. This is not an effort to “do a good deed”. The decision to adopt from Africa came after asking the Lord for guidance and direction about growing our family. Our decision came after many hours of prayer, and receiving confirmation from God. This is a personal journey to bring our daughter home.

How much does the adoption process cost? Why so much? Who gets the money? Etc….

The process to adopt our daughter will cost about $25,000. The fees are split up into several areas: U.S. Immigration fees, adoption agency fees (portion goes to the improvement of orphanage), legal costs, social worker fees, Ethiopian government fees, travel costs, medical expenses, and miscellaneous fees and costs. It adds up incredibly quickly.

When does she get here?

We wish we knew the answer to this. Our adoption must pass a court hearing in Ethiopia before we can set up any travel arrangements. About 60% of families pass this process on the first try. Many families do not pass court on the first try due to paperwork, no electricity, family member unable to attend (to assure child is adoptable), or court closings. We are hoping to bring her home in January, but must remind ourselves often that many things could happen to delay this.

Do you have to go get her?

Yes. We are really excited to visit Africa, and specifically Ethiopia. Winnie is living in a “transition home” that is run by our agency. She is in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. At the least, we will be there for 2 weeks. We are hoping to travel around the country, seeing Lalibela, the beginning of the Nile, and collecting memories of our daughter’s homeland. We feel a responsibility to embrace Ethiopia and learn traditions and customs to bring into our home.

Are you keeping her name?

She has a beautiful Amharic name, and we feel that it wouldn’t be fair to take that away from her now, as she already knows her name. We can’t share her name or photos at this time. We do promise to post photos and share her full name as soon as we pass Ethiopian court (she will officially be a Shaw at that point!!!). Until then, we will call her Winnie… and you’ll have to trust us when we say, “she is Amazing”.

Why does it take so long if there are over 4 million orphans in Ethiopia alone?

The first six months are often referred to as the “paper chasing” phase. During this period, prospective adoptive parents collect documents and legal records. In addition, we have met 4 times with our social worker in Upper Sandusky, wrote autobiographies, read books, took classes on adoption, collected references, petitioned to immigration, obtained additional life insurance, had fingerprinting done several times, met with doctors for physical examinations, had background checks, prepared for fire and safety inspections, and had these and many more documents notarized, county and state certified. These documents are combined into one folder called a dossier. The dossier is then sent to Ethiopia for translation and review by the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs. At this point families wait for a referral or in our case, pursue a child on the “waiting child” list. The adoption then moves through the Ethiopian court system.
This entire process protects the children. Unfortunately, there are bad people in the world who exploit children. The United States, Ethiopia and our agency take every precaution to place children with capable parents in loving homes.

If you have any other questions, please let us know. We are still learning as we go, but remain excited to share.

Friday, September 18, 2009


We've always felt a special spot in our hearts for adoption. I can remember walking to Mozart's when we were dating, and talking about adopting babies. Just as our relationship has grown, so has the desire to add to our little family. According to UNICEF, there are 147,000,000 children orphaned in the world. Try to wrap your mind around that!!! It's hard to imagine millions of orphans living without a family, and we both felt like God was leading us towards these sweet kids.
We began our adoption journey in February, sending out what seemed like a lot of paperwork in an application to America World Adoption Association. We were accepted into the Ethiopia program in March, and began the LONG road of paper chasing. Our initial request was for a healthy infant girl or twins. The process led us all over Ohio, collecting documents, meeting with our social worker, and notarizing and certifying.
As our paperwork came to an end, we were looking forward to sending it all to Ethiopia, and starting the waiting process for a referral. Things changed. We saw the picture of a "waiting child" on our agency's website, and couldn't stop thinking about her. She had the most beautiful smile and sweet little face. After a few weeks of praying and making sure we were on the "same page", we gladly accepted a referral for our daughter.
In the last few weeks, we have made HUGE strides in bringing Winnie home. Our dossier(Gigantic bundle of notorized and certified papers) started it's journey to Africa September 10th. We began to share the good news of our daughter with our family and friends. Winnie received her first package, and got a look at her new mom and dad yesterday. MOST EXCITING to the new parents... we got 8 new pictures of Winnie (THANK YOU MONBERG'S).
We are praying for Winnie's health as she waits in Ethiopia, the paperwork and testing that needs to be done to bring her home, and guidance as we prepare our lives for a 3 year old that speaks no English :)
This is the very brief version, we can't wait to tell you more...