Tuesday, June 23, 2015

You've heard the what, now here is the why

"Why are you adopting?"  I really expected someone to ask us this question; yet not once has this been asked of us. 

I guess we have been asked what brought this about a few times, but somehow that felt different from the expected questions of "why?" that I was prepared to answer. 

Maybe it is because in all the reading that we are doing, couples are constantly explaining why they choose to adopt.  But even though we have read dozens and dozens of examples, none of them quite seem to fit our reason why.

So even though no one has specifically asked, I still feel like there is a reason to explain why we are choosing to adopt. 

We clearly are not infertile as many adoptive parents are. 

We do not feel like our family is incomplete.  It is quite the contrary.  We have 3 gifts who fill our hearts and gray our hair daily.

We simply feel overwhelmingly blessed and desire to share our blessing.  We have resources to care for another child.  We have the love to love another child.  We have room to house another child, food to feed, clothes to clothe etc. 

We also feel that by adopting a child without a family we are trying to live out our faith in Christ in a very real way.  Christians are specifically commanded to take care of orphans, and we see this as a way our family can obey this command.  Furthermore, we have been adopted into God's family through the sacrifice of Jesus, and so we see our small sacrifice of opening our home and hearts to another child as a way to express our gratitude to our Maker. 

We do not make this decision lightly.  We are constantly talking it over, praying about it, checking our motivations.  Some days we are affirmed by our decision.  Other days we are terrified.  But our resolve hasn't wavered.  This is something we are committed to doing because we want to, we are excited to, and we feel blessed to be in a position to be the family a child needs. 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

the process

So, if you are like us, the thought of international adoption seems big and scary and confusing.  And although we know a lot more about the process now than when we first started, it is still pretty overwhelming at times.  We want to give you an overview of the process and share where we are and what the next steps are for us.

A very simple, stripped down summary of the process is this...
First, homestudy.
Then, dossier.
Then, referral.
Then, travel.
Then, new DeClercq for life.

Currently, we are in the first half of the homestudy phase.  The paperwork phase.  And education.  Homestudy could really be renamed "parent education phase".  We are each required to read 5 books, a number of online resources, complete 12 hours of online education, and attend 10 hours of in-person classes.  Some of that is our agency's requirement, some are mandated by Hague requirements which govern international adoption, and some are China-specific requirements of parents adopting from China.  Regardless of who requires it, we are doing it.

The paperwork is its own beast.  We have a page and a half checklist of things ranging from fingerprinting and birth certificates, to medical exams and personal reflection autobiographies, to a floor plan of our house and multiple financial statements.  The range of information that we provide is very extensive.

We have appreciated the reflection that has come from preparing these documents.  As we really examine our family, our past, our marriage, our parenting, it has been affirming of our decision to adopt.

Moving forward in the process, once we complete the paperwork phase of the homestudy, we move into the social worker phase.  We will meet one-on-one, as a couple and as a family with a social worker from our adoption agency.  She will complete a review of our home and conduct interviews.  Once the homestudy is successfully completed, we submit our "stuff" for approval to the State and Federal agencies that control adoption.  They give us the stamp of approval to adopt.

Then we move into the dossier phase.  Our dossier is a compilation of documents that represents us to the agency in China that approves adoption.  We provide more financial information, more medical checks, more birth certificates, and so on.  These documents are all notarized.  Then everything in the dossier is authenticated at 3 levels and then submitted to China.  Once approved here, we are eligible for a referral.

This becomes the matching phase.  We wait for our child.  We will complete a questionnaire about the type of child we feel will be the best match for our family and for us as parents.  And then we wait.

Once we have been matched and we say "yes", travel is scheduled.  We will then travel to China for approximately 2 weeks to pick up our new child from their orphanage and finalize the adoption in China.  More paperwork, and lots of travel. 

See, less confusing and scary, but still pretty overwhelming.  Questions?  We would love to answer anything you are wondering about. 

Also, we are going to add a box to the right with specific prayer requests.  Generally, you can pray for wisdom and momentum for us through this process.  Peace in our home and in our marriage.  And a continued understanding of God's calling on us as a family in adoption.  And for God's miraculous financial provision.