Wednesday, August 5, 2009

We're Adopting!

Dear Friends and Family,

We have some exciting news to share with you! We have been approved to adopt a child from Ethiopia!

Go ahead and take a few minutes to get back up off the floor, we understand. As most of you know, we have struggled with infertility. After undergoing infertility treatment for over a year, with no success, we decided to try a different procedure — and make that our last attempt. Adam and I knew that we did not have to biologically have children for us to become parents. We obtained information on adoption, and if our last fertility surgery did not work, we would start the adoption process.

The surgery worked, and we became pregnant with twins. The pregnancy and delivery were difficult, and our boys were born premature. Sabrina’s doctor recommended that she avoid future pregnancy due to the internal scarring, and her family physician stated that it would defy all laws of science if she were able to get pregnant again. We never struggled with our doctor’s advice because we knew that adoption was always an option.

Over the last 4 years, whenever anyone asks if we are going to have more kids, we always tell them that we may adopt in the future. A lot has changed in our lives this past year, and the past few months, the idea of adoption has been on our minds a lot more than before. This summer, Sabrina has really struggled with the boys growing up and getting ready to start school, and we once again were reminded that our family does not have to stop at four just because we can’t conceive.

We began looking into adoption again, and we felt a calling towards international adoption. The boys have a good friend, Mia, who was adopted from Vietnam three years ago. We began looking into the agency that Mia’s parents used, and we read about adopting from South America, Russia/Ukraine, China, Korea, and Ethiopia. Adam and I both came to the conclusion that Ethiopia was the best fit for us. Right now, it is the easiest country to adopt from, and Ethiopia has so much poverty, hunger, and other hardship. One in six children die by the age of five, and the life expectancy is only 46 years old.

While there are still so many uncertainties, we know that we have made the right decision. We wanted to explain to everyone our decision, as well as the process, so that you can have more of an understanding of what this means for our family — both immediate and extended. We will no longer be a family of just one race.

The first question is simply what do Ethiopian children look like? They are black, African children. Some can have lighter brown skin, and others can have very dark skin. Once the adoption is complete, we will become an interracial family. We are speaking to people who are already in this situation, reading heavily into both the racial and cultural background of our child, and we are also attending a weekend seminar regarding interracial families.

We have been approved by Children’s Hope International. They are an adoption agency based out of Missouri. They will handle our international adoption; however, Oasis Adoption Services in Tucson will handle our home study and Arizona court approval. We are currently in the “document gathering” stage. It is amazing how many documents you need, and how everything has to be worded just right and even our recommendation letters from friends have to be notarized. We will have to go through criminal checks by our local police, child protective services, and a fingerprint clearance through the federal databases. In addition to gathering documents, we are also working with a social worker from Oasis to conduct our home study. The social worker will meet with us, our boys, and they will also speak with our friends. They will evaluate our house, financial stability, medical stability, etc. This process should take approximately three months if everything goes smoothly. At that time, the social worker will have her recommendation, and our case will be presented in front of a juvenile court judge in Arizona. Once we are cleared by the judge, we can obtain the visa for our child. We hope to have the first stage completed by the first of November.

The second stage is waiting on a referral. Children’s Hope International works with an orphanage in Ethiopia called “House of Hope”. They receive orphaned children, and they test them for disease. If a child is healthy, then they “refer” the child to a family. When you get referred, you will get to see your child via photographs, and receive medical history and birth history (if this is known) from the orphanage. At that point, you accept your child. The wait to be referred begins after the Arizona court approves us, and it is between 6-12 months long. These are rough numbers based on how many children are in the orphanage.

The third stage is approval by the Ethiopian government. All of the documents gathered in stage one, and approved by our courts, will become certified and sent to Ethiopia in our dossier. If we meet the requirements, the government will then approve us for the adoption prior to us arriving in Ethiopia. This process takes approximately 2-4 months.

The final stage is the best one! Once we receive approval from the Ethiopian government, Adam and I will travel to Ethiopia to pick up our child from the orphanage. We will stay there for approximately one week, and we will appear in court during this time. At that point, we get to bring our baby home with the promise that we will provide yearly pictures and updates from our social worker to the Ethiopian government until the child reaches age 15.

If everything goes smoothly, we should have our child approximately 12 months from now. Again, that time frame can be pushed up or back depending on many factors. We have requested a child between the ages of infant (6 months is the youngest they will allow) to 18 months. We have not requested a specific gender.

We hope that you will support us in our journey. We promise to keep you updated, and just ask that you continue to pray for our family during this process. We encourage any questions you may have.


Adam & Sabrina

1 comment:

  1. Hey guys, welcome to the wonderful, often trying, world of international adoption. Remember, the key to surviving the wait list: stay as busy as possible!!! :) (Doesn't look like you'll have too much of a problem doing this with those kiddos of yours though :) Staci and I are excited to follow you guys throughout the rest of your journey. Hang in there, your little girl will be home before you know it!

    P.S. you can check us out at :