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Whether I’m ready or not, our baby is turning one next month – one! And I am so in love with him. It’s been a bumpy ride in the Mitchell household the past couple years, my last pregnancy notwithstanding. Judah went from being an unwanted baby* to a baby who has been my unexpected healer.
(*I’m being very vulnerable here, so please be gentle with me. It’s pretty scary for me to write the word “unwanted” next to the word “baby” on the internet, but being open and honest is what this world needs, and so I choose to take the risk that comes with vulnerability. But, still, I ask for you to hear my heart and not just my words).
But the main reason I am writing today is to give you all an update on where we are at in our adoption journey. A quick overview since it’s been awhile since I’ve blogged about it:
– Summer 2014 – we started the adoption fundraising
– October 2014 – we officially started the paperwork
– March 2015 – our paperwork was put on hold due to our surprise pregnancy.
– March 2017 – we have until then to resume the paperwork or we lose the $3,000 we’ve paid and all paperwork will be void.
For my entire pregnancy and for the first several months of Judah’s life, I was determined to stick with our original plan – to adopt a newborn from the U.S. through our adoption agency for around $45,000. But as much as I wanted my life to be the same and my plan to be the same, going from 2 to 3 kids changes a lot. Well, it changes everything, really (see Sarah Bessey’s blog post below).
When I just had the two girls, I had the time and energy and motivation to fundraise the $45,000 we would need. In just a few months we were able to raise $10,000 because of amazing people like you(!). But now that Judah is here, I just don’t have the energy or time to fundraise another $35,000. While two years ago the $45,000 seemed like a fun challenge, it now feels like a flat out impossibility. While I enjoyed the fundraising (most of it, anyway:), it truly was a full-time job and then some. With three kids and other changes in our lives, I’m just not in a place to fundraise another $35,000. And since Ellen Degeneres hasn’t responded to my multiple emails, I don’t know where else to turn for that much money.
Plus, the fact that it costs $45,000 to adopt a baby just kills me. There are children needing a family and families needing children, and yet the cost of adoption is one of the biggest barriers for so many families who yearn to adopt. It’s an injustice to all children and all families, and I wish I knew how to combat that injustice.
So through much wrestling and praying and seeking out options, we feel we are being led to foster-to-adopt. This is a completely different yet somewhat similar journey from our domestic adoption plan. If we choose to go this route, it means we don’t get our $3,000 back from our adoption agency. And I can’t tell you how much that has torn up my soul – we worked so hard, people gave so generously, and yet we risk ‘losing’ that money if we change our plans. I spent a lot of time in therapy working my way through all my emotions and frustrations and fears and dreams of our adoption journey and the money involved. Being a frugal mama, forgoing that much money in one fell swoop makes my stomach sick.
But through a blog post by Sarah Bessey and a conversation with a foster-to-adopt mama from our church, we felt a peace and a confirmation that foster-to-adopt is the path for us. One of the biggest draws to foster-to-adopt is that it’s free. There’s more risk involved with this route and the entire approach is different. With domestic adoption, our plan is to ‘get a baby’. But with foster-to-adopt, the approach is to be advocates for reunification with birth parents/relatives whenever possible. While I totally understand this approach, it makes our path a little more complicated since we don’t necessarily get to adopt the first baby we take in.
There’s a lot more I could write on this change in our adoption journey, but I’ll save that for another time. There’s one more detail I want to cover in regards to our previous adoption plan, and that is the $7,000 we still have from our fundraising days.
This is hard… part of me feels guilty like I’ve ‘taken’ people’s money, and that guilt is multiplied when I think about us not using the money like we had originally planned (for our domestic adoption). So this is something John and I have been covering heavily in prayer. At this point in time, our hearts still want to use that money for our original purpose – which was/is to expand our family with children who are not biologically ours. That is still our plan and very much our desire (and more of a certainty now that a vasectomy has been performed:). It’s more of deciding how we’re going to go about that, and right now foster-to-adopt seems to be that path. But more than anything, we want you to know that we desire to be good stewards of our adoption money (ie: we aren’t spending it on fancy vacations or a new wardrobe;) and plan on using the money solely for the expansion of our family as that is why we did the fundraising in the first place.
But we are still praying… we are still open to options and to God’s leading. Our plan is to revisit this in the New Year and to decide if we are going to go forward with foster-to-adopt or not. We have until March 2017 til our $3,000 ‘expires’ so thus why we want to revisit this decision come January in case we feel led to do domestic adoption or Ellen Degeneres offers me the remaining $35,000. Hey, a mama can dream. 😉
So we ask for your prayers. We want to act honorably through all of this and to be good stewards of everything we’ve been given. More to come.
[Image: Pictures of Money]