International Adoption {China} Part 2

If you missed it...here's Part 1

How long did your adoption process take from start to finish?

From the day we decided to move forward to the day we held our new child in our arms, 3 years and 2 days. But, we “hung out” in the China healthy baby program for a while and then moved (albeit reluctantly at first) to the special needs program on March 10, 2009 (the very day our daughter was born in China). We were matched with our daughter in January 2010 and traveled to bring her home in March 2010. We came back to the U.S. with her fully ours on April 9, 2010.

Why did you choose International adoption and why China?

We chose international for a couple reasons—we wanted to know that once we received our child, she would be fully ours, no threat of a disruption because of a birthmother changing her mind. We likely weren’t good candidates for a private domestic adoption given our 3 children already.
I had spent a couple weeks in China before we got married teaching English, and my parents run IECS (www.internationalecs.org) placing English teachers at Chinese universities. Our hearts were already warm to the Chinese.

What adoption agency did you go through and how did you decide?

Living Hope Adoption Agency – We wanted a Christian agency that did more than simply adoptions. We wanted an agency committed to orphan care in general. We also wanted a small agency where we would be more than just a number. Living Hope had reasonable fees, a commitment to orphan care, a small/family feel, and they were local to us—I knew I’d need some hand holding and want to get to know the people who were helping us build our family.

How old was your adopted child when you brought him/her home?

She was 12 ½ months old when we met her. 13 months old when she came home.

What was the hardest adjustment for your family?

4 kids. That’s a lot of kids. Nights are chaotic here as we try to make sure 4 sets of teeth are brushed, school lunches are made, library books aren’t overdue, etc. etc. That’s where we are now.
Early on, it took some time to get into the groove of our relationship. Lydia attached quickly to Mark and seemed to attach to me some, but preferred her Daddy. It took me some time to feel like she was totally “mine.” And, I think my responses to her impacted her attachment to me. I was prepared—or so I thought—for her to have attachment issues. I was not prepared for my attachment issues.

What surprised you the most about the adoption process?

Two things I think – (1) what my own attachment process would look like and (2) how adoption would totally and utterly change our lives. We will never be the same.

Tell us about your child’s name.  Is there a story or special meaning behind his/her name?

Lydia Mei – Besides being the name of the girl in my dream early on, Lydia is a significant name for our daughter. In the New Testament, Lydia was the first Gentile convert in Europe, the first one grafted into God’s family. Lydia is the first one grafted into our family. Also, it can mean “nobility,” a neat reminder of her standing in our family now. Mei means beautiful in Chinese and was part of her Chinese name as given by the orphanage staff—Mei Yue which means Beautiful Moon.

What has God taught you through adoption?

We have learned so much about what our spiritual adoption means – a fullness of understanding we lacked before. God has used the attachment process alone to reveal so much to me about what it means to learn to be a part of God’s family. And, God has shown me a lot about myself—I’ve had to confront issues in myself through this process that I never would have seen.

How much did your adoption cost?
$30,400 – then we got about $13,000 back with the tax credit.

Did you do any special fundraisers or apply for grants that helped fund your adoption?

No, but we’ve been active with that on this side of the adoption adventure though. I’m doing a lot of fundraising now for our work with The Sparrow Fund and doing what I can to support fundraising families.

Have you been asked any awkward/funny questions or comments that you would like to share?

I’ve had someone look at her and back at me and then ask me if her father is Asian—while my very blonde son was beside me as well.

I’ve had people react to me saying she was from China with statements like, “Oh yeah, they don’t like girls there” or “They get rid of all their girls, don’t they?”

I’ve been out with my clan on several occasions and had people ask me “Are the other ones yours?” One of those people was even a nurse in a doctor’s office two days before we left for China.

What is one thing you would tell someone who is considering adoption?

There’s never just one thing – when someone talks to me about adoption…I get talking. I usually share about how our lives have been changed, what a joy Lydia is, what a pleasure it’s been to watch our whole family change through adoption. I tell them not to let finances stop them. I encourage them to ask questions, read blogs, be bold in talking to adoptive families, go in with your eyes wide open (as much as they can be), surround themselves with a support network for when things are hard either as they wait or when they are home.

Kelly and here husband, Mark, are founders of The Sparrow Fund.   They believe strongly in supporting adoptive families by helping them to enroll in programs so that they can get counsel and medical support as they review referrals and travel to bring their children home.

 If you desire to see ONE MORE child with a forever family and ONE LESS orphan in the world, you can find out how to make a donation here.



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