So where do we go from here? We pushed that conversation aside as long as we could, until we eventually had no choice but to lay out our options and come up with a plan.
The short answer: we will not be moving forward with another adoption anytime in the near future.
The longer explanation: We felt comfortable adopting Jack. There is always some level of risk in adoption. Children growing up in orphanages have been hurt, and they carry those scars with them forever. We were very fortunate to have so much personal information about Jack. Of course we had to prepare for the worst case scenario- or rather I should say, the situation that would pose the largest challenge to us as first-time parents. For us, that would have been RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder). We were learning all we could about the disorder for the just in case, but knew that it would be EXTREMELY unlikely that Jack would come to us with RAD. He had made secure attachments in his life, he was kind to people and animals alike, and possessed a laundry list of attributes that made us feel comfortable committing to becoming his parents, forever. As one of my friends put it (but in reference to her own child), this was a very ‘Jack specific’ journey.
We know we want to adopt a child that is otherwise unlikely to find a family. We have spent an insane amount of money and time on the adoption process. We’ve also raised a great deal of money that a ton of kind folks donated in good faith, to help Jack. Our paperwork is still current and can be transferred to another child for a small-ish fee, and all of the donated money is sitting in it’s account. Now that Little G is in the picture, the timing was certainly a bit off to start a brand new adoption- BUT we desperately did not want all our time, money, paperwork, donated funds to go to waste when we know that adoption is 100% something we want to do at some point. So, we tried to push forward. I researched the adoption process in a million different countries. Even the obscure ones like Azerbaijan (bet you don’t know where that is!) When we narrowed it down to the short list of countries that we could logistically adopt from, I started looking at the children that were waiting for homes. Which, side-note, sounds so stupid to me when there are waiting lists years and years long of people looking for the ‘perfect baby’ to adopt in Every. Single. Country. Talk about setting yourself up for major disappointment. Waiting 8 years for the ‘perfect’ child to become available- when there is no such thing as the perfect child.
We feel passionate about adopting a child that missed the boat for a family, based on their age. Without much searching, the file of a beautiful girl in India practically fell in my lap. Her special need was a problem with her leg that would possibly require an amputation. Um, talk about right up our alley! She was waiting 9 years for a family to choose her, and ironically another family jumped forward to commit to her before we could even sign our names on the paperwork. Then we found an older girl in Ukraine. I was slightly apprehensive because there wasn’t much information on her, and I couldn’t find any adoptive families that had met her- but we took the leap anyways. During the gathering paperwork phase, it was found that she has a 14 or 15 year old brother that she must be adopted with. Rats, we definitely aren’t prepared to adopt 2 teenagers. The door kept getting shut in our face. Meanwhile, in our non-adoption lives, we were experiencing a change of pace. Justin had been working 70 hours a week to ensure that we were funding as much of Jack’s adoption ourselves as possible (and because he is just generally a workaholic- can’t blame it all on he adoption). Once Little G was born, Justin cut his hours way wayyyyyy back to spend some much needed family time with us. Great for us, not great for funding an adoption. The short of it is, we are going to revisit adoption again in a couple of years. It’s what makes the most sense. I will keep my eyes open for the next child that other adoptive families have spent time with that steals my heart. The more we know about a child, the more comfortable we will feel committing to being his/her parents.
We don’t feel right letting all the donated money hang around until we resume the adoption process. 1. Selfishly, it makes me feel pressured to jump into another adoption when we really just aren’t ready. Like the money is burning a hole in my pocket. 2. There are kids living in crappy orphanages (and good ones too, but no orphanage is nearly as good as a family) and the only thing keeping them from their adoptive parents is money. This money should be used to bring kids home now, that is what it was donated for in the first place. We decided to split up the funds 7 different ways and gift them to children waiting to be chosen and to families currently in the adoption process that are doing everything possible to get their children home as fast as they can. I will write a separate post later in the week, explaining exactly who the people are that the funds will be benefiting.
While I was searching waiting children all over the world I came across this dude. He looks so much like our Little G, I had to find out more. He is, unfortunately for him, in Russia. He actually lives in the same exact baby house that Jack grew up in. There is a group of advocates in Moscow that are very successful in finding adoptive families for children in Jack’s city. They are actually the reason that Jack was noticed in the first place. If they could get a 13 year old boy with a health condition adopted in Russia, then they are pretty good at their job. What we call ‘advocating’ they call ‘public relations’, hehe. They plaster these kid’s stories all over the place. Except, I noticed that this is the only little boy in the entire baby house that they haven’t so much as even written a single blog post about. How sad, he is invisible. I asked them why. The paraphrased version is that Russians take kids that look like them. They wouldn’t take an ethnic minority, so there was really no point in even advocating for him. Being Asian is his downfall, practically a curse! What the heck? It makes me look at Little G and have nightmare daydreams that it could be him in that situation. This kid isn’t even being seen! How can his parents ever come forward if they can’t even see that he exists?!
Now, I know Jack had fans all over the world. Literally. If you live in a country that is still allowed to adopt from Russia, I am begging you to do the job of the advocates and plaster his face everywhere. He lives in the best baby house anyone could hope for. I know quite a few parents that have adopted from this particular orphanage who’s kids are all well-adjusted. I’m sure they would be happy to talk to you about their experience if you are seriously considering making this gorgeous boy your son. Most of you probably remember the video of the little boy that I posted about 6 months ago. Spreading his story got him adopted. His new parents have already flown to his country and met him, and he should arrive home around Christmas. Sharing these kid’s faces and stories works- so lets share this boy all over the world! Please do it so I don’t need to figure out how to relocate my entire family to Russia, become a family of Russian citizens, and then try and defect back to the US. You don’t want that for us.
Watch out, you’re about to die from the cuteness.