Since we have started the process to bring Jackson home, we have been asked many questions about our adoption and adoption in general so I wanted to make a blog post to answer them.
Question from Penny
Do you have more pictures of Jackson? I adore seeing them. how often do they send them? Also, have you raised the money you were needing to for the adoption, or do you have a web page devoted?
Penny, we do have several pictures of him, although, this is not typical because some people only have one or two pictures of their child. I'm pretty sure that we won't get any more pictures of him before we travel because there are no other parents going to his orphanage soon. Typically, when there is a child being adopted from there or if the facilitator is headed to the orphanage for getting new files of children, they will take a new picture.
We need about $25,000 to cover the cost of his adoption. We still have about $18,000 left to fundraise/save. This blog and facebook is where we are doing our fundraising. We also have a link on Reece's Rainbow for tax-deductible donations through them. We will not get any of that money until we have an appointment date in Jackson's country.
Question from Holly
How do they do your homestudy? How much have y'all "spent" already...or how much money has been due so far and for what? In order to meet income requirements, do they (the powers that be) need to see tax returns and how many years back? What steps did you have to complete to be officially committed to Jackson?
I'm not sure if this is typical but our home study seemed very laid back. I think that it had a lot to do with our social worker's personality. She made us feel at ease. She came to our house twice. The first visit was with only Joe and I. She asked us some questions about why we were interested in adopting and we signed several forms. We paid her for the home study ($1400) and scheduled our next visit where she would meet our girls. The whole visit lasted about 1.5 hours.
We have spent about $4,700 so far and ONLY $1,400 has come from our savings. People have been so gracious and kind lifting us up when we needed it. The start-up costs were about $5000 (committment fees, home study, medicals, apostilling (fancy gold stamp that makes the paperwork offical), notarizing) and the rest is spent in-country (flights, facilitator fees, lodging, food, etc).
Yes, you have to have the previous year's tax return. You turn in the front 2 pages- signed and dated, and you get a cover sheet notarized stating that is your real return.
To be offically committed to him, we had to sign and have notarized the committment forms with Reece's Rainbow and send $1275 ($1000 promise trust- shows that we mean business ;) and that comes back to us when we travel as well, $25 to open our Family Sponorship Profile Page, and $250 donation to the Voice of Hope Fund) We also had to be in contract with our social worker so that was other forms to fill out as well as a $150 check. Reece's Rainbow asks that you have that done within 10 days.
Question from Deidra
How do you compare awaiting the arrival of an adopted child to awaiting the arrival of a child in the womb?
There are many ways that it *is* like a pregnancy. I've actually had some weird cravings during this process (corn with hot sauce anyone?), but with adoption, there is a whole lot of hurry up and wait. In pregnancy, you have a typical timeframe which is somewhere between 8-10 months. In adoption, you are at the mercy of many other people, many who you will never see or meet in your lifetime, who have to all somehow work together with you to get the job done. I may never meet or even speak to the person who puts the gold apostilles on our paperwork which is the last step before we send said paperwork to Jackson's country. I can pray that she doesn't accidently spill her coffee on them and that she gets the job done in a timely manner but it's out of my hands. In pregnancy, you can kind of let the doctor know what you are comfortable with. If you choose not to do certain prenatal testing or choose not to find out the gender before the baby is born, or choose not to have an epidural, then that is your choice. The doctor can recommend for you to do these things, but you don't have to do them. For an adoption, there really isn't a list of things that you choose or don't choose to do, rather, there is a list of things that you simply MUST accomplish in order to get your child home. When I was pregnant, MY belly grew. Now, that we're adopting, Joe's belly is growing... (*just wanted to throw some humor in there...Don't kill me!)
Question from Melina
How are you preparing the girls for your new arrival?
It's kind of funny. There was no real 'You're going to have a brother! We are adopting!' moment. If anyone knows me, you know that this isn't really a surprise that we are adopting. At first, Joe and I decided that we weren't going to tell the girls that we were adopting until after the first visit with our social worker, just in case. A couple days before our visit, Aislinn was holding a picture of our boy and said "Mom, can we pleaaasssse adopt Darren?" I said, "Do you really want him to be your brother?" and she of course said yes. I told her that we were adopting him and she jumped up and down and ran to Tristen's room to tell her. Tristen said really loudly, "FINALLY! What took Daddy so long?!?!" They are both really excited. When I show his picture to Linden and say, "Who is that," she says "JackTHon" with her little lisp.