Top 10 Questions
We are SO excited. While infertility seemed to be a battle field that we fought through privately, adoption has already been an adventure with community. Again, we’re absolutely blown away by the love, support and encouragement we’ve been shown. We’ve also received a bunch of questions, and we wanted to take a few moments and answer them here.
1. Why adoption?
Because this is what God has told us to do plainly in the Bible. Going through the adoption process has been a very powerful reminder of how God has adopted us into His family. And while infertility (something we will speak more about at a later time) definitely caused adoption to rise to the surface more swiftly than we planned, adoption was something we have talked about before. Being a nurse, a paramedic and Young Life leaders...all these things have led us to see how there are needy children in this world and for many who are close to us, it’s probably not a huge surprise that this is where we’ve ended up!
2. Why a private agency?
Why not work with the Department of Children and Families? This is a complex question, because our hearts truly break over the number of children who are currently in foster care and/or waiting to be adopted. Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange estimates that “There are 8,000 children in care with 2,000 with a goal of adoption. Of those children, over 600 do not have an identified match and are waiting for a permanent adoptive family.” Those are heart breaking numbers that should not be ignored.
And while we have a calling on our hearts to foster in the future, we also know with no children of our own, it would be very difficult for us to emotionally face the common scenario of a child going back to their biological family.
Also, adopting an infant directly allows us the chance to grow into parenthood. We could potentially be bringing our son or daughter directly home from the hospital which would be incredibly exciting.
3. Why Bethany Christian Services?
Bethany is nationwide including right here in New England. Bethany focuses on empowering and loving birth mothers. They raise separate funds through outside sources so that they can offer mothers at risk counseling and other resources. They do this unbiasedly, so there is no pressure to give up a baby for adoption, just incentive to get the help they need. Sometimes it’s determined that adoption is the best route for them and their child. Bethany facilitates this whole process. We are looking forward to having not only a relationship with our new baby but also his or her birth mother & birth family.
4. Have you started the adoption process?
Yes! We’ve been trying to grow our family for over 4 years, but we started the adoption process back in September of this year. (September of 2015 if you are reading this years down the road.)
5. What’s the adoption process look like?
We are on the edge of completing the first portion of the process know as our Home Study. It’s been a mountain of paperwork combined with wonderful times of reflection and counseling with our social worker. Once that is complete we will create a photobook that summarizes our life, and our social worker will show this photobook to Bethany’s birth counselors, and they will begin to show it to prospective birth mothers. And we wait for a phone call letting us know that we’ve been picked! The stories our social worker has told us about how God orchestrates these matches has left us so excited for this process!
6. How long will you be waiting?
Once our home study is complete, the waiting period could be any length of time. We’ve been told somewhere between six months to two years, but that there is no way to know for sure how long it will be.
7. What do you know about your child?
Not much yet! Our agency mostly works with birth mothers, so likely he/she will be an infant. We don’t know if it will be a boy or a girl yet. (Who knows, maybe one of each?!) Bethany will begin circulating our photobook around Massachusetts and Rhode Island first, but it’s possible we could be matched anywhere in the US.
8. Why does it cost so much?
Most adoptions range in cost from $17,000-40,000, and often adoptions of the international variety can be more than that. Our agency actually uses a sliding scale based on annual income and thus that is how our $27,000 number exists. These costs include our Home Study (the 4-5 month long process and actual legal document), legal fees, birth mother expenses and social worker salaries.
9. Where will all that money come from?
We’re gonna take a deep cleansing breath before we answer this one. Our first answer is with prayer and faith. Since God has called us to this, He will provide what we need. This doesn’t mean that we don’t need to put in the hard work, along with prayer.
We’ve been saving and scrimping for months already - and somehow it’s actually been a joyful process! We truly believe that driving old cars, eating left overs, selling what we don’t need, cutting all unnecessary expenses, couponing and the like are worth it. Already they have made a huge difference. We’ve also picked up extra hours at our day jobs and have been working hard to serve our photography clients. We plan to continue to fundraise and apply for grants as well.
Following the finalization of our adoption a few things will also help offset costs. One, Caitlin’s employer offers a $8,000 reimbursement upon adoption finalization. Two, there is currently still a substantial tax credit in place that we will be eligible for after adoption finalization.
And as a last resort we’ve taken out a home equity line of credit. We bought our little Cape at the bottom of the market four years ago and through some sweat equity (Fixer Upper reference anyone?!) we’ve been blessed with the ability to access that resource if necessary. This will be especially helpful if the process goes quicker than we expect and we are matched right away - we won’t have to say no to a baby in need!
10. Are you adopting another dog?
This one made us smile. Thank you to the multiple people who asked this! We realize our Christmas card does look like an advertisement for a dog rescue! The answer to this one is easy: nope. We’ve definitely got our eyes on a human this time around. But if we do get Brewster a playmate, you all be sure to know!