Around 2 years ago, Aaron and I decided to adopt again from Ethiopia. We went ahead and got our home study updated. We went ahead and got USCIS approved. We had just bought a house and got a great deal, we were on our way to getting our debt paid off from the last adoption. (we were debt free except our other house when we started the boys' adoptions).
We bought a large van, thinking we would pay it off quickly. This was before we went into major budget mode. Then our house required some major mandatory repairs. New hot water heater, repaired upstairs AC, and a hole in the ceiling where it leaked the day after we moved in, completely new AC downstairs, septic tank fixed, pipe leading to septic tank from house with tree roots in it replaced, new pipes in basement because old ones were leaking. Just a large large mess. And our debt seemed to skyrocket overnight. And my wise Aaron realized that we would not be able to afford new adoption payments in addition to all the house repairs, old adoption loans, etc, without me working fulltime or more.
We decided to get out of debt again before starting. Which means that our home study expired, our USCIS expired and we worked like crazy the last 1.5+ yrs. (and still are)
Due to the extreme slow down and uncertainty of Ethiopian adoptions, while paying off the debt, we decided to start looking at other countries which we qualified for. Let me tell you, it was not an easy decision to leave Ethiopia. You tend to fall in love with your children's birth country.
We have been following waiting children in China through our new adoption agency. A few little girls caught our eyes, but they weren't "officially" available yet. The agency hadn't received the children's updated full file.
Fast forward to last Wed. The agency worker posted that one of the little girl's file was ready. I emailed her and told her I wanted to look at it. She said she had already sent it to another family, so it might be too late. I told her to send it to me anyway, and I could be praying she gets a family, whether or not it was us.. So she did. What a doll baby this little girl is.
I was under the impression that we would have 3 weeks to decide, so let the praying start. Such a hard decision to select your child. Or not to select another, which is even harder.
Then came the even more stressful part, the agency worker let me know that they actually should have already sent her file back to China, but because of Chinese New Year, they had it a few extra days. So, we only had about 36 hrs to make a decision.
Long story short, and a lot of details left out, we decided to turn in a Letter Of Intent for this little 4 year old girl. We both have had peace since making the decision to go forward with this little girl. Thankfully, our home school coop was cancelled Friday due to weather, and I had all morning to fill out paperwork and meet the insane deadline.
Once we get "preapproval" from China, which should be the first week in March, I will post a picture of this sweet little girl.
We had the $250 agency application fee in the bank, but we are not planning on moving forward with our new home study until we get our debt paid off. That is a commitment we made so long ago that we want to honor. We are praying that with grants and fundraising and Aaron and I working as many hours as our jobs will let us, we will go through this adoption without accumulating any debt. The total adoption will most likely cost around $30,000.
Our agency estimates that once we get our home study done and dossier turned in, we should be able to travel to China within 6 months to pick her up. We have 6 months to complete our home study and dossier. So the longest this should take is 12 months! Hopefully sooner than that, but that requires lots of fundraising and fast. I am going to post little goals as money is due, so watch our blog to see our progress and watch how God provides!