I have mentioned a while back that our intention is to adopt a young sibling group from Ethiopia. We also mentioned in our Christmas letter this year that we are hoping to begin this process in the next year. Occasionally, people will ask me where we are in the adoption process. Here's the answer...
We are committed to being debt-free (except for our home) before adopting again. Additionally, we are committed to paying cash for our adoption (and hopefully we can get a grant or two!). We learned this the hard way through our first adoption.
Every agency will encourage prospective adoptive parents that they can partially fund their adoption with the adoption tax credit you get after your adoption is finalized. We had this in mind when we borrowed a portion of the money to adopt - thinking we would simply pay off the balance and more in less than a year. We were in for a surprise when we realized the way the tax credit works: you can only get a credit for as much as you actually owe in taxes for the current year. We don't owe a ton each year since Jonathan has certain tax benefits from being a pastor. We will be lucky if we even get close to the full tax credit amount after the 5 year carry over period. I write out these details for those reading who are considering adopting. I don't want you to misunderstand like we did! Anyhow, we are making great strides with debt, but we are not willing to go that route again!
I have to be honest and say that this is bittersweet for me. I have struggles every so many months. I desire for another baby in the house. I desire for Josiah to have playmates (he loves other kids so much right now!). I become impatient. I start to deceive myself into thinking we should just go ahead and figure out the money later.
Few people understand the dynamics of patience and waiting in parenting through adoption. There is the waiting to finance the adoption. There is waiting to complete administrative details. There is waiting for a match or referral. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. I think the typical expectancy period is 2 years in total. I have a friend in the process who is struggling with trusting God for the right situation/child for her family and the desire to add to her family as soon as possible. I read a great post about waiting on this blog of a family in the process of adopting from Ethiopia. It was interesting to read the perspective of someone who has experienced pregnancy and now the adoption waiting game.
A cool thing happens, however, when I truly try to trust God in this. He speaks to me. He encourages me. It usually comes in the most unexpected ways too! Today - it came through Dave Ramsey. LOL. Crazy, I know.
Jonathan and I were previewing a video he was planning to use at Catalyst Sunday to encourage people to reverse-engineer their finances. Most of the message was typical "Davisms" that I have heard before (but still find motivating). One of Ramsey's main points in managing your money is so that you can be freed up to give and be a blessing to others. He ended this point with a video vignette. It highlighted a family who was working very hard to pay off debt. They joked with acquaintences from church that they wanted to buy a trampoline for their kids, but their true desire was to adopt. They had committed to being debt-free before they adopted.
There were some ironic providential parallels between them and us. The guy is a pastor for one thing. The story unfolded as they described how these virtual strangers from their church showed up at their door and handed them a check in the amount of their remaining debt so they could be freed up to adopt! I have to be honest and say I was bawling by this point of the video! This only increased when they showed videos of the daughter they adopted and shared how she was conceived around the same time they received that check. Amazing!
I found this snippet so encouraging and moving. I don't expect someone to show up at my door with a $10,000 check. God often teaches us much more when we work towards things the hard way rather than having it handed to us. I was encouraged because in that moment, God reassured me. We are on the right path. We are honoring Him with our decision making. He will sustain us and provide in His perfect timing. He may choose to work some miracle so that it is sooner. He may allow us to grow in character and wait 2-3 years. Either way - He is working out a perfect plan for our family.
So, that's the update! We certainly welcome prayers as we travel this journey.