Thanks for sending me all your questions! As it turns out, they were mostly the same questions we got asked at our breakfast. (If you're new to our journey, you'll want to check out this post first.) Here are the top 4 FAQs:
1. How did you decide on international adoption?
When I pictured adopting, it was always internationally. I want to be careful how I explain this because I do not want to make one form of adoption sound better than another, but I think it had something to do with "felt needs" vs. "real needs."
Felt needs are needs that are readily apparent to an observer; needs you know are out there... needs you feel. Felt needs may or may not be real needs.
Real needs are just that- needs that truly exist. They may or may not be apparent or recognized. And they may or may not be felt needs. Both domestic and international adoption are real needs, but for me only international adoption met the "felt need" category. Whether this was from ignorance or divine leading, I don't know. But that's why we started our adoption research with international adoption.
We were initially a bit discouraged to find out that 1) we were too young to adopt from a few of the countries that interested us and 2) other countries that interested us were "unstable" with respect to their adoptions.
After that discouragement, we researched domestic adoption and foster-to-adopt. Foster-to-adopt wasn't a good fit for us because of the uncertainty involved. I was hesitant to consider domestic infant adoption, but John wanted to at least explore the idea, so we did. When we researched domestic infant adoption we learned that there is a need for adoptive parents for African American babies. That greatly interested us and I did some reading on becoming an interracial family, which also excited me. My heart is still very much open to this option in the future, but before we fully committed to this route, we saw our little guy's picture and God led us to Russia! Which leads me to...
2. How did you decide on Russia?
The short answer is: we didn't choose Russia as much as Russia chose us! Some countries and agencies post pictures and biographies of children online called waiting children lists. These lists often have older (non-infant, like in our case) children or children with medical or special needs. For privacy's sake, I'm not going to say exactly how we got to this waiting child list or which one it was, but suffice is to say- when you get into the online adoption world, these things have a way of finding you. One email leads to another, one site to a blog to another blog etc. When we saw our little guy's picture, we knew we wanted to at least pursue his adoption as far as we could and leave the rest in God's hands.
Of course our first step was just to see if we met the criteria to adopt from Russia- which we did. And then we wanted to see how stable to adoptive program was. It was fairly stable. Actually 10% of international adoptions in the US are Russia-US adoption. We also know a family who adopted from Russia so that encouraged us. The only thing that made us hesitate slightly was the fact that we had to travel twice. We were really hoping that we'd only have to travel once.
It's been over 5 months since we saw our little guy's face and now not only have the travel requirements changed (we have to travel three times now!), but there is a suspension on Russian adoptions. We keep praying and moving forward, trusting that God's grace will meet us where he leads us. And remembering how we started: pursuing this adoption as far as we are able and leaving the rest in God's hands.
3. What do you think about this whole Russia/US adoption suspension etc.?
Obviously I hate the fact that it has the potential to slow our adoption down. It makes me very anxious to think we might not get to our son. I try not to think about it unless I'm praying about it... and even then I get a big knot in my stomach.
At the same time, I would love to see Russia implement a foster care system that would allow Russian children to find safe, caring homes without leaving the country.
So basically I would love to see Russia close to adoptions if it could happen without negatively impacting the children. Right now if they closed their doors I hate to think what would happen to all those children waiting for families.
4. When are you bringing your little guy home?
We wish we knew the answer to this question too! We simply do not know. We hope the answer is measured in months. If the suspension does not resolve soon, it could be longer. At this point we'd only be guessing to give you a time frame. We'll keep you posted as we learn more!
Thanks again for all your questions and keep them coming! We want to be as transparent as possible in order to help others who are considering adoption themselves. It is the best journey you'll ever wish was over fast. ;-)