It's a beautiful, rainy spring morning in Songtan today. We slept with our windows open last night for the first time and it felt great! Our Church has been having 5am prayer services this past week and leading up to Easter - Steve's been going and (apart from the earliness and initially waking up) has been enjoying the time set apart. Caleb is still asleep, "snoring" in his big boy bed. And I'm wrapped in a blanket, catching up on a few emails and researching adoption questions. I thought I would stop by and post something by way of an update.
Yesterday was Steve's day off and we thoroughly enjoyed a day of staying home. It was much needed after an absolute crazy week last week. We started on some much-needed spring cleaning jobs and we spent time catching up and rough housing Caleb.
This week we hope to finalize which country we will adopt from. There are three countries we "qualify" for: Ethiopia, Madagascar and Bulgaria. Although we feel open to any racial/ethnic background, I think the preference we are leaning towards is in that order: Ethiopia being first pick followed by Madgascar and Bulgaria. But there really isn't much of a reason behind it. But since we are open to whatever country, our biggest concern is which of those countries will work with us the easiest (being expats makes our adoption more complicated) and also which of those countries could we adopt the youngest child from. Thus far in our research, it is looking like Bulgaria is the most stable program followed by Ethiopia. We are hoping to skype with the program director in the next few days and finalize which country - will you pray over that decision for us? We are also hoping to pay our $2,000 homestudy fee (if you are interested in helping us raise funds for that please contact us!). We just found out that if we pay it by THIS FRIDAY there is a social worker flying over here from China this spring for a post-adoption homestudy and we could split the cost with the other family, making it cheaper for us.
One thing in adoption that has overwhlemed us for a while is all the many decisions there are to make: country? gender? age? special needs? etc. It's hard to know how to make decisions like that. Will you pray for us in that? As we have talked (and talked and talked and talked) we have come to realize that our top preference leans towards the age of the child. I personally love the first 12 months of life and with Caleb still being young, our biggest hope is for a younger child (peferrably under 12 months). The liklihood of that happening seems small so again, another prayer request! Prayer either for a younger child (under 12 months) OR prayer for open hearts to embrace an older child and the grace to handle some of the added challenges that come with adopting an older child (and by "older" I mean over 12 months - at this time we are working hard to keep our birth order in tact, with Caleb being the oldest).
We have decided to leave the gender of the baby up to the Lord - you can't decide in pregnancy so we aren't going to decide here and that means one less decision to make on our behalf! It is my understanding that once we receive a referral for a child we will then receive the child's information (including girl/boy) and possibly a picture so we will know somewhat in advance but just not making the decision ourselves.
We have done a lot of talking and praying about adopting a "special needs" baby. The thing we have come to realize, as we've researched, is that "special needs" is a very broad term. There are children placed in the special needs category for a wide range of reasons - anything from a withered hand to cleft palate to a facial birth mark to speech impedement to Downs. We have come to realize that we are not in a place financially where we feel we are equipped to take on a huge medical condition. We are also not in a country with great medical care for extreme special needs. Additionally, if we are in Korea for any length of time, there aren't great programs or support groups as there would be in the States and not everything here is handicapped accessible. We are trying to remain open (even though that can be scary) but feel likely at this time we would not be very capable (or have the support) for any big special needs conditions. However, we are going to remain open to less severe cases as they come up and depending on what they entail.
So this week will hold trying to narrow down a country, hopefully paying a $2,000 homestudy bill and making arragements for the homestudy this spring. Also on the calendar: preparing for Easter (we are doing resurrection eggs with Caleb, some special readings and some special activities, we also have an Easter Egg hunt being planned by a friend, a special foot washing service at church and we are hosting a Maundy Thursday gathering on Thursday), Caleb and I are goint to Seoul with some friends on Wednesday, we have a MOPS meeting on Wednesday and a MOMS meeting on Thursday, Steve speaks at ICS chapel Wednesday and who knows what all else he has planned for his work week.
We so value your prayers, encouragement and support during this time. Thank you.
May you have a blessed week preparing for Easter and celebrating the life, death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior.