1. Are any of the kids you are adopting siblings?
I get this one ALOT. I'm not sure if it is because they look so much like my kids, so it makes people think that they look like each other, or if folks just assume that the ONLY reason someone would adopt 3 kids at once is if they were siblings(because who in their right mind would split up siblings?!). The answer is "NO", Parker, Daniel, and Josslyn are not siblings....yet! They do all live in the same orphanage though. The kiddos in the orphange are divided up in groupas, based on age, handicap(or lack of), etc. Parker, Daniel, and Josslyn are in 3 different groupas. While I am sure that they have seen each other in passing, I doubt that they know each other. Sometimes I giggle when I think that they are future siblings and they don't even know if yet!
2. Why are Daniel, Parker, and Josslyn orphans?
We don't know much about the kids medical or personal history. I am hoping that we find out more about them while we are in country for their adoptions, but this is too terribly likely. Right now we can just make assumptions as to why they are orphans. Most likely Daniel was abandoned at birth or shortly after. In EE physical and mental hadicaps have a strong stima attached to them. Very few parents choose to raise a child that is born with a physical or mental handicap. Most likely, Daniel was abandoned by his birth parents when they learned that he had Down syndrome. It is very possible that his birth parents are married, have other children whom they are raising, and are financially stable. It is also possible that they didn't necessarily want to give Daniel up for adoption(although they very well may have), it is just that the stigma of raising a child with DS is so strong that they may not have felt that they have a choice. Very very sad. It is heartbreaking that they are missing out on the incredible blessing of having a child with Down syndrome.
Parker and Josslyn most likely have a bit of a different story. A large percentage of women in EE that have HIV do not know it until they go to the hospital to give birth to a child. They types of women(and girls) who are participating in the behaviors that transmit HIV(sharing needles and participating in promiscuous sex), do not usually take the inititive to get tested for HIV. The reason that they don't get tested is because if it became known that they have HIV then they would be unable to get a job and would basically be shunned. I guess for them, not knowing is better than knowing. So, for many women, they first time they hear that they have HIV is when they go to the hospital to have a child. Most of these women have not received prenatal care and have a high likelyhood of having used drugs and alcohol during their pregnancy. Many of these women abandon their babies at the hospital when they learn that they are HIV+. They automatically assume that the child will be HIV+ also. Many times this is not the case, but for some children it is.
Both of these senarios are just our best guesses. That is the norm for how things play out for kiddos like Daniel, Parker, and Josslyn, but like I said, it is just a guess. I would love to know more about their story, if possible, but I am ok with not knowing. My perfect senario would be to be able to have contact with their birth mothers and to continue that contact for the rest of our lives. Even if we don't have that chance, we will be praying for the kid's birth mothers, for their salvation and healing from what I am sure is a deep wound to them.(choosing to give their child up for adoption).
3. Do the kids speak english?
No, not at all. (Although, "mama" is "mama" in Russian, and "Daddy" is "Papa" is Russian, so we're good there. :)) No, the kids don't speak english, and we don't speak Russian. We are trying to learn a few basic words and phrases, but Russian is not exactly the easier language to learn. We have been told(from others who have adopted from foreign countries) that the kids usually pick up english very quickly. I'm sure that things will be rough in the communication department for a while, but it will all work itself out. We plan on teaching some sign language for some of the basics right off the bat, and then figuring the rest out as we go. My dad's masters degree is in Medival Russian History and he used to speak fluent Russian. He has lost alot of it but I may be calling him over to translate if we get desperate. My hope is that the kids will not lose all of their native language. I would love for them to keep it up. It is a part of who they are and I would be sad if they completely lost it.
4. How long are you going to be gone when you travel for your adoption?
2 1/2-3 weeks for the first trip. Around 2 weeks for the second trip. Our 2 trips will be about 10 days apart.
5. Why do you have to be gone for so long and why do you have to make two trips?
The short answer to that is, "that is just the way they do things over there", but I know that doesn't really explain much. Timeline will look roughly like this: 1st trip: SDA appointment, travel to the kid's region, meet kids, have "bonding time" and "officially" chose to adopt them, paperwork paperwork paperwork, courtdate. After our courtdate there is a ten day waiting period. Some families choose to stay during the waiting period, thus making is one loooooong trip. We are coming home during the 10 day wait. Trip 2:paperwork, get kid's passports, visas, and have their in country medical exams done. COME HOME!!!
Different countries do this process in many different ways, that is why you have different travel lengths for adoptions from other countries.
6. When are you going to be making you first trip?
Boy, do I wish I knew the answer to that one!! Our best guess is mid to late March. It is possible that it could be anywhere from the end of Feb(not likely at all) to sometime in June! As long as their isn't any problems with our dossier once it gets to EE, then most likely we will travel mid to late March. That would put is getting home with the kiddos in mid to late April. Of course, all that is just an educated guess.
I'm going to stop for now because I need to finish getting ready for co-op tomorrow. I am sure that there will be more Q and A posts in the future. Remember, if you have any questions that you would like me to answer privately, or in a future Q and A post, then email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a wonderful evening!