Today I'm going to give you some info about adopting in general...just in case you want to know...
There are 143 million orphans and waiting children around the world...500,000 in the U.S.(I think..)alone.
A relatively high number of couples consider international adoption, but don't go through with it because of the cost...it costs about the same to adopt domestically as internationally..
There is a tax credit of over $11,000 from the federal government for every completed adoption, domestic or international. That means you get a dollar for dollar tax credit up to $11,000, for any adoption related expenses. There are MANY grants, no-interest loans, fundraising ideas, etc. available to adopting couples to help with costs.
There are reduced fees for those open to adopting a child with some special needs(even mild-moderate ones).
It is FREE(virtually) to adopt from the foster care system...although the process can be difficult and emotional...O.K., this is true for every adoption, just in varying degrees..
So....why did we choose international... Well, it's simple...it is what God placed on my heart.. We considered all options actually, but for us(with 5 children already), the domestic route would have been impossible(approximately 30-40 couples wait for every 1 newborn..most are childless). We considered foster-adoption, but would have to adopt out of birth order and felt that wasn't wise... We really felt the greatest needs were in other countries....where children languish(is that the right word) in poorly run orphanages(very few countries have foster care systems), with little attention, or hope for a family to come for them...where children with special needs are put in mental institutions with little hope for living to the age of 10!! It was something I just couldn't ignore...
So, what is like in Bulgaria?? Well, for the Roma(gypsy) children(over 80% of orphans are Roma), it is pretty hopeless...they are considered no better than dogs by the Bulgarians(although not all feel this way I'm sure). In fact, our program coordinator went to pick up her son several years ago, and while sightseeing, was basically asked by someone why she would adopt a "dog". They are a minority and are not usually adopted by Bulgarians.. Children over 8 are put in orphanages with older kids up to 18..their childhood is pretty much over at that point. It is changing though...the new Ministry of Justice lived in an orphanage till the age of 5, so she understands the plight of these children and is doing a tremendous job in making sure orphanages are better supervised and that adoptions from international adopting families continue!!! We feel blessed to be in this process with her as a leader in our adopting country!!
So, are we on a quest to change the world and make grand social changes to the childcare systems in foreign countries?? Yes, and No....We are following God's commands to care for orphans, and we have chosen to do that through adoption. We could just send money, and that IS GREATLY needed, but what they ultimately need is a family to love them and teach them about Jesus (changing the world...). We are PRAYING for government officials in these countries who are ethical and care about these children, not selling them to the highest bidder...as well as keeping up with important legislation that makes adoption more "friendly"(grand social change..). We are encouraging every Christian family we know to be involved in orphan care, no matter what form that takes(grand social change...). Through all these things, we pray for God to work on their behalf, in mighty ways, and for him to be glorified through us..we are willing to be used...that's all...
Phew!! It's EXHAUSTING to try and explain what's going on in your heart!!!!