To be honest…
…we are doing so much better than I thought we would be at this point in time. Before we traveled to China, if you had asked me where I hoped we would be 6 months after returning home with CaiQun, I would have described something like this. And that is glorious. For real. Praise God. It’s amazing.
And it raises a whole different set of questions than the ones I thought we’d be facing right now.
First and foremost in my mind has been this one – to go back to China and adopt another child soon or not?
In adopting from China, there is a program through which you can adopt a second child with a copy of your original dossier (with a few very minor updates). However, you have to do it quickly. Our updates to our dossier would have to be received and acknowledged in China by the anniversary of the date of our adoption of Madeleine CaiQun. And we’d only be eligible through this program to adopt certain children, ones China considers hard to place.
There has been a little girl on our agency’s waiting child page that I was so drawn to. I have been trying to stay away from that page. It’s full of children available for adoption right now. Talk about heart-wrenching. But someone posted a link to this girl’s profile, and I clicked on it, and there she was, and that night, I was talking with Matt about the possibility of our going back. For many of the children listed on that page, you don’t even have to have any paperwork at all completed in order to begin the process of adopting them. And no one is coming for them. These are precious little souls who need families – children who need a mom and a dad to tuck them in at night, to read them bedtime stories, to feed them, to love them. And they are alone.
To be honest, there are several reasons that it has been hard for me to write about our visit to CaiQun’s orphanage. You may recall that I said virtually nothing about it on the day of our visit. I could tell you about the standards of cleanliness, the number of children per room (or per crib). I could tell you about the temperature in the rooms the kids occupy. I could tell you about the size of the playroom and the number of toys it housed. I could offer my informed guesses about the staff-to-child ratios and the amount of food the children get. But does any of that matter? It’s an orphanage. The children there do not have families. And that’s what stands out to me from our visit to the orphanage. It was filled with souls of children who are unknown, unclaimed, and alone in the world. Would that somehow be okay if they had enough food to eat and educational toys with which to occupy their time?
And so, I dream of returning.
But my car is at its capacity – we need a minivan before we can add any more children to our family. And we’re pretty broke. Even our emergency savings fund all went toward adoption travel expenses.
But we have enough food to eat. And we have love to go around. And we have an extra bed and room for more.
And I have a retirement account we could empty to get some funds. And we’ll have an adoption tax credit coming next year. And the costs to adopt on a re-used dossier are thousands of dollars less than those for starting an adoption from scratch. And God provided the entirety of what we needed to pay all the costs associated with CaiQun’s adoption, so do I really doubt His ability to provide again?
The little girl who captured my heart has been matched with a family, and I am rejoicing. But there are more kiddos who need families.
To be honest, though, we’re not certain this is the right time in our lives, even if we had the financial resources. We know we’ll be adopting again, we’re just not sure when. If we re-used our dossier, given the timeframe, we’d almost definitely be adding a 3rd child under 4 years of age. Is that wise? Can I handle the days at home alone with 3 kiddos under the age of 4, doing home-school pre-school with one starting this fall, continuing to work a few hours a week, and obviously wanting to care for all of my children well? Can Matt handle the evenings and weekends with us and still have time and energy for being in the studio, for contemplation of deep ideas, for being an artist? Would we be cultivating a good dynamic with our kids to have so many so close in age? Do we want to have another biological child someday? If so, when, and how does that play into adoption decisions? How many kids do we want to have? How many can we really parent well?
And how many of those things really matter in the face of millions of kids alone in our world today and needing families?
To be honest, those are the questions I am pondering these days.