Ok, I realize that for two days I've written nothing about the adoption and that there have been questions of what and how and who and all that good stuff, so here's my attempt at the answers that those that see me in "real life" have asked.
Q: Will you/ can you still adopt Aleksa?
A: We think so. To be honest there's a bigger chance that we can't now than there was at the beginning, but since it's all up to God anyway, no need to worry. We're planning on bringing Aleksa home :)
Q: When do you think you'll travel?
A: As soon as possible! Really, we know our earliest travel will be 2008, we just don't know when. The government shuts down for several weeks for holidays in December/Jan, so even getting our paperwork in quickly we won't go until next year.
Q: Why is it such a bad thing that Aleksa was transferred if you can still get her?
A: The institutions overseas are not just "children's homes" where the kids are in groups under a few caretakers. When one orphanage worker was asked how her children fared once they had been transferred to the institution she replied "I don't know, none are living anymore". Most children are seriously ill within months of arriving at the institutions. Some institutions bury up to 30 children PER MONTH. Conditions that exist for children in these places would not be seen as acceptable for dogs here in the US. It's not a matter of whether she's around typical kids or other children with disabilities or even whether she's playing and getting interaction with adults. It's whether she's being fed, bathed, allowed to use a toilet facility, whether she's bound, ill, cold, or any other number of things.
Q: How much does it cost to adopt?
A: Ok, so I hedge this one a lot of the time. Here's a few reasons why: There are so many different options for adoption including domestic and international and then so many different countries. Every place is different and even two adoptions within the same country could vary by several thousand dollars. So really there is something for everyone. If you're interested in adopting then there's somewhere you can adopt from that will fit your ability to pay. And God is bigger than the grand ole dollar sign, so even if you don't think you could do a more expensive route you might just find out differently. If you're not interested in adopting but just want to know what the cost is for us to bring Aleksa home than I will say that it is very expensive, yet less than some adoptions. About the same as our annual salary our first year of marriage. And it's worth EVERY SINGLE PENNY.
Q: Why did you decide to do an international adoption and not adopt one of the kids available here in the US?
A: This seems to be the 'doozy'. The one noone wants to answer and yet it's asked all the time. Here's my stab at making sense :) We originally weren't sure what we were going to do. We thought that international adoption was way out of our league (surprise, it *IS*, but not out of God's!) financially, but I opened a conversation line with Andrea at Reece's Rainbow anyway. After looking at a few available kids world wide Mike and I had a conversation that revealed a few important things for us. 1) we definitely wanted to (and felt called to) pursue a child with special needs... Down syndrome if possible. 2) there aren't many kids with Ds in US foster care (interesting, isn't it?) 3) there are children around the world that need homes, but a LOT of kids with Ds in other countries that are available. 4)kids in the US even in foster care are always treated humanely (ok, ALMOST always... but the gov't at least says it's supposed to be humane). 5) kids overseas are often neglected and have no hope for a future, especially kids with disailities 6) children as young as 4 are put into mental institutions overseas and often die by age 10 because of the conditions of their care.
So we quickly realized that adopting a child with Ds from a counry where the child faces a VERY early death was what we wanted to look at. Not just looking for another child for our family- although that is a big part of it too- but looking for a child that would likely not survive if we didn't step in. And no, we didn't want a hero mission. We wanted a rescue. These kids are my heroes.
It's late, and I'm tired, so I hope this has helped those of you that have had the question and haven't asked or asked the question and didn't get an answer. I'll try to answer some of the others another day. Feel free to e-mail me questions or post them here. I'd be happy to answer whatevr I can. firstname.lastname@example.org