Adoption: Our littlest daughters

Part 2 | Part 3

Way back when we first began discussing adoption, the picture in our heads was of a little girl from China. As we learned more about adoption, we realized that Korea was a better fit for our family at the time for all sorts of reasons, including Korea’s lower family income requirement and shorter adoption trip. We were delighted with the little boys who came to us from Korea. But after that, knee deep in raising little boys (four altogether), John and I both found ourselves wondering if there might be more little girls in our future.

In 2003, 3 years after our 6th child came home, we began to talk seriously about adopting another little girl — maybe even two, especially since we already had the pairs thing going at our house. Our first two biological kids were girls, then we gave birth to two boys, and then adopted two boys. We really liked the fact that each of our kids had a same-sex similar-age sibling.

The idea of adopting two little girls because even stronger in our heads when we realized that (due to our large family) we would not be allowed to adopt from Korea again. We investigated adopting an African American newborn, and we knew from past experience that we wanted our child to have a sibling who looked like her. But for now, we would just see what happened with one more child.

We updated our homestudy and pulled together a photo album to go with our ‘birthmother letter’. Right from the start, I found the birthmother letter to be difficult. It felt like we were trying to coax a baby from someone: showing our most picture-perfect side so that a woman in difficult circumstances would decide we were more fit to parent her baby than she. But that’s what you’re required to do, so we did it.

Our social worker said we’d probably be matched to a birth mom within 3 months. We pulled out the baby girl clothes and waited eagerly. Six months went by. Nothing. We began to wonder if we were on the right path. In August we heard of a baby girl in Ethiopia who was born missing her right hand. Since we already had one child with a limb anomoly, she caught our attention. We called her agency, Adoption Advocates International, and found out that there was a family interested in her, but if they backed out, we would be considered.

We did more research about Ethiopian adoption, and asked our social worker to update our homestudy for an international adoption. Within a couple weeks we found out that the Ethiopian baby had indeed been taken by the first family. By then, Ethiopia had caught our hearts. We decided to go ahead and be put on the list to adopt a baby from Ethiopia. And after talking things through with our social worker, we decided to also stay on the domestic adoption list just in case something happened there.

Both the domestic and the international agencies were okay with us going ahead with two adoptions at the same time if that turned out to work out–maybe we’d get our two little girls the same year. By then we were getting discouraged with the domestic route, and were starting to doubt it would work for us. But it didn’t cost any more to stick with it awhile longer, just to see what would happen.

By October, we had the referral of a beautiful little one year old girl from Ethiopia. (Ethiopian adoptions were going much faster back then!) Most of the pictures showed a stern-faced little girl– we worried that she was an unhappy baby. We were delighted when finally someone sent a picture of her smiling with a caregiver. Ironically, she turned out to be an optimistic, resilient and joyful little girl –just not too fond of orphanage life, I think!

In November we were notified that a birthmom in the US had finally chosen us. She was due at Christmas time. If everything worked out, we could have a newborn at Christmas time, then go to adopt our little girl from Ethiopia just a couple months later.

Other related posts
Adoption: The first time
Adoption: Our second son
Adoption: How we afforded it

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  1. aahhhhh! don’t leave us hanging! 🙂

  2. I love reading your story but am biting at the bit to hear the rest!
    How in the world did you get 2 adoption agencies to allow you to have open cases? We have tried that for years. I shouldn’t say how in the world because it is so obviously God! Wow. Stop making dinner and finish the story. 🙂

  3. I am loving this series! Can’t wait to here more….

  4. WOW, talk about a time, a reason and a season for everything. It just all falls into place for you alla nd I am so happy to be reading your story about it all. Look forward to the next installment.

  5. Thanks for sharing your journey. We are in the process of trying to adopt a sibling group of 4 (making us a house with 7 daughters). I enjoy reading about your family and adopting.


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