We have been asked many questions about our adoption journey, so we wanted to take a moment to address them for you.
- Why are you adopting?
Adoption has been a topic of discussion for Andrew and I since before we were married. We both felt strongly that we would like to add to our family in this manner at some point, and we have discussed the when and how many times over the years. Andrew and I have two wonderful children (and we may have more biologically some day), but we would be privileged to become a family for a child without one. We see adoption as a natural way for Christians to respond to the orphan crisis in our world. We know that adoption is not easy, that it is born of brokenness, and that the reality will be challenging at times. But we also know that adoption will be worth it!
- How did you decide to adopt from Bulgaria?
We decided on Bulgaria for a number of reasons. Each agency that facilitates international adoptions has a set number of countries with whom they partner. Agencies usually have staff members in these countries and they know the adoption process for each country very well. Based on a number of factors such as our family size, our age, the estimated time the adoption will take, our income level, and our desire to adopt a child with Down syndrome, Bulgaria was a good fit for our family.
- Why Down syndrome?
Many people who know me (Diana) know that my background is in special education. During college, I majored in elementary education and special education. I never really had plans to teach long-term, but I really loved my work with children with special needs (though I certainly didn’t love all the paperwork, ha!). In college, I had the privilege of getting to know a young girl with Down syndrome and her family, and she taught me so much. Through getting to know her, I saw a girl who was much more like her peers than she was different from them. She had many of the same interests, likes, and dislikes as other children her age, and I became close friends with her and her family.
Over the few years I taught, I was able to work with many different children with Down syndrome. They were not all the same. Each child had his or her own quirks, strengths, challenges, sense of humor, stubbornness, silliness. Working with each of them blessed me in many ways, and I had a strong desire to some day parent a child with Down syndrome. I didn’t share this idea with many people, but I asked Andrew his opinion when the subject of adoption started coming up more often. At first, he wasn’t really sure what to think, but over time he became really enthusiastic about the idea. We are both very excited to become parents to a child with Down syndrome!
- How long will this process take?
The answer to this can vary quite a bit! The general timeline we have been given is anywhere from 1-3 years. Since we are requesting to adopt a child with special needs, it is likely that the process will be on the shorter end of that estimate. We will try to keep everyone as updated as possible and we appreciate your prayers for us during this process! Our adoption application was approved by our agency on December 17, 2015. I will start a timeline of the process once we have more finished!
- How much does it cost?
This can also vary, but our agency tells us that an adoption from Bulgaria can range from about $25,000-$35,000. At first glance, this is quite a lot of money! When you look at the breakdown of fees involved in international adoption, a large chunk comes from things like travel to country and translation of all of the adoption documents. We will also pay fees to our agency for their work on our behalf compiling our home study, reviewing and sending between the US and Bulgarian governments, offering required parent training courses on adoption, helping us compile all of our documentation, and various other things. Our agency has very reasonable fees, so we are thankful for that! In addition, Bulgaria requires that prospective adoptive parents take two trips to the country, so we will have to pay for two sets of plane tickets.
- How old will your child be? Boy or girl?
We have requested to adopt a child under the age of 3 and we do not have a gender preference. From what we understand, children are typically at least one year old before they are put up for international adoption in Bulgaria.