Sunday, December 13, 2015

Adoption FAQs

So, what’s going on with the adoption? 
So much! We’ve been provisionally matched with a little girl (!!!) from China, so we’re working on assembling our Dossier to send off to China ASAP.

Wait, weren’t y’all adopting from Hong Kong? Is that the same program? 
Yes, we were and no, it isn’t. We decided to switch programs. After spending some time (about a year!) pursuing adopting a child from Hong Kong, it became apparent that there are many families who want to adopt from Hong Kong, and there just aren’t many children available in that program. This is partly because Hong Kong, unlike China, doesn’t place restrictions on how many children a family can have, and Hong Kong also has a robust domestic adoption program (people from Hong Kong adopting children locally), which is a wonderful thing but means that the Hong Kong international adoption program is by definition pretty small. It didn’t make sense to us to wait in line for a child while at the same time there are children in other programs who are waiting in line for families. This is the decision that was right for us and by no means should it reflect a criticism of anyone who chooses to adopt from Hong Kong.

Tell me more about this little girl! 
She is darling! She’s two and a half, about 4 and a half months younger than our youngest son. She is in an orphanage, but everything we read about her mentions how bright she is and how she’s right on track, developmentally speaking. This is pretty unusual for a child who has been raised in an orphanage, so we think that she must be getting really good care. We are praying that she is in a loving, safe environment, and that she has Christians who are shining God’s light and love into her life. Her special need is that she has a congenital giant nevus, which a large, black birthmark covering her neck and shoulders. Although she will need some medical care and monitoring, we feel like this is a very doable special need. You can read more about congenital nevus here.

So what is the process going to look like? 
Right now we’re collecting (a lot of) forms and certificates for our Dossier. When we finish that, which should take between 2  and 4 weeks, we send it off to China. China reviews this and then sends us a “Letter of Acceptance,” which is we sign and send back to confirm yes, we want to adopt this child. This process can take between a few weeks and a few months. Then we submit a I-800A form to Homeland Security. Once we get approval, we’ll be able to apply for her immigrant visa. Approval of her visa is called Article 5. After we get Article 5, we’ll be waiting for our Travel Invitation, which is the date that we actually go get her. When that happens, we will be in China for between 2 and 3 weeks. We will complete the adoption in China, so when we come back home, she’s ours forever! This whole process will take between 6 months and a year. Please pray that everything goes as efficiently as possible, that we are diligent in completing the work on our end quickly and that the wheels of bureaucracy would glide smoothly.

How much is all of this going to cost? 
Gulp. A lot. The cost for the adoption is approximately $36,000, with some flexibility on either side. There are several factors that affect the final number. Some of our fees are paid in China, so the strength of the US dollar vs the Chinese yuan will affect our costs. Also this number includes our travel expenses, so the time of year will affect how much flights and hotels cost. We have already paid $5,005 of this, leaving $30,995 left to raise. The exciting news is that we have a matching donor, who has promised to match what we raise up to $13,000! So every $1 you donate becomes $2!

How can I help? 
You can pray! Pray for us to be able to raise the funds we need, pray for the process to go swiftly, pray for the well-being of our little girl across the world. Pray for us as we prepare for her, and pray for our boys, that they would love her before she even comes home.

 You can give money! We need to raise about $31,000 overall, but our immediate goal is to raise $5,400 in the next month. We have to have this money to send off our Dossier, so if we don’t raise this in time, it will delay the whole process. Because of our matching donor, we actually just need $2,700! You can give money by sending a check to:

Bethany Christian Services
930 McCallie Avenue
Chattanooga, TN 37403

The check should be made out to Bethany Christian Services, with “Matthew and Libby Fenn’s adoption” on the memo line. We are still working on ways to donate online, and we’ll update this information as soon as we have good options. Another way to support our adoption is by buying a scarf. We are selling braided infinity scarves that I made. For more information, go here. Thank you for wanting to help! 

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