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Alleke is 5 years old

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Hi, my name is Kelly and I write about being a dad. Let me tell you more about me...

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Seven Days

Calendar by tillwe.

Thursday: 1st Interview with social worker

I’m a sensitive guy, and I left the interview wondering why everyone was being so mean to us. I just wanted one person to acknowledge that doing an adoption in Spain was a lot of hard work for us, and obviously we wanted an adopted child enough to go through this process, even though we were capable of having our own children biologically. It’s not like I wanted a medal, but still it seemed like our perseverance should have counted for something.

Friday: Foreign Policy article

It was still nagging me that the social worker had said there are more families waiting to adopt than actual young, healthy children available for adoption. I had never heard this before. Was she right? April asked on a forum, and the discussion led us to an article in Foreign Policy called “The Lie We Love,” which confirmed that there were indeed more families than children. Questions crowded my mind. Was there still a need for us to adopt? Was it unfair for us to adopt a child when others could not have children biologically?

Saturday: Adoption homework
I sat in a café trying to get down on paper why I wanted to adopt a child from another country. I needed something to hand in to the psychologist by next Tuesday, but I was confused. Everyone seemed to be telling me now that “helping a child by giving him a family” was not a good enough reason for adopting a child. I was told the right answer was simply “because we want to be parents.” That answer made sense if we couldn’t have our own children, but because we could, I was looking for another answer—the reason to justify why we wanted to have an adopted child instead of a biological one. I wrote down lots of things, but they were just different ways of saying the same thing: I wanted to “help a child by giving him a family.” I was so mixed up, I thought about stealing April’s answers. I wasn’t even sure why we had decided to have Alleke. It just felt right at the time.

Sunday: Skype with parents
The social worker had also asked what my parents thought of our adoption. I realized I had never asked them directly, even though they have lots of second-hand experience with adopted children at the grade school where they teach. When I asked, they said they had been aware that there were more families waiting to adopt than young, healthy children available for adoption. I wondered why they hadn’t told me this before. Maybe they had been telling me all along, and I hadn’t been willing to listen until now? They also pointed out that we have a lot going on right now. I’m writing a book, we will be launching a new church soon, and we have our ever-present endeavor to learn Spanish and integrate into Spanish society. We’re not exactly a stable family, even though we try our best. My dad said that if he had to do everything I do, he would pack up his bags and take the next flight home. I wished I had asked for their opinion earlier.

Monday: Family huddle
April and I finally found time to talk on Monday evening, and she told me about “waiting children.” Let me be very clear that there are in fact children who are waiting to be adopted from nearly every country in the world. However, these waiting children are either older than say 5 or 6 years old, or they have a disability. If we really wanted to adopt a child who was waiting for a family to care for him, would we be willing to either wait to adopt an older child later, or consider more carefully if we had enough resources to care for a child with a disability in a country that is not our own?

Tuesday: Postpone home study
By this point we had more questions than answers. With much soul-searching, at least we knew we still wanted to adopt, but even in our best attempts at making sense of the new information we had been given, we still weren’t sure what was the best way to go about doing the adoption. We were about to make one of our most important decisions as a family, and it was obvious we needed at least one more week to make our decision. So, we made some phone calls and postponed our home study one week.

Wednesday: Meeting with IMMF lawyer
Finally, some answers. We met with a government adoption lawyer. He helped us narrow our options down to Peru and Colombia. He told us the wait time was not one year, not two years, not even three years. We would have to wait a minimum of four years to adopt a child from these countries. The wait time seemed to be getting longer the more we learned. “It’s going to be difficult for you,” he said, “because you are required to adopt a child younger than your daughter.”

Thursday: We sign the papers to stop our home study for now
We have decided that it makes more sense to try to get pregnant for now, and to adopt later. This gives us more time to make a better decision about how to adopt. We can decide if we feel it is ethical for us to wait in line to adopt a young, healthy child from another country when there are already so many waiting families who cannot have children of their own. We can decide if we feel prepared to adopt “waiting children” who are older or have a disability. We also discovered that we are unwilling to wait four years for Alleke to have a brother or sister, although we would be willing to wait as long as it takes for more children later, knowing at least that Alleke has a sibling.

Even though our process is on hold for now, I still hope and pray we will have the opportunity to adopt a child someday.

For the rest of our adoption story, take a look at our Guide to International Adoption in Spain…


Jenn said...

Kelly, thanks for sharing your journey. I hadn’t realized how few young, healthy children there were out there. I commend you two for really taking the time to think through this decision and for being willing to put your plans on hold and wait for the right time for your family.

February 21, 2009 at 12:41 pm

Cassidy said...

I admire you and April for working so thoughtfully through this decision. I’ve been keeping up w/ your blog while I’m stateside-helps me miss Madrid less :) Anyway, I know any child you two adopt or bring into this world will have a wonderful set of parents. It must have been a hard decision to make, but hopefully it will work out for the best.

-Cassidy Shearrer

February 22, 2009 at 2:24 am

Dan P said...

Hey K and A and A,
Thanks for the thought process. It is an convient idealist thought to think lots of young needy children are out there! Thanks for discovering that truth. Perhaps being a foster parent for older children would be a next step on the journey to older kid adoption.

Dan P

February 22, 2009 at 7:54 pm

Sandra77 said...

Sounds like you guys have been through an emotional ringer. Still, it’s good to get clarity – of both facts and feelings. One way or another, this situation will work out for the best. I admire you and April immensely. Take care,


February 23, 2009 at 2:12 pm

Joceline said...

Thanks so much for sharing! We are in pretty much the same place emotionally as you. I don’t feel good about adopting a young and healthy child; however, I’m scared to adopt an older or disabled child! We have several very close family members who have adopted older and/or disabled children, and although it has been good, I’ve seen firsthand just how difficult it is.

I’m a little bit relieved that my husband is about to start graduate school and we’ll have a couple of years to wait and make a decision before we are actually able to begin the process.

February 24, 2009 at 4:09 pm

Eleanor said...

Hi, it sounds like your determination and sense of right will see you through, stay strong, Eleanor

February 24, 2009 at 8:05 pm

Scott said...

Kelly and April,

Congratulations on making an extremely difficult decision based on reason and not emotion. What a difficult thing to do, but so important. This is especially difficulty when children are involved. We wish you the best.

March 3, 2009 at 2:36 am

odessa said...

Kelly and April,

Thank you for sharing this. I work with children whose parents did more harm than good to them…and its so wonderful to know that there are people like you guys who are exactly the opposite. Any child will be lucky to have you guys as parents.

March 8, 2009 at 6:05 am


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