Want to Adopt? (In the Middle of a Pandemic!)

Not sure how to start...especially when we're in the middle of a pandemic? Here's a few ideas!

Maybe you're like our family, who's been taking this time to figure out our priorities, looking hard at our life, and wondering if we're really using our time, money, and talents for God's kingdom and to the best of our abilities. Maybe God is pressing on your heart that you've got room for a child who every day feels unsure of the future and longs for the very thing that most of us are complaining about...being home with our family.

So, what can you do if you're ready to take that first step of faith? Well, here's a few ideas, especially if you've got some extra time on your hands these days...

1. Pick an agency and/or country

Certain agencies specialize in adopting from certain countries, so it's a big decision to choose the agency best for your family. We highly recommend CCAI Adoption and wrote a blog post on why we chose them for our first son's adoption (https://haobaobaocoffee.com/blogs/news/why-ccai). We knew all along that we wanted to adopt from China and our friends recommended CCAI, so the choice was pretty easy for us! We're so grateful for their expertise in Chinese adoptions, as both our adoptions were quite complicated (due to living previously in Hong Kong). As far as we know, adoption agencies are still running during this time, so send an inquiry email, fill out some beginning paperwork, and ask them how you can get started!

2. Take a hard look at your finances
As we've mentioned before, you'll most likely need about $5,000 for the home study fees. Make a plan now how you're going to save, work small jobs, etc. Also, China requires you have a certain amount in assets, so check into your financial portfolio now to see if you qualify or what you might need to do.

3. Clean out that bedroom and start home study "proofing" your home!
Maybe you've got a spare bedroom that needs some love...and organizing! You don't need to have the child's room all set up for the home study, but if you've got some spare time, why not start! Also, every home study agency and/or state has different requirements for making your home "child safe" (smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, medicine cabinets, etc.). Insider's tip: Your sweet social worker most likely won't pass or fail you based on the cleanliness of your hall closet or silverware drawer, so don't stress out! (If only I knew that before I feverishly cleaned every single inch of our home that first home study visit!) But, getting a head start these things can be helpful later on when you're busy with paperwork.

4. Get updated family pictures!
Local photographers these days are getting creative with front porch pictures...why not get an updated picture now! You'll need a family and couple one for a China adoption, as well as for grant applications.

5. Start working on those other dossier pictures
For you China dossier (all your adoption paperwork sent to China), you'll need a few couple pictures and 6-8 pictures of your family with other people (family, friends, your "village"). There's some specific requirements for these photos (like all your family has to be in these pictures, certain dress code, etc.) so they take a while to collect (or at least for non-picture taking people like us, they do!). We had to plan out what pictures we'd take with friends at church, small group, gatherings, etc. so that we could have a good variety! So, start looking through your photos, ask your cousin for that family picture you took at her wedding last year, and make a plan for when we're not social distancing any longer!

6. Research grant agencies and adoption fundraisers
Don't have $30,000+ in the bank? No problem! Neither did/do we! Start now researching which grant agencies you will qualify for and make a calendar when each deadline is due. This way, as soon as your home study is finished, you'll know which applications to start with. Get ideas for adoption fundraisers that work for your family. (Hint: Pinterest or just google for some great ideas!) Obviously a garage sale is out right now, but that doesn't stop you from asking your friend who lives on a super busy street if she'll host the garage sale some day or letting friends know that if they're purging, you'll gladly take things off their hands!

7. Pull together important paperwork
You'll need all that important paperwork that you've got filled away somewhere...marriage certificate, original state-issued birth certificates, passports, etc. Every country probably has different requirements and some government offices are backed up now, so no time like the present to get started on these since they won't expired!

8. Read!
We've heard reading is on the rise these days! Why not get a solid Biblical foundation on why we as Christians are called to love on the most vulnerable in this world, as well as practical encouragement for the journey? We love Russell Moore's "Adopted for Life" and Todd R. Chipman's "Until Every Child is Home," as well as of course the "Bible" for building connected relationships with all your children: "The Connected Child" and all other resources by Karyn B. Purvis. Also, blogs such as No Hands But Ours was a huge blessing, full of some many great resources, stories, and help along the way.

9. Talk to your children, family, friends, "village"
You're going to need a village to love and support you on this journey. Start that conversation now! Maybe you don't have all the answers or a clear-cut path ahead, but ask them to join you on this journey. Have open conversations, especially with older children and maybe even let them take a part in the process.

10. And last, but definitely not least...PRAY! Pray God will direct your path to your precious child in His perfect timing and way.

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