Sunday, March 01, 2009

Bitter sweet

This is a very bitter sweet post for me. Bitter because a part of me is sad. Sweet because I know this is the direction the Lord is taking us.

We have decided to withdraw our dossier from China. This means, in short, that we have decided we will not be adopting a daughter from China.

This has been a very emotional decision for JB and myself, and one that neither of us truly saw coming. Over the past few weeks and months, we have briefly brought up the idea of withdrawing. However, about a week ago, the discussion became more than just a passing "what if."

Over the last eighteen months, many people have asked us if we still planned to adopt from China. My reply was always the same. "Of course! Why would we quit?!" I honestly never thought about not finishing this adoption -- no matter how long it took. And then, in the last few days, our hearts were sort of suddenly turned in different direction.

The final "straw" if you will was our home study update packet. Due to be renewed every twelve months while we wait, it tuned out to be a lot more update than we were prepared for. Not only will it cost us $700 everytime we renew, but the packet requires new physicals, police records, banking statements -- hours more work.

However, this was just one small reason. There are many more. Bullets work best for this so I don't get too lengthy. Here, in a nutshell, is why we decided to leave the China adoption behind.
  • Originally, our decision to adopt internationally had to do with how hurt are hearts were by all of our infertility disappointment. We did not feel that we had the emotional stability to do a domestic adoption where the birth parents can change their mind at the last minute. We also were not interested in navigating a relationship with birth parents throughout our child's life if this was going to possibly be our only child. (This is very different to us than the relationship we had with Bri and our decision to adopt Isaac. We felt very comfortable with her and Chris being in Isaac's life for his entire life because we already had a relationship with Bri.) In China, the girls are abandoned and birth parents are never an issue. There is also no chance of a mind change. You pay your money and leave with a child. We wanted to make sure that we were not disappointed yet again.

  • Needless to say, our lives have completely changed since we decided to adopt from China. We now have two young boys in our home that have given us the family that we always wanted. We don't feel that we need to add to those two boys. If we never had another child, we would perfectly content with the two we have. We actually felt that way with just Isaac. We felt that the Lord had given us a child. Even one was considered an amazing blessing.

  • Isaac's adoption cost us more than we were planning on. We didn't see his adoption coming and didn't have funds budgeted for this adoption. God has provided, but it is an extra bit we weren't planning on when we signed on to adopt from China.

  • The wait time for China continues to increase everyday. Right now, China is processing 3-5 days worth of applications every month. Our social worker believes that five years of waiting is probably the minimum at this point unless something drastically changes. It is not out of the realm of possibility that the wait could even be more -- even as high as ten.

  • As I mentioned above, every year that we wait requires updates to our home study and fingerprinting that will cost us additional money and time that we did not factor in when we first began the adoption. We are estimating that the increased wait time could cost us approximately $1,000 or more a year.

  • We are hoping that we may be able to go overseas after we live Eglin AFB. This will mean that we will have to work with a third party adoption agency to get our home study updated while we are overseas. This could prove a difficult (or even impossible) proposition. We had no idea that we would still be waiting when we left Eglin. We thought the adoption would be finalized by the time we left. Now it may not even be finalized by the time we leave our overseas location (2-4 years after we arrive.)

  • International adoptions are very expensive. An adoption from China is about $30,000. (Russia is even higher -- into the $50,000 range). At this point, we have spent approximately one-third of our costs. We still have about $20,000 to go. That is a lot of money. We have realized that even though it is painful to lose $10,000, that $20,000 could actually be used to adopt many children in the U.S. (if that is the direction the Lord leads us.) While we initially wanted to do China to protect our own hearts, we no longer feel that our hearts need protecting.

  • We still have seven embryos that we need to return for which will cost a good bit of money as well. These are our first priority. Trying to figure out when to go back from the embryos coupled with the two boys we have and the adoption that is "lingering" was a bit stressful.

  • There are plenty of families just waiting to adopt daughters from China. There are not plenty of families waiting to adopt children in the U.S. There are children waiting for homes. If we are going to adopt, now that our life has taken a complete turn with two boys at home, we don't feel the need to protect our emotions. We feel that we can handle disappointment, and we know that the money we won't have spent on a daughter from China, can go a lot further in the U.S. if that is where the Lord leads us in the future.

As JB and I discussed every aspect of this, I realized that my reasons for not wanting to withdraw our dossier were mostly selfish and prideful reasons on my part. This is hard to admit, but I realized that my reasons weren't about the child we were hoping to adopt. They were about me. I was not a quitter! I didn't want people to think we were quitters. I am an athlete and we see things to the end! I had put in hours and hours of work. I wanted to see the fruit of that work. I didn't want to lose all the money that we had already invested. In the end though, those were the wrong reasons for not wanting to drop out. My motives were not pure, and they were not the correct motives to have.

Another "issue" for me is spiritual. The same old question pops its head up in all of our big life decisions. Why would God have us spend money on an adoption that we aren't going to see to the end? I asked the same question about infertility treatments. I have asked the same question about many things. Ultimately, I don't know the answer to why God took us in one direction and then had us change directions. But I need to trust Him with the directional change He is now leading us to make.

I hope this adequately explains our decision and answers any questions people may have. We really appreciate every one's love, understanding, and encouragement -- especially Dave & Lesley who talked us through every aspect of this during their recent visit to Eglin AFB. We know this is the right decision for us and that the Lord is moving us in this direction. We look forward to following wherever he takes us next.


Blessed Blackman Bunch said...

All makes sense to me! :)
Praying that God will continue to give you peace as He leads you!
*Brittney has Isaac's backpack. Missed you this morning. It was COLD. How did John do?

Rene said...

I'm so sorry to hear this news- I was so looking forward to meeting your Chinese daughter. Good luck with your future decisions :)

Bethany said...


Bitter sweet in deed. "Sorry" doesn't seem like the right word to say because you getting to the point of letting go of the China adoption because your heart is healing is a good thing - a God thing. And because of this there is a family out there that is one day closer to their China daughter coming home, a family whose hearts may not heal until they hold their child in their arms. Knowing all that doesn't mean that your decision was any less difficult and heart wrenching, of course. Praying that God continues to grant you peace over this decision.


Wendi Kitsteiner said...

Bethany, thank you so much . . . we really need that right now. You are right, our hearts are healing from the years of infertility which makes letting go, somehow, even harder . . . thank you for your kind words.

Jess said...

I think sometimes God leads you to a path that then forks...and it's possible to go different ways, none of them better or worse...just different. But the preparing before makes you ready for anything, do you know what I mean?

You can always go back, you know? Life has a way of being spectacular in ways you least expect, though.

Be easy on yourself and go with what your heart tells you.

AW said...

((((Wendi and JB)))))

I can see how this would be bittersweet. For one, I totally GET the reasoning behind an international adoption guarding your heart. It was the reason behind why N and I chose international as well. And I understand how much courage it takes to voice that. Secondly, please know that you do not need to explain yourselves to any of us. While we are grateful to know your hearts, only YOU can know for sure what the Lord's plans are for your family. I know if this was His will, that peace Bethany (and scripture!) speaks of will come.

N and I came to the decision to table our adoption a few years ago. Like you, it was sad and difficult and we just knew it was the right thing for the time being. Perhaps the Lord will open that door again to us. Perhaps not. Either way, we know that our family plan needs to be HIS family plan, or things just don't work out, yanno? We've tried to force things into our lives that just weren't part of His plan and it ultimately made things harder.

I'm proud of you for lifting this up and even more...proud of you for listening. Thank you for sharing. It really is comforting (to me) to see another couple be brutally honest about hard decisions like this so publicly. I don't feel so alone.