Rosemary asked: How long have you kept this ginormous exciting secret???
Short answer: a few months if you consider from the time that she first expressed a desire to be adopted. Days from the time we actually started the paperwork.
Long answer: Luda first started talking to me about adoption a few months ago, but I was very cautious to jump in. I felt like I, personally, had just come to terms with not adopting her and… she decided she wanted to be adopted! We wanted to make sure that she was very serious this time. We also wanted to have some conversations with her about how things would look here once she was adopted and some of the boundaries that we would have in place for her.
We considered keeping the secret a lot longer, because we didn’t want to go through telling everyone we were adopting her and then something happen (again). But, a couple of things forced our hands a bit, and enter in the video announcement! All of the clips from the video were taken just a couple of weeks before we shared it publicly.
Erin asked: What changed her mind, if we may know?
Without going into too much detail, Luda has strong ties to Ukraine. As much as she has enjoyed time with our family, I think it’s hard for her to say yes to forever and leaving her life there behind. Partly, I think that she felt that she needed the blessing of certain people in Ukraine, and I also think it helped her to realize that she was basically out of chances. That we wouldn’t and couldn’t keep hosting her if she was uncertain about what she wanted.
Amanda asked: Do you know yet what the timeline might look like for the process of bringing her home?
We are praying that our dossier will be completed by Luda’s birthday in mid-October. A realistic timeline would be to have our dossier completed by November or early December. From that point, it would be 3-4 months, waiting for our invitation to Ukraine, travel and lots of waiting in between trips.
Amanda asked: How can we pray for you and support you during this adoption?
Currently, our specific prayer requests are for the remaining paperwork for our homestudy. Some of it is crawling! We are well on our way with dossier documents, but before we can finish our dossier and send it to Ukraine, we need to send our home study off to immigration and get their approval. This can take MONTHS, or it can be much quicker. Right now, most people I know in process are saying it is slow going. :(
Please pray that Luda remains committed to be adopted and that she does not feel discouraged with the waiting. That is the biggest challenge– she is ready for us to be there and like any child, has a hard time understanding how lengthy and complicated the process is.
We have just a couple of fundraising opportunities– photo sessions this fall and I will be selling prints. If you are interested in either, please let me know. We also have a link for tax deductible donations through Project Hopeful here.
Chrissy asked: Do you guys have a PO box or anything set up for gifts?
No, you are so sweet, but we do not. I have looked into it in the past when we have done fundraisers and such, but they are too expensive for us to use.
moxiedoesit asked: With much respect to however much you may like to share, what are some things you are thinking about with adopting an older kid? Going into it, what things do you think will be different than adopting younger?
I think that everything will be different! It’s hard to anticipate the exact challenges, but I imagine we will have more issues like helping her get the support for school, learn English and make new friends here. I am guessing that a lot of our challenges will have to do with helping Luda find her place in a new family, culture and community. We are all excited to have her here, but there is always some adjusting as far as fitting a new person into your life.
Adopting younger kids, we had more challenges as far as having ANY way to communicate– with Luda we can always use a translation app or call a translator. With our kids, physical care, sleep deprivation, sensory needs, etc. were a much bigger factor.
With adopting any child, I would anticipate pushing of boundaries until that child has a strong understanding of exactly how far they may go. I will not be surprised if we have the typical teenage parenting disputes– internet access, cell phones, staying up too late, boyfriends, etc. Obviously, finding those limits looks very different with younger children.
moxiedoesit asked: Will she be attending school, or is “homeschool” for cocooning an option?
We are still figuring out school. She will likely need to go to public school for awhile to get the English as Second Language support that she needs. However, the exact timing of how soon she starts will depend on when she comes home and how she’s doing. Middle school is hard for a kid who has had a stable life and already knows English, so we will be cautious about enrolling her in school until we agree, Luda included, that she’s ready for it. While I have no plans for homeschooling long term, we may homeschool temporarily, working with a translator to build up her English confidence and help her get some basics down.
Jenna asked: Will you continue to host?
No, at least not for awhile. Hosting, even the best experience, is tiring. There’s a financial cost and also a time and energy cost for our whole family. We will take some time to get settled with Luda. I won’t say that we won’t even host again, but we will definitely need some time to focus on our family. However, I will continue to be involved with Project One Forty Three as a volunteer.