Today Max and Misha and I headed out early for Max to see the dentist. Max's teeth are in very rough shape and we are looking at 4 extractions and 5 fillings. The plan is to do these at the local Children's hospital under anesthesia. We have appointments with the boys' MD for February 11th so we will see what, if any, tests he might want to run and will do all these at the same time as the oral surgery. As a whole, the boys are very healthy other than Max's teeth.
(Melissa here: Misha's teeth are pretty bad too but he wouldn't let the dentist see his mouth today. Max took 10 minutes to open his mouth. He was afraid. Apparently, this isn't his first visit to a dentist. If it is, he must have heard horror stories from somewhere. He was terrified. Poor guy!)
Max has a bit of something that looks like a lazy eye.
Misha has very sensitive skin so for him, we have switched laundry soap.
Vitali has a very serious case of: I-run-into-everything-and-throw-stuff-including-
tantrums-and-fall-all-the-time-itis with a few whack-a-mole tendencies!
We have been deliberate about sharing our process because one of our goals has been to raise awareness about the plight of the 150,000,000 lost children worldwide. Please do not be afraid to ask us questions! We will do our best to answer them. Some we will answer openly here, some more open in person or by email and some we won't be able to answer because we have to respect our sons' privacy.
Here are a few recent questions:
Why did you choose Ukraine?/ Why did you not adopt domestically?/ Why not Africa, China, etc?
There are 150,00,000 lost children so we had to say no to 149,999,997 to say yes to 3. We carefully looked at our goals and objectives and chose international adoption based on Matthew 25:45 we tried to look for "the least of these". We also looked closely at Rwanda, Estonia, India, Russia, Hungary and Azerbaijan but these were not the right places for us.
Children in the USA have a chance. It is true that 40% of US foster children will end up in the penal system at some time but if an American child applies himself he has significant opportunity. Most children overseas who apply themselves will still end up as educated prostitutes, drug addicts, cadavers or criminals. The chances one of these lost children has is almost zero!
We chose Ukraine because we thought it gave us the best opportunity for success. We knew the cost of this adoption would be staggering and so we knew we wouldn't have the funds to do it over. After careful analysis and prayer we settled on Ukraine. Our sons were in Ukraine!
What happened to the boys' birth family? What do you know about the birth family?
We know almost nothing to be honest. Of what we do know, we will only share a minimal amount here. The boys had a single mother and her rights were terminated for cause based on a singular traumatic event . Our boys lived in the orphanage for 4 years and in 2006, the boys were placed on the Ukrainian database for adoption.
Our boys finally became available for adoption on December 6, 2007. We traveled to Ukraine on December 7, 2007. The reality is the boys have never really known "a family;" they are just now learning what it means to have a family. (Misha told the translator today: "we eat good, we sleep good, and we have a mama and papa")
How much did it cost? How did you pay for it?
We are still adding up the costs, but at this point the direct costs look to be about $40,000. This includes lawyers' fees, Ukraine costs, room and board, airfare, US immigration expenses, home study expenses, etc. The indirect costs include 2 months lost income, home improvements and supplies necessary to accommodate three new children, and a vehicle for a family of eight. These costs are in excess of $25,000. There will be significant additional costs associated with Max's dental work. We paid for all of this $1.00 at a time.
We had saved about $12,000 prior to starting. We began paying for items as they came. We cut our expenses as much as possible. My business grew about 15% this year. We had nearly 50 people financially invest in us and our children. We have spent more money on this adoption than we make in a year and have done it without going into debt. It might be the "church answer" but apart from God this would not have been possible!
Can you afford these boys? How will you pay for college?
Yes, we can afford the additional expense of these boys but the reality is that we will have to make sacrifices. We are not going to be able to do things we might have been able to had we not had three more mouths. The reality is that these boys are our 'why'. When you know your 'why' and choose to ignore it, that is a rather precarious spot to be in!
College will come sooner than we expect but the reality for our boys, and other children like them, is that they would have been facing much larger issues such as suicide, drug addiction, or exploitation. Our boys will not lack for opportunity or education. The opportunity might be difficult and come at a cost but they will not lack.