First, let me say that ya'll have given me SO many great questions! I think I'll be working my way through these for weeks, lol.
HOW DID YOU AFFORD SO MANY ADOPTIONS SO QUICKLY?
What a fabulous question! Let me start by saying that we are not wealthy---by any means! :) Since the birth of our first child, we have lived off of Brent's income alone. When we look at our income next to the cost of our three adoptions----well, the two columns just shouldn't line up!
But God is so good. Isn't He? :)
With Gabbey, our first adoption, we used all of our tax return for the beginning fees (HS, agency fees, etc). Then we used Brent's 401K for most of the rest of the fees. Her adoption ended up being far more expensive than the other two, in part because more people traveled, but mostly because we chose a cheaper agency the second time around. The $13,000 tax credit from Gabbeys' adoption and the $5,000 employer reimbursement per adoption (we recieved a total of $15,000) were then used towards Lyssie and Johanna's adoptions.
We did receive three grants and three loans (one loan from an adoption company and two loans from our parents) for the second two adoptions. Once we recieve our final tax refund (which, ahem, could be tomorrow or six months from now, depending on the IRS) we will have paid off EVERYTHING and be completely debt free again (with the exception of our 15 passenger van and our home). This is a huge blessing, because, while we certainly would be willing to make payments for years in order to bring our girls home, we have always strived to live as debt-free as possible.
I highly recommend researching ABBA FUND, LIFESONG , JSC FOUNDATION, SHOW HOPE, and A CHILD WAITS FOUNDATION if the Lord has laid adoption on your heart and you don't have 20 or 30 thousand dollars collecting dust in the bank. LOL. I personally know families that have received anywhere from $3,000 to $20,000 in grant monies from these organizations.
Aside from having a yard sale, one dear couple in our church giving us the money for a plane ticket, and my sister giving us a check, we did not recieve any money from our church, family, or friends. I do know many, many families who are able to raise much of the necessary money through these outlets, though. We did cut out many "extras" for the two years we were needing so much extra cash for our adoptions.
Which leads me to the next question.....
HOW DO YOU AFFORD FAMILY VACATIONS?
Our family LOVES to go on vacations (or weekend trips, overnight get-aways, or day excursions). Basically, we love to pile in our van and GO! (We even have a family song we wrote about such trips....but I digress.)
Due to the high cost of the adoptions, we didn't take a true family vacation the past two years. (We did go to Family Camp last summer, but it was very reasonably priced AND we had booked it before we decided to adopt Johanna so the money was already spent at that point.)
My sweet hubby works in Business Sales. Which means he's using technology ALL THE TIME. Cell-phones, laptop, email. It's his life during the work week. So he plans time to unplug and spend quality time with our family.
As far as actually affording the vacations, well, maybe I can get Brent to write a post about this topic. Bartering, bargain-shopping, researching vacation spots, and getting the very best deals around are his specialty. I'll let him share more about that since he's the vacation planner and I'm the wash and then pack everything we own---and then some---into our van girl. :)
HAVE YOU EVER HAD FAMILY MEMBERS OPPOSE YOUR ADOPTIONS?
Our extended famlies---even the ones who we might not be "intimately close" with---have all been supportive of our choice to adopt and our girls.
That being said, they did all know that we were really crazy about children and wanted a whole bunch. So I don't think our adoption decisions came as a big shock. :)
We have faced some negativity, but not from our family. Some people just feel the need to comment on your decisions or family size. While there is certainly wisdom in counsel (if everyone you know is saying DON'T, maybe they're right?), there will be naysayers in any major decision you make as a family.
I don't know how to say this gently, so I'm just going to say it: We don't ask permission of ANYONE before making a biological baby, and we don't need their permission to adopt one, either. If a husband and wife have taken their family size/adoption choice before the LORD and HE has given them clear direction, then it doesn't matter what people think or say, does it? Obey God. :)
Family size is clearly a GOD/HUSBAND/WIFE decision.
IS THERE ANY REASON YOU'VE ADOPTED ALL GIRLS?
When we first started the adoption process in January of 2010, we had one girl and three precious
We reviewed about 10 files when we were ready to adopt the second time. Both boys and girls, with various special needs. I told the agency that we were hoping for a boy or girl a year or two OLDER than our two babies (who were not yet 2 at the time).
The last file we viewed was Alyssia. Our agency mis-read her information and told me she was almost 3 years old. Perfect in my mind! :) We started to fall in love and then we re-read through the fine print and realized she was another 2009 baby! I vividly remember sitting on the couch with Brent, gazing at Alyssia's picture, asking each other----can we really do THREE babies the same age?
Well, you all know what the answer was. She was ours. And OH MY we haven't regretted that decision for even a milisecond. (Okay, so there have been days like THIS ONE where I thought the virtual toddlers were going to get the better of me. :))
Johanna came about very unexpectedly, and her story is told in part HERE.
So there is no partiality for girls in our home....it's just worked out that we've adopted three of them. If we are blessed to be able to adopt again, we will more than likely bring home a boy (or two!). :)
Enough for tonight, friends. I'm getting tired. :) But keep the questions coming and I'll do my very best to answer them to the best of my ability. And thanks for reading and sharing in our story.