While we were on the Island we got to enjoy dinner with the Keno’s! They are a family with lots of experience with adoption and people with special needs. They have three birth daughters, one adopted daughter and four adopted sons. Three of their sons have Down Syndrome and the most recent addition is from Bulgaria! They are obviously great inspirations to us and a fabulous connection to have as we go through this process ourselves.
Dinner was so informative. I should have taken notes because now I am finding it difficult to remember all the information they gave us. Basically, I asked all the questions I could think of. We heard all about their experiences in Bulgaria. Practical things like what to eat, how to tip, where to go, what to expect, how the travels were, what the people were like, what to expect at the orphanage and how they got by with the language barrier. We asked all about meeting their son and how the transition and attachment has gone, how other people reacted to them adopting and how they dealt with that. The dinner (which was delicious) was so informative… I’m still processing everything. I don’t think I’ll really understand everything they went through and experienced until we’ve personally gone through it all ourselves… I am not saying we are going to adopt as many kids as they have 🙂
One of the biggest things I have learned from the Keno’s is to have an attitude of gratitude towards Bulgaria. (I’m really sorry that rhymes but I can’t think of any other words and Jon won’t help because he enjoys seeing me frustrated!) I have struggled with resentment towards the cost of adoption and the hoops that you have to jump through to adopt a child that they don’t care for effectively and may not even want. The Keno’s have modeled a thankfulness to the country for entrusting them with their precious child. They are right. I need to be thankful. I am thankful! I am blessed to be blessed enough to have a home where their child can thrive! The hoops that we have to jump through are safe guards to try and ensure the children are safe. Many countries, because of political unrest and war, don’t have the means to care for these children and are doing the best they can. We need to be sensitive to that and walk along side them. Yes, international adoption is expensive but most of those fees go to the agents, lawyers and travel. We pay thousands of dollars to the agents and lawyers involved in selling and buying our homes… these are our children we are paying for!
Talking with them has raised up a few more questions and concerns too… The main one right now, as we are waiting for our proposal, is that Bulgaria does not have the most efficient child registry to refer orphans from. I’m not entirely convinced that they prioritize international adoptions, let alone special needs adoptions, as I have been told they do. With the amount of special needs orphans in Bulgaria we should have numerous proposals already. Although we have not been legally approved in Bulgaria, we’ve been told that they have our home study and could send a proposal any time. I’m anxious and impatient to know who my baby is and that plays a lot in to my uncertainty about waiting. We can’t make an official decision until we are approved anyway.
So, where are we in our adoption? Well, our Dossier, which is our application to adopt from Bulgaria, has been sent to Bulgaria. We are waiting for approval from 5 different sections of the government there. Once all 5 approvals are given, we will be put on their adoptive parents registry. Even if everything goes smoothly and they don’t require any updated paperwork, it takes about two months. We are around the 6 week point in our wait. Typically, after we are on the registry this would mark the beginning of our waiting for our proposal (although with us adopting a child with special needs the proposals could come any time).
There are two children in our sights already… both not official proposals because they are both a little older than we thought we were thinking. We have been talking about it and discovered that we are a lot more open to an older child than we originally thought. We decided from early on that we would wait until we are accepted by Bulgaria to make a final decision for which child we are going to bring home. We may get more referrals by then too. (This is such a weird situation to be choosing our child.) It is very difficult for me to be patient! I can’t help but wonder if one of these girls is our daughter… and yes, we did ask about adopting both of them 🙂 We can’t adopt two unrelated children at one time. So, our soon-to-be daughter may not be who we originally thought she’d be but I know that she is going to be perfect for our family and us for her 🙂 I can’t wait!!!