Much of this site will be open to everyone to view so you can follow the journey of our family as we adopt two beautiful children. I hope it will encourage you to consider the adoption of a child who waits somewhere in the world with only one wish, to have a family.
Part of the site, however, is more private and is reserved for family and close friends. If you are family or a friend and you would like access to the private section, please ask for membership.
Thank you for your understanding.
This is my first open post to our Adoption Website. I started this almost 3 years ago to chronicle our journey to adopt 2 beautiful children. Unfortunately, time (or lack thereof) didn’t allow me to chronicle as much as I would have liked. Also, unfortunately, we encountered a cyber-stalker along the way who threatened not only our adoption by all adoptions from our children’s birth country. So halfway through our in-country stay I had to close the website to everyone not personally known to us or adopting through our agency. It’s a shame that one emotionally disturbed person would threaten the future, and in fact very lives, of so many children needing forever families. But such is the case and adoptions will proceed despite her.
I know many wonderful people followed our family on Reece’s Rainbow, and want closure to our adoption journey, so this public post is for them. For background, our adoption journey started in 2008 when my husband and I decided that it was time to add to our family. We didn’t have any 2-legged children at that time and knew that our house was still empty (despite the 2 dogs, 5 cats and 5 chickens). So like so many others, we began researching adoption.
We considered everything… domestic infants, foster care placements, and international adoption. The one consistent area we were especially drawn to was Special Needs. We inquired on dozens of waiting children in the US Foster Care system, and found that the system was so antiquated and broken that we didn’t even get courtesy emails back on most of our inquiries. Our county system said to not even apply as they had dozens of families waiting for children in our age range, 0-6. We learned that the Foster Care system views adoption as a failure because the birth family wasn’t reunited. We also learned that by the time a Foster child is placed with an adoptive family, they have been in and out of their birth family and different foster families an average of 12 times, and by the time many of them reach adoptive homes, they have significant psychological issues. But we were still including this option as a possibility.
We also looked at International Adoption and had chosen a wonderful placement agency, About A Child. We were looking to adopt from Hungary with a secondary option of Bulgaria. Again we were looking for special needs children, and really wanted a sibling group of 2 or 3. What we found was that special needs adoption and sibling groups rarely occur together. Since children are usually placed at birth, the healthy child is many times adopted before or without the SN sibling. Although it was possible, there weren’t any groups known in the countries we were looking at.
So on we go with our search for a family. As we were doing the paper work to get everything started, we found a probable infant placement through a friend of our extended family. We then did a full 180 degree turn and changed everything over to a Domestic Placement. Although the child wasn’t expected to have special needs, we were still building our family and following the road He placed in front of us. Not long after getting everything ready for the adoption of this baby, the child’s teen mother tragically lost it. We were devastated for her and for the loss of this precious life.
We kept our Domestic Home Study and decided since it was now done, we might as well try for another infant, special needs or not. So then comes more research into putting together a family profile… trying to “network” for a birthmother… considering referral companies and advertising… But it all just didn’t seem right. These babies, if their mothers allow them to be born, will find families here in the US. Even the SN children who are “rejected” by the chosen adoptive families (due to the SN) are typically quickly placed in an adoptive home.
My heart and mind kept returning to those older children in orphanages who would never find a home. So many of them will eventually get “too old” to adopt (by most families standards) and with their special needs would have no place in their society. The statistics on the “healthy” children aging out of Eastern European Orphanages indicate that almost 80% will end up involved in drugs and/or the sex trade as adults. What chance does a child with a difference have in a society that will not allow them to work or marry? What life could they even hope to have?
So my heart led me back to Reece’s Rainbow and Rainbow Kids, 2 sites whose mission is to find families for children, who might otherwise be overlooked. Both of these sites are wonderful and feature so many beautiful children with special challenges. They both have different formats and work in different ways, but children find homes… and that’s what matters. For those new to special needs adoptions, I will explain a little about these 2 sites and the resources they offer.
Reece’s Rainbow was developed to advocate for Down Syndrome Children, probably the most vulnerable and discarded of all the International Orphans. In many countries these children are transferred to mental institutions at the ripe old age of 5, and from there they are typically no longer available. These children live the remainder of their short lives alone and unwanted, and most eventually die of the severe abuse and neglect they receive. Learning so much about these precious children made me wonder why these countries have so many and the US has so few. But it didn’t take long to realize that we (meaning our “modern thinking” U.S. population) discards most of these children pre-birth, while the other countries do it after birth. I don’t know which case is sadder… but that’s a discussion for another time.
In additional to the wonderful children with DS on Reece’s Rainbow, they also have a place for “Other Angels”… those children with other special needs ranging from limb differences to HIV. Each of the children has a section that typically describes them and their basic medical condition. Most of the children have photos included and maybe a statement from a family who has seen them. Although the “Other Angels” aren’t the first mission of Reece’s Rainbow, they are no less loved and fought for by the families advocating for their adoptions. Our precious “Hallie” was found on Reece’s Rainbow. I looked through all the faces, read all the descriptions, looked at families with children already chosen, and learned about the multitude of medical issues cited. With hundreds of children featured, my eyes always returned to Hallie… It was God’s plan.
The site makes it easy to look through the hundreds of children listed and gives a place for individuals to “sponsor” a child or group of children with a financial donation that might help find them a home. I’ve found that most families who adopt SN children are everyday middle class people who have God’s love in their hearts, but not the financial means to pay cash for an adoption. And these families many times will not stop at one SN child, they will bring home 2 or 3 or more, as they grow their families over the years. So financial assistance can mean an adoption is possible NOW, vs. 2 years from now. Reese’s Rainbow continues with financial support by allowing people to donate funds even after a child is chosen. Family grants help with those final expenses. The adoption that you think will cost 20K when you start can easily grow to 30K before the child comes home.
Rainbow Kids is a totally different kind of site from Reece’s Rainbow. It is an on-line information center. It hosts articles written by parents and professionals about the various aspects of adoption and on a multitude of special needs. I think it’s the best place to start if you’re even thinking about adopting a child with special needs. Also on the site is a photo listing of available children. Some of the postings have photos, and other just descriptions. They will each direct you to an agency advocating for that child. You still need to do all your homework investigating the various agencies and it’s not too safe to fall in love with a photo because that child could be gone by the time you can travel.
As I kept looking at Hallie, I decided to finally contact her agency. Hopscotch Adoption was the listing agency. I did all the research on the agency and didn’t find any negatives. I had already joined several chat groups on yahoo about various aspects of adoption, including agency research. I think I’m pretty versed now about the bad agencies and the good. I’m also partial to smaller agencies where you get more personal service. I don’t like being just another family in a pile of dossiers.
While I’m discussing Hopscotch Adoptions, I’ll fast forward to the end so you don’t have to keep reading to piece it together. I found the agency very ethical and straight-forward. They would answer my questions and everything came out as expected. We weren’t asked for any additional money, “to make the adoption to quicker”, or for any unexpected expenses. I truly believe they have a heart for the special needs children and although they also place “healthy” children, their passion is placing special children. I wouldn’t hesitate to use them again.