Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Story of Provision: Xander's Adoption

Stories of provision have always amazed me. I get goosebumps and can't help but announce "Praise God" when I read them, hear them or tell them. Brandon and I often lay in bed, or sit over a meal and reminisce over how abundantly we've been provided for in different circumstances... usually right in the nick of time.

When most people find out that we have adopted, funding an adoption usually is where the conversation goes next. I love encouraging people that God does indeed provide for His orphans!

Brandon's company added an adoption benefit and we found out on Christmas Day 2008. Since he was taken off of one distribution list and not put on the new distribution list when changing offices, he hadn't gotten the email from Human Resources describing the new benefit. Instead, we found out from one of his coworkers. We had invited K and Q over for Christmas Dinner. They also transferred into Richmond and couldn't go home for the holiday. So we figured the more the merrier and invited them.

K and Q live in the same apartment complex but their place has a different layout, so they asked for the grand tour. When we got to the third (smallest) bedroom, I casually said that it was the junk room and would eventually be another child's bedroom because we wanted to adopt. K's eyes got really big and she asked Brandon if he got the memo that their company had added an adoption benefit. He said no. She couldn't remember the details so Brandon looked up the new benefit after K and Q went home. I remember sitting on the couch bawling like a baby... his company had added a $5,000 adoption reimbursement. $5,000 is ALOT of money!

Before we transferred, we had inquired with several agencies and social workers and never seemed to get anywhere. Brandon and I prayed after hearing the news of the new benefit and decided that we were to call and get information. We were ready to start our homestudy.

We had nothing saved specifically for an adoption. I mean... not a dime. I remember praying before making my phone calls to several agencies. A homestudy alone was $1800 in our area. I blinked and gulped hard.. and made an appointment for our first visit. $600 would need to be paid at that time.

Brandon and I looked over our budget spreadsheets and "found" enough money for that first appointment by cutting back some discretionary spending and putting off some planned purchases.

We paid that first $600 and went to our first appointment. We went over the various types of adoption... and their related expenses. We made our next appointment in faith that we would have the next $600 in time. We had some paperwork/document things to take care of and each one had a fee. We always managed to have JUST ENOUGH to pay those fees. Fingerprinting, background checks, etc were all paid in cash.

Again we had the money for our next appointment. Brandon received three paychecks in January 2009 and we had enough for the remaining $1200 balance, by scrimping on groceries, watching our gas usage, etc.

So our homestudy was paid for. And I breathed a huge sigh of relief.

We started a savings account and regularly put little bits of money in there. It wasn't a lot. I stayed up many nights looking at the numbers, looking over the budget spreadsheets, etc. I'm sad to share that many times, I thought we had just spent $1800 on our homestudy for NOTHING. Doubt definitely crept in and made itself at home.

March 24th our adoption homestudy was approved and it was in my hot little hands. I remember checking the balance on our savings account and it was only a little over $1000. Not nearly enough to adopt. I prayed for God to make a way. We had stepped out in faith... we heard the call of the orphan... I remember begging God 'Please please, show us how to pay for this!"

To be perfectly honest, several of our relatives thought we were a bit insane. "You paid $1800 for a homestudy and you don't even have the money for the actual adoption? What are you thinking? You should have waited until you had it all in an account!" But Brandon and I had felt this sudden sense of urgency.. we needed to do it right then!

Shortly after we were approved, I got a call from our homestudy worker. She called to tell us that she had received an email from an adoption coordinator that worked for another agency. The other agency was networking to find potential adoptive parents for an African American baby girl due in May. The birthmother wanted the child to have at least one sister and she thought of us since we had two daughters. She didn't have any other information and gave us the number to the agency.

We called and found out that that agency had a sliding scale for their adoption fees! We also found out that based on our household income from the previous year our placement fee would be $5,000! (Yes, the exact amount that Brandon's company would reimburse us!)

We had our homestudy sent to the agency and started preparing our profile. They were going to show it on April 20th at a meeting with the birthmother that was due in May.

We continued to save.. but we were nowhere near $5000!

April 13th, I got a call asking if we were interested in a biracial baby boy.. Brandon and I prayed and said yes... Now remember we were NOWHERE near $5000! The adoption coordinator told us to bring our adoption profile by the next morning and we'd be in the stack for the birthmother to look over.

I got a huge knot in my stomach... We didn't have the cash! What if we were picked? How on earth was this going to work?

I woke up in the middle of the night, that very night.. and realized that we had just filed our income taxes! It wasn't $5000 though. I ran downstairs and added up the amount we had in savings, and the amount of our tax refund and it was $5120. It was the perfect amount! $5000 for the placement and we still needed an infant carseat.

Brandon called the adoption coordinator and explained that we were waiting on our tax refund to complete our adoption fund... she said that she could work with us and not to worry.

We were picked by Xander's birthmother on April 14th, and met our first son on April 15th.

Guess when the check came? April 25th.. Xander came home on April 27th.

PRAISE GOD! (Told you I couldn't hear, read or tell a story of provision without shouting that!)

God didn't stop there! We had to pay a lawyer to finalize our adoption after our 6 month placement and post placement visits. We were given the name of a lawyer from a friend and when we called we found out that their charge was $1000. Brandon and I prayed to see if this was the lawyer we would retain.

A few days later, I casually mentioned to our adoption coordinator that we were calling various lawyers to find out what their fees were. She gave me the name and number of a lawyer she has worked with a few times. We called and their estimate was much lower. It was approximately $650. Before we even asked about payments, we were told that they understood that we had just paid for an adoption and they would take payments. Brandon explained that we were going to be getting $5000 reimbursed after we had the paperwork showing that we had finalized our adoption. They let us know it was okay to pay them afterwards.

I sent that check this last Friday. Everything is paid in full.


When people ask about funding an adoption, I always tell them that God will abundantly bless their efforts! I have several friends that have adopted and I'm ALWAYS in awe when they share their stories of provision for their new additions.

1 comment:

Erika said...

Praise God, Stephanie. That is such an awesome story, thanks for sharing it.