Natalie and I went to an Ethiopia workshop yesterday at Gladney. While it didn't really meet our personal objectives for the day, we are still glad we went. The primary focus was on the Ethiopian culture with a heavy emphasis on the challenges families face when adopting older children from Ethiopia due to the stark contrast in the American and Ethiopian cultures. Natalie and I had some great chats in the car, especially on the way back from Fort Worth after the workshop.
We talked a lot about who specifically we would like to adopt. We generally agree on the following. We would like to adopt multiple children at once. As far as the specific number of children, we talk about two or three, but we will leave the final number up to God's sovereignty. We don't really have a preference on gender (though our kids do! more on that later). Due to a combination of personal preferences and adoption agency policies, the oldest child we adopt needs to be at least a year younger than Hannah, so four years old by the time this would happen. The one aspect where Natalie and I diverge somewhat is on the minimum age we want to adopt. Natalie would really like at least one of the children we adopt to be under 12 months old, while I am indifferent to that factor. At the same time, Natalie has more of a heart for adopting multiple children than she does the age of the children, so this is a secondary preference for her.
I am reading a really good book right now. It is called Born in Our Hearts by Filis and Marisa Casey. It is a compilation of stories by people involved with adoptions - birth mothers, adoptive parents, adopted children, birth siblings of adopted children, and grandparents. The stories are really encouraing and, at times, quite emotional for me to read. It has also helped increase my sensitivity to various aspects of adoption.
We told Caleb and Hannah (ages 5 and 4) this morning about our current processing of whether the Lord would have us adopt. We started by asking them if they knew what adoption was, and Caleb quickly responded with a good description. We then asked them what they thought about us adopting, and they were both very excited. Caleb talked about wanting to have more brothers and sisters, and then Hannah quickly said she only wanted sisters :). Hannah is all girl! We then talked about how they would have to share rooms with new siblings if we did this, and they were really excited about that as well, especially Caleb. Hannah was excited too, but only if she still got to sneak into our bed sometimes :).
We have dinner tonight with the Wilkins family who recently adopted from Russia. We look forward to learning from their wisdom.