Adoption Part 2 – Bulgaria Phase

Adoption in the United States continues to be popular but international adoptions are on the decline. According to the Legal Language site the reason international adoptions are declining is due to due the tragedy of the adoption program in Guatemala where women were being paid to place their children into adoption programs. In addition the debacle of the child sent back to Russia put a dampener of adoptions from that country. The peak was in 2004 at nearly 23,000 and in 2010 will likely be around 10,000. Regardless, if your heart is for adoption, there are many wonderful domestic and international options. Also consider foster to adopt programs as well which there are many waiting children.

Stacey’s Story

Our first six months of living in Main with my new frau were both exciting and very eye opening. It turned out to be quite an experience. At the time I was working in a sales position with an advertising business and we did two weeks of intensive training in Austin which was far from the cold weather of Alaska. In late September, it was still 95 degrees in Austin and wouldn’t you guess that it was already snowing back home in Main!

The new marriage with Rodney was going smoothly in some ways, but very concerning in other ways. My husband, Rodney (which has been changed for confidentiality purposes), treated me with appreciation, tenderness, respect and love. This was exactly the way I wanted and deserved to be treated, and experiencing it for the first time filled me with appreciation and awe. It was all that I had hoped for in our new marriage.

But, what was really concerning me was his finances and money situation. Although I had never earned a lot of money, I handled my money carefully, I made sure to pay my bills on time, treated myself occasionally to something special based on what I knew I could afford. I definitely focused on living with in my means. Rodney, however, did not do the same. I soon found his credit card balances were very high, the payments were always late if he even made them at all. His car payments were also behind, as were the home mortgage payments. Basically nothing was in good shape. At that stage I started to border on complete panic, I spoke to him very seriously about it, and he readily agreed to let me take over handling our money.

That was a relief and in fact, he seemed quite grateful for my help. It was a big undertaking to get things into a manageable mode and it was difficult, but not totally impossible. Thankfully my earnings ended up being much higher than expected, and that helped make a dent in the debt Rodney had accrued. We soon cut up Rodney’s credit cards after I transferred the balances to my cards which we were able to do at a much lower rate. I knew it was something we would be working on for a good while.

One Sunday afternoon my brother and his wife called with a very exciting announcement – they had decided to adopt an eight year old boy! We both jumped on our computers to see their future son’s picture on the adoption agency’s web site. He was such a cutie! The boy was from another country and they proceeded to tell me about their travel plans to visit him and ultimately bring him home to America. I was very very excited for them – what great news! They had hoped for sometime to start a new family and going the adoption route was very exciting news indeed.

A few foster to adopt facts:

  • There are 423,773 children in the U.S. foster care system; 114,556 of these children are available for adoption.
  • Last year, 29,471 children turned 18 and left the foster care system without an adoptive family.
  • Nearly 40 percent of American adults – 81+ million people, have considered adopting. If one in 500 were to adopt then every waiting child in foster care would have a permanent family.

Read More at The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoptions

After our chat I stayed on the adoption agency’s web site and found it very intriguing and fascinating! This particular agency specialized in international adoptions of orphaned children in several countries including China, Moldova, Ukraine, the Marshall Islands and… you guessed it Bulgaria. I immediately thought to my self – Bulgaria? My curiosity continued to drive me to look at the photos of Bulgarian children on the site. There were so many children! Then I scanned to the last page on the list… and then I saw “her”. She was a tiny little girl with short, blondish hair, one crossed eye and a little sweet face.

To read more about adopting in Bulgaria – check out the US Embassy’s adoption information site.

The profile on the web site said her name was Lidiya and her age was five. I stared at of all the photos of the available children. I was wondering why did this one of this little girl grab me so strongly and seemed to tug at my hear? Quickly I read some of her information and all about the adoption requirements for Bulgaria. I found out adoptive parents could be no more than 43 years older than the child they wanted to adopt. As it turned out, I was exactly 43 years older than Lidiya. On the other hand, Rodney was 55 years older than Lidiya – oh no! I immediately wondered if Rodney’s age would be a show stopper? Wait – I realized my first thought was to adopt!?

I felt both excited and a bit frightened and scared as well. These strong feelings for adoption hadn’t welled up deep inside of me for many many years. And why NOW, and at my age of all the timing? My two children were grown already and Rodney with his ex had raised seven children, the youngest of whom was 16 and still living at home with us. Even thinking about adoption at all, much less bringing up the subject to Rodney at this time would be completely crazy – wouldn’t it? I would have to give it some deep thought. Could we raise a new daughter? What challenges would like ahead? How would she fair coming to a new country, learning a new language, and our culture. Would she have health issues? All these thoughts were running through my head.

Rodney walked in the door as I was making dinner that evening. We greeted and kissed each other as usual and he sat down and asked “How was your Sunday?”. “Good” I replied quite nervously. Sensing my odd mood, Rodney walked up behind me and rested his chin on my shoulder – “What’s up with good? Come on, tell me what you did on your day off.” I could tell he was sensing that something was on my mind.

Famous People Who Have Adopted

  • Madonna – Malawi
  • Angelina Jolie – Cambodia, Ethiopia, and Vietnam
  • Sharon Stone
  • Babe Ruth
  • Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman
  • Find out about more famous adoptions at American Adoptions

“Well, I went back to sleep after you headed out, then I did some chores and errands and … oh yeah and I chatted John and Wendy for a while.” Rodney faked being bored. Realizing it was futile for me to continue with the charade any further, I grabbed him and asked “Come on over to the to look at the net with me. I want to show you something…”

As I sat at the computer, Rodney stood behind me in complete silence. He leaned on the back of the chair, looking over my shoulder – I could feel his breath on the back of my neck. The web site came up on the screen and I scrolled to the section with all the photos of the Bulgarian children. I was thinking that at any second Rodney would burst out with questions but he still said nothing. I quickly skipped the first couple of pages and went directly to the last page and stopped. Instantly spotting Lidiya’s picture, I pointed at it with a bit of nervousness. Without looking at Rodney at all, I asked him, “Would you be interested in adopting this sweet looking little girl?” With such a direct question coming out my mouth was quite surprising to me… I waited with baited breath for his response – in someway expecting the worst.

State Department Information on Bulgarian Adoptions – Inter-country Adoptions – State Department

Rodney stopped resting and stood straight up. He was very silent and didn’t utter a single word. I turned around to look up at him standing there and he had tears in his eyes! I stood up and hugged him and he quietly said “Yes”. I was thrilled thinking to my self, could I really believe what I was hearing from Rodney’s lips? After all of these years, here were Rodney and I, ages 49 and 61, with ten , grown children (and one still at home) between the two of us and contemplating continuing parenthood with an adopted orphan child from Bulgaria! Wow, what a difference one day and one dream can make in life!

Stay tuned in for the next in our series on this adoption journey. You will not want to miss it! This is really just the start of our journey.

Stacey A. Lundgren is a professional speaker and coach, presenter of character education programs in schools, author of the acclaimed book on kindness True Bucketfilling Stories: Legacies of Love, and writes the Life Coach column for Troy Media.

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