Well howdy, everyone! Brace yourself for a doozy of a post, a’ight? First of all, remember when I posted last time that I’d been sick? Well, if two doctor’s were correct in their diagnosis’, I had come down with the only disease you can get on this island, a mosquito-carried virus called Dengue Fever. To give you a hint as to its severity, it is called “The Bonecrusher” and “Bonebreakers Disease” in Spanish. I was blessed enough to only have a mild version, which excluded the body rash and hemorrhaging, but thankfully still included the insane body/joint pain, fever, vomiting, headache, and explosive diarrhea. (Can’t get enough of the la duze [Chinese for explosive diarrhea])
For the first 5 days of the visiting mission trip, I would show up at some point during the day, try to wave hello, make sure they were doing alright, and then allow the taxi driver to drag me by my ankle back into the car and to our front doorstep, where I would lie until the ants took over and brought me inside. (Probably because they didn’t care for my donation of la duze) However, after 5 days of absolutely no food, I was back to my target weight and was able to cease participation in the Dengue Diet, as I’ve termed it. Even though it was over three weeks ago, I am STILL getting the comments from people who I haven’t seen: “Dang, man, what happened to you? You lost a bunch of weight!” This brings up all kinds of questions in my head like, “Wow, youngsters are pretty forward these days” and “Sheesh, what did I look like before to make everyone comment?” and “Am I just eating because I’m bored?” Needless to say, the Dengue has passed (pun) and I’m back to my “normal” self. (For more on the thrills of Dengue Fever, click HERE)
Anyway, things were plugging along quite normally for us until last Monday. Then it happened. Well, wait, let me pull a Quentin Tarentino on you and give you the ending first: WE’RE ADOPTING AT LEAST ONE CHILD FROM DOMINICA!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Does the title make fun sense, now?)
There, now that that’s out of the way, we can start at the very beginning (yes, a very good place to start). I’ll start by allowing Jacelyn to speak:
Hi, everyone! I wanted to share with you a super-brief history of how God has placed adoption in our hearts. For me, the desire to adopt began in high school when I heard a woman speak about her work with street children in Romania. Over the years, that desire has simply never died. While Nic and I were still dating, but beginning to talk of our future, we agreed that we would love to adopt internationally. We had an “ah-ha” moment when we realized the very simple truth that right at this moment, all over the world, there are innumerable children who need a home, and a family, and need people to open their hearts to them. Even after getting married, and developing the natural, maternal desire to have biological children, the calling to adopt has remained as strong as ever. God has helped me see that just as he builds families naturally, he can also place us together as families through adoption. He will masterfully build our family just as beautifully as any other! By no means is adoption a second-best option or a last-resort. It’s an incredible opportunity to share God’s love and the love of a family with a child who would otherwise go without. Lastly, I have to mention that while we have long hoped that by adopting we would be a blessing to others, God has already used it to graciously bless us; He has used this calling to ease the struggle that Nic and I have had to face with our fertility difficulties. Now, as we are finally embarking on this journey that has been in our hearts for so long, the blessings simply continue. (Wow–God sure has an amazing way of doing that!)
So, though this is the Dynamic Davidson Duo’s Dominica Blog, we are going to embark on the journey of the adoption process with you, both so that you’ll know what’s up with us AND so that you’ll see that adoption is attainable (in case you’re interested in following suit). Even thus far, it has been a winding and long road, so, it will take a couple of posts to get ya’ll up to speed. So, let’s start with how we started.
About a month after moving to Dom, without even talking about it with each other, we both started to feel like it was “just time” to start the adoption process in some way. After realizing that the timing was right, it became completely clear to us that spending 16 months on an island just might afford us the time to process an adoption here on-island. So, one of our first steps was to google “adoption on Dominica”, which lead us to locate a lawyer on the island who would help with the process. We found one guy, called him up, scheduled a consult, got excited, showed up, and, after quoting rates, he asked us if we had a child “picked out”. We found that to be hilarious. I was tempted to say, “Actually, yeah, on the way here, I saw this kid on the street and he had an amazing fro, so, how ’bout him?” I didn’t say that, and he proceeded to tell us that we had to contact him when we found a child.
So, we walked away bewildered. (The fro kid was gone, so we truly were up a creek) We then began to just tell every local we met that we were interested in adopting from the island and to get a hold of us if they knew of anything.(Luckily, I had done a sketch of the fro kid, just in case we could locate him) We’d always talked about wanting to adopt siblings who were a bit older, since that is the demographic that is far less likely to get adopted; so we specified that and just waited. Over the months, there were a couple of “possibilities” that faded before we could even make contact.
In fact, several people gave us phone numbers for people around Dominica, but they kept not being who we actually needed. At one point, we found a great adoption agency, but they couldn’t work with people who live outside of the US … so we went back to the drawing board (Fro Kid pun) with that. Then, a random person (so random that I truly can’t remember who gave me the number) gave us the number of the Social Services worker in Dominica that we actually needed. She told us how to proceed–and we did indeed have to find an adoption agency who could legitimize the process on the US end. So–we began searching again. And we found her!
At the same time as putting the word out on the island, we contacted some friends of ours from China who’d adopted three children in the past to ask them their advice and thoughts. They were INCREDIBLY helpful and put us on the right track to taking care of the U.S. side of adopting internationally. (Thank you SO much, Josh and Renee!) So, after MUCH perusing of the internet and contacting international adoption agencies, we made a great connection with Adopt Abroad, who specialize in helping people who live outside of the U.S. adopt children internationally. Though they have certain countries that they specifically work with, they will also help you adopt from the nation of your choice.
One of the more difficult and time consuming aspects to adopting while living outside of The States is that U.S. Immigration requires you to have a U.S. homestudy done by a licensed social worker. This can be tough, especially in a country like Dominica. Wonderfully, Adopt Abroad has compassionate, caring, and capable social workers who will gladly hop a plane and come to your humble abode, even to Pineapple Manor! (Our appointment is on August 9!) So, between September of 2011 and two weeks ago, we’ve just been quietly, persistently putting the word out, filling out papers, praying, and buying painting supplies, in case we find Fro Kid.
Anyway, things were plugging along quite normally for us until last Monday. Then it happened. I walked into a coffee stall owned by a local woman and, as soon as I walked through the door, she said, “WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN??????”
Tune in next time!
If you pray, when you pray, pray for us.
On to the next weave…