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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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'A rainbow family'

We are an interracial couple, so adopting internationally seemed like the obvious thing to do. From the time we got married in 1996, we have talked about adopting children of other races to create a rainbow family. We firmly believe in racial harmony and felt this would be an exciting way to live out this conviction.

After 10 years of marriage, we got serious about our dream to adopt. Online we researched the adoption laws, costs and timelines for various countries, including South Korea, Guatemala and Barbados. In our hearts, though, we’d already settled on China. This choice also stems from our convictions: We believe in gender equality. Tens of thousands of baby girls are abandoned each year in China. We felt called to welcome one of these girls into our family to demonstrate that, though the patriarchal values of her culture don’t recognize it, she is infinitely valuable. She is God’s child and we long for her to be our child.

In February 2006 we began the adoption process and assembled our paperwork in five months. During this time there was a flurry of activity: A social worker conducted a home study, we visited our doctor, completed financial statements, obtained official copies of our birth and marriage certificates, and traveled eight hours round-trip to get our fingerprints taken for the Homeland Security permit to bring a foreign child into the country. Each document had to be verified three times: by a local notary, the Secretary of State and the Chinese Consulate of the region. It was an immense relief to mail the completed packet to our agency to be translated into Chinese and then sent off to China.

If the processing rate remains the same, we’ll receive our referral in October. The referral is a packet that informs us of the child with whom we have been matched and provides health information and photographs. Once we accept this referral, we’ll be off to China within a couple of months. We’ll spend two weeks there, completing the adoption. We hope by year’s end we’ll come home with our baby.

Nearly two years is a very long “pregnancy.” How do you have the patience? People ask us this all the time. It’s difficult, but our faith sustains us. We know our daughter will be less than a year at the time of referral, which means she could be born at any time. Daily we pray for her, for her biological parents, for her caregivers at the orphanage and the foster parents she may have. It’s difficult knowing that all these landmark events are happening in our daughter’s life right now and we are on the other side of the globe oblivious to it all. Yet we have the comfort of knowing that God knows—of trusting that our little bundle of joy is being held in God’s hands and will eventually be delivered into ours. How exciting it is to be “expecting” in this way!

We have so many plans for our daughter. We are well aware that in homogeneous northeast Iowa, issues of race will certainly be a part of her life with us. We also know she will have to face the reality that she was abandoned. But we love her already. We have two congregations eager to welcome her. And we are ready to instill in her a sense of her amazing worth, a sense of pride in who she is and the unique and beautiful culture from which she came. We trust that God will imbue us with the wisdom and love to do so.


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