Now that we have been in the adoption process for several months, I have gotten quite a few questions. So, I wanted to just take a moment to answer some of those here in case it helps anyone else out!
1. Will J speak English?
No! We have gathered that for the first 2 years of her life she was probably spoken to in Swahili, but now at the orphanage they speak Lingala. We will teach her English just like you would a baby- with pictures, pointing, books, videos, and lots of communicating. Children pick up pretty stinkin' fast (most of the time).
2. Will she need diapers?
The children do NOT wear diapers at the orphanage, so we won't fully know until we get her. We are NOT buying diapers in advance because it could be a total waste of money. My guess is that she will have "potty" experience so at the most she made need pull-ups.
3. What are you going to do with her hair?
If at all possible, she will have a fro ASAP :) They keep the hair short or bald for several different reasons. Of course, lice and ringworm run rampant among children so no hair is better than a head full in an orphanage. I will try to learn how to fix her hair once it grows in, but I'm pretty fumble-fingered, so if need be, we will visit the beauty shop! I do visit http://www.chocolatehairvanillacare.com/ regularly just so that I'll be informed on how to take care of her hair.
4. Once she is here, when we will be able to meet her?
This is a pretty hard one to answer. When you have a baby through birth, the baby naturally bonds with the mother and father, so you don't have to "work" at the bonding. But, in adoption, families need time to attach, adjust, and bond together. We are pretty much making up for the 3 years that we haven't been able to spend together. It may be several weeks or even months before she is brought out into the "real-world" or it may not take that long. Jared and I are preparing for the worst, aka being locked in our cave, but hoping that she adapts well. When we do start introducing her to people, we will start with the people that she will see regularly, those closest to us, and then slowly continue introducing her to everyone in our lives! You will get to meet her at some point, but we will make sure that we do what's best for our little girl. We do not want to overwhelm her :)
5. Can I babysit her?
NO... haha just kidding! But seriously, our moms will have to fight you for that, so you can take it up with them :) Does anyone really WANT to babysit anyways?! I always did when I was a teenager, but I never got excited about it, haha! In all realness, I don't foresee Jared and I needing a babysitter all that often. She will go everywhere with us, except for the occasional date night :)
6. Are you going to stay at home with her?
I will take a maternity leave just like a preggo would. I don't really know all of the ins and outs of how this will go, but I will probably take 8 weeks off (including our travel time). If I need to take more, then I'll make that happen also. Jared will take a couple of weeks off also so that he can bond with J as well. Thankfully, he can do a lot of work from home, and has a fairly flexible job. But, we have both been saving up our days so that we have plenty to give. When we both return to work, J will be going to a Montessori school in our neighborhood. Her teacher is FABULOUS, and it has been a total God thing. She is from Uganda, knows J's native language, and is very hands-on when it comes to teaching. I couldn't be more thrilled!
7. Isn't adoption expensive? How much does it cost?
Ohmiword, yes it is expensive. When you adopt internationally, you are probably going to pay between 30,000-40,000. It really depends on which country you are adopting from. But, can you really put a price tag on a child? When you are right where God wants you to be, He will provide all that you need!
AND THE NUMBER ONE QUESTION THAT WE GET MULTIPLE TIMES A DAY GOES TOOOOOO......
8. When will you be able to get her? What takes so long?
Well, friends, sadly enough we have zero clue right now when we will get to travel. In June we were told that it could be September or October, but a lot has happened since then. The latest we have heard is that it could be March before we get to go. Unfortunately, there are a lot of agencies (not ours) that are doing illegal business with adoptions, so the Congolese government is starting to crack-down. Everything is a process, and you can't start one step until you've been given clearance. So, we are in the waiting zone once again. We do know that there's literally nothing physically we can do to speed up the process, so we just have to trust that God will work out all of the details. His timing is perfect in every way.
Have any other questions for us, just let me know! A lot of times people don't want to ask us questions because they don't want to upset us, but you won't! We are very open about our adoption process, and are excited to answer any and all questions when it comes to our little girl :)