I am, naturally, getting lots and lots of questions. So, I'm going to answer most of them here. Feel free to leave a comment and ask any more questions you have. I'll do a FAQ--Part 2 later.
1. Is her name Charlotte or Sara? I'm confused. Reece's Rainbow has her listed as Charlotte. I'm not sure why they do this. The closest thing to her real name is Sara. Her name will be Sara Rebecca Keller.
2. It's free to adopt kids with special needs, right? Sadly, that's not true. It's true of some domestic foster-care adoptions but not international adoptions. The total cost of the adoption will be about $25,000. Yep! That's a huge amount. I'm applying for grants to cover some of that. I'm also relying on my generous friends and supporters of Reece's rainbow to help out. You can do that here.
3. Why aren't you adopting domestically? Believe it or not, there is a waiting list for people waiting to adopt children with Down Syndrome in the US. In most foreign countries, children with DS are put into institutions around the age of 6 to "live" out the rest of their lives. I will never be able to stop that practice or rescue all the children who have this as a fate. However, I can help one.
4. Do you have to go pick her up? Yes. I will have to spend 4-6 weeks in her country finalizing paperwork and legalities.
5. When will she come home? International adoptions are very unpredictable. When they say "go," I have to go. I'm really praying that it will be August. This would coincide with my 3 week summer break and allow me 3 extra weeks of time off without having to worry about using all my sick time. It would also allow me to work summer school to save up some money for my travel.
6. Can you take time off from work? Yes. I can take FMLA as a maternity leave. I have about 5 weeks of sick time saved up. If it worked out in August, I could take 8 weeks off.
7. Does she speak English? Nope. Good thing I speak Spanish! I will probably speak Spanish at home for a while. Time to put all those grad school classes in ESL to use.
8. Is she going to the school where you teach? I don't know. I haven't met with the school district yet. She will qualify for early childhood special ed services. My district only has one student at my school so that doesn't look promising. However, my district has a very good Sped program and a great ESL program.
9. How does your family feel about this decision? My family and friends have all been INCREDIBLY supportive. I have no doubt that she has already been accepted as a part of my family.
10. So, now what? Right now, I am continuing with the home study process and compiling my dossier. Basically, lots and LOTS of paperwork and lots of checks being written. When the home study is finished, I can start applying for grants. When all the paperwork is done, it gets sent to Homeland Security and to the foreign government. Then, I wait for the OK from both of them.
11. My favorite question from my youngest brother: Are you going to bring her EVERY time you come to NY? Yep. That's the plan! I'm sure her Nana will gladly watch her so we can get our usual activities in.
Leave me a comment and let me know what other questions you have.