Adoption is something that my wife and I have both wanted to do for years. Even before we were married, we talked about the possibility of adopting children someday. We both desired to open our home and our hearts to children who do not have a loving family. Currently, my wife and I are waiting for foreign country approval of our dossier. Afterwards, we are simply waiting for to be matched with the kids! And, yes, we hope that it will be kids plural since we have have articulated our openness to a sibling group of two children of either gender.
There is also a heavenly parallel in adoption. For those who are in Christ, God refers to us as adopted sons (and daughters). Even though we were not naturally born into the family of salvation, when we trust in Christ, God adopts us in. He loves us unconditionally, no matter where we came from. We both want to love our kids with that same unconditional love and want our own family to be a picture of this heavenly truth.
One thing you should note is that adoption costs a lot of money. Really, an inordinate amount of money. Currently without children, we have been very well equipped to save money towards this endeavor, and my wife has accumulated many thousand dollars of saved tip money in the last two years. The travel costs of adoption can be steep as well. We are adopting from Costa Rica, and the in-country stay for the process is 7-8 weeks. Although this length of time varies widely between countries, Costa Rica has determined that this is the time it usually takes them to work through all the necessary legal actions associated with the adoption, and it allows a gradual time of introduction and bonding between parents and children.
As one of the presenters in our adoption education said, from a child’s perspective, adoption is a lot like alien abduction. We, strangers to them, literally take them from everything they know, put them on this noisy thing that flies through the sky, and arrive in a place that is completely foreign to them and live in a house that has never been their home. To expect that a child will adjust quickly after adoption is asking too much.
Which brings me to the fact that I think a roughly two month stay in Costa Rica is a brilliant idea. It will give us direct access to our agency’s workers and to the orphanage or foster home from where we are adopting our kids, and it will allow for the first period of bonding between us and or kids to be in their familiar surroundings. Not ours. It will also give us a fantastic opportunity to explore the our children’s native country and to experience their culture!
However, a stay of this length will be costly. The adoption agency already has our lodging location selected, and we have a pretty good idea on the price. Food costs are fairly easy to estimate, and since I will be working from Costa Rica for the duration of the stay, our normal food budget should hopefully cover things. However, the total for lodging and transportation will still be substantial, and we won’t exactly get a respite on our bills back home.
Which brings me to the point of this post: over the past year I have been madly collecting airline miles with our adoption trip in mind. Currently, I am looking at Southwest, Delta, and American miles as our best options. Southwest generally has very good prices, and redemption rates to San Jose, Costa Rica are generally better than other major U.S. carriers, mile for mile, and…they are still my favorite airline. Delta routes a lot of flights through Los Angeles, so this could minimize travel time, which could be a plus with kids. American miles are simply a better value than Delta since we would require 10,000 (or more) fewer each way, and a lot of options give us an overnight layover in Miami that would be long enough for us to book a hotel and get some rest. I have lots of time to decide. I just want to have multiple options.
It never hurts to plan ahead, though, and we are doing the planning that we can with so much unknown ahead. We have no idea how the kids will react to flying. One thing we do know: we cannot wait to meet our two beloved Tico children!