by Kelly Bandas 5 Lives Impacted Palo, Eastern Visayas, Philippines
**NEW UPDATE**For those of you who have been following our adoption story over the last two-and-a-half years, you know there have been QUITE a ...
For those of you who have been following our adoption story over the last two-and-a-half years, you know there have been QUITE a few hills and valleys throughout the process. There was that time when we found out one of our adoption agencies forgot a giant part of our home study and we had to beg the U.S. government to grant us more time. And then there was the time I had to drag a two-year-old to the Tennessee state house to get 5 lbs of documents Apostilled, only to find out later that we didn’t need them. Oh my gosh, AND that time… nope, you know what? I’m gonna stop.
Because there was also that one time when I met another mom at the zoo, who was looking for her son, CJ (who was also hearing impaired) and we helped her find him at the top of the tallest slide. And then there was that day I got to talk to another mom who’d been to CJ’s orphanage recently to pick up her own daughter and while she was there she held CJ in her lap and played with him. And best of all, there was that time last week, right after Brian and I stepped off the plane on our way home from Costa Rica and my phone rang and it was our adoption agency calling to say we got our placement proposal and they would be telling CJ that we are his family and I am his mom and he would be coming to live with us and that it wouldn’t be long now.
That was the best so far.
We’re still not sure when exactly we will travel to go pick him up, but we’re so close to the finish line it’s finally starting to feel like he’s really our son and this is really something we’re doing and we’re not just some crazy people trying to manifest a third Bandas boy into being. I feel safe enough to put CJ’s picture up on the refrigerator in between Archie’s sponge painting of a Jack-o-Lantern and Oliver’s school lunch calendar. And as we all know, coveted refrigerator real estate is reserved for kin only.
But let’s get down to brass tacks, I know a lot of you might be wondering “What is a placement proposal anyway?” and “Why does it matter?” Because to read this, it kinds of sounds like your son is still halfway around the world, living in an orphanage and I’ll be the first to point out that, yes that does seem less than ideal. The placement proposal is essentially the government in the Philippines saying to us one last time, “We’ve reviewed every last shred of evidence about you guys and we still think you seem nice and normal enough. Are you sure you’re game to adopt CJ?” and we answer that by signing some papers in front of our notary and saying, “We appreciate you thinking that we’re nice and normal! YES, we are still VERY game.”
Now was wait for the formal acceptance of that paperwork, file one more document with the U.S. government and wait to travel.
And according to my undercover sources, it’s possible that we could be ringing in 2019 as a family… and I think that’s what they call a freaking mic drop.
We found him!
Our sitter had come over for the day, so that I could have a few hours to myself and I’d already accomplished so much! Canceled my gym membership (working out in our garage is so much free-er!), attempted to mail my mom a package (the USPS was almost able to help me with this!), and stopped to put air in my tires (they were already all at the exact right PSI, I just had a broken sensor!)
But just as I sat down at my favorite local coffee shop and peeled open my laptop – the phone rang.
“This is going to sound completely out of the blue…” the conversation with one of our social workers began. I froze, anticipating the phrase that came next to be something along the lines of, “Have you considered that you and your husband might not be cut out to parent any additional children?”
But she began to tell me about a little boy.
He lives in the Philippines and he will be two in September. For those of you who’ve been following our adoption story, you know that we were not planning on adopting from the Philippines. Not even close. In fact, we weren’t even planning on adopting from that continent. But things with our adoption had slowed to a snail’s pace (and we hadn’t yet been matched with a child) and just yesterday we were hit with another bizarre hurdle to overcome. I was frustrated and tired.
Honestly, I was pissed.
But then the phone rang. An email was sent. And there he was. A little boy with huge eyes, pudgy little fingers and a crooked smile. Waiting for us. I instantly imagined him as the third Bandas Boy in our family and cried in public, all alone at my computer.
And again several weeks later, when we got our first video of the little guy. You see, it’s been three months since we first heard the news and for those three months, we’ve been praying that the right doors would open, and the powers that be in the Philippines would choose our family to be his family.
Last week they did.
On Thursday morning I learned about my son, who lives halfway around the world, via an excited voicemail from our social worker. We’d been pre-approved for placement!
So now all that’s left to do is a million things. But who cares? Because we found him! And we can do all the things. Sure they will be hard and frustrating and annoying and most of them will probably have to be done over at least twice because #government, but who cares?
Because we found him.-----------
Kelly and I were reflecting on the obscenely long list of things that we have
to be thankful for. (Two awesome, healthy sons, food, a roof over our heads, a
great city, good jobs, Netflix... you know, the usual.) and we felt a yearning
to--rather than hoarding all this goodness for ourselves--share what has been
so generously bestowed upon us.
Over something fried and a cold beverage at our favorite restaurant, I said, "So, should we adopt a child?"
To my surprise she replied, "I've been thinking about that constantly."
So now,after weeks and weeks with a Magic Eight Ball (oh, and also lots of prayer and advice from other adoptive parents)--chosen an agency (All God's Children International) and a country (Burundi, baby!) and we are beginning the journey.
I know that it will be tiring, frustrating, scary, and above all, straight up amazing.
We wish that we could offer a loving home to every orphan on planet Earth. For now, we are hoping to change the life of one sweet little baby.
Thank you so much for contributing to this, and helping to provide a loving home and two awesome older brothers to a sweet child in need.
We've started this fundraiser on Pure Charity to raise the funding that we need to make our adoption a success. The adoption will cost somewhere between $40,000-45,000 including medical and psychological exams, international travel, agency and orphanage fees and donations, and countless other miscellaneous costs.
We are committed as a family to saving, and to paying whatever remainder we are unable to raise through fundraising and grants. We know that the more that we are able to raise, the better position we'll be in to bring a child into a fantastic situation.
Thanks again for considering a donation to such a wonderful cause! Thanks for helping us change the world for one child!