Kevin and Lisa DeGroot
Port Huron, MI
Birth Country: India
Decade of adoption: 2000 or later
After 10 years of off and on infertility treatments, we prayerfully decided God was leading us in a different direction. We were stationed with the Coast Guard in Mobile, Alabama at the time and read an article about a local agency that specialized in international adoption, Children of the World. After receiving their application in the mail, we felt drawn to India. Truthfully, the country cost, the fact that our baby could be escorted and a short wait were some of the factors that led us to this decision. After the initial shock of all the paperwork involved, we dug in and finished our dossier in about three months. On December 12, 2000, we received the news we had a son. It would be another four months before he was finally in our arms. I can tell you this is the toughest part of international adoption: the wait for your child after referral! When we were involved in the paperwork, we couldn't wait to send it in. But as soon as the paperwork was sent, we felt helpless! Suddenly we had nothing to do. We couldn't wait for a referral. The moment we set eyes on that referral picture, we were in love! Then the tough part: knowing someone else is feeding him, holding him, comforting him, and knowing we had to wait and trust. The magical moment we finally held our six month old son after his arrival on the 29th of April, 2001 is one of the best moments of our lives.
I say one of the best moments, because two years later we found ourselves in Chongchinq, China, meeting our baby daughter for the first time! Our son's orphanage closed down after 30 years of operation because of changes in India's laws. Adoption in India became very difficult and we followed God's lead and went to China for our daughter. She was 10 months old on "Gotcha Day." It was through this adoption experience that we discovered how important your agency is for keeping that vital connection to your baby during the waiting period after referral. Our agency for our China adoption was Great Wall of China, and we so appreciated their almost daily e-mails on any information they had about our daughter or travel. The trip to China was amazing and we also discovered through our daughter's adoption journey that traveling to our child's country of birth was very important and made such a lasting impression on us.
For this reason, we are traveling to Ethiopia for the adoption of our third child. We were led to Ethiopia because the short travel requirement: we will be in country for only a week. We were in China for almost three weeks, and although we loved every minute of it, having a four-year-old and two-year-old at home makes this travel length difficult for us. We also were led to Ethiopia because of the short wait times for referral and travel. Our agency, Children's Home Society and Family Services in Minnesota, is one of only four agencies that are licensed for adoptions in Ethiopia. We have the wonderful option of staying in the group foster home while we are in Ethiopia and look forward to this opportunity to see first hand our baby's caregivers and home for the first few months of her life.
God has truly blessed us with an amazing family and we find the diversity in our family is enriching for each of us. We celebrate holidays for each of our children's birth countries: Diwali for India, Chinese New Year, and we are now celebrating Ethiopia's New Year. We have artwork and books on their birth countries and regularly fix traditional meals from each country of birth.
We are very open with our children about their birth countries and birth families. For us, adoption is to be celebrated as the way God made ours a "Forever Family."