Tuesday, October 26, 2010

National Adoption Month- Q&A

November is National Adoption Month. Although the primary purpose of National Adoption Month is raising awareness of children available for adoption through the US foster care system, I would like to take this opportunity to be a voice for the millions of children available for adoption throughout the WORLD (because they are ALL deserving of a loving home and family no matter where they were born).

Two years ago I attempted to "Blog for Adoption" every day in November. I failed miserably. Rather than set myself up for failure again, this year I would like to focus my time and attention on answering YOUR questions. Are you considering adoption? Do you have questions about adopting an older child or a child with special needs? What about adopting out of birth order? Want to know how our children feel about adoption or how adoption has changed our family dynamics? Or how we ended up here in the first place?

Questions do not have to be specifically "adoption-related". If you honestly want to know how many loads of laundry we do each day, what a "day-in-the-life-of-the-Rieben's" looks like or how we manage to homeschool all of our children and still maintain our sanity, ask away! While these questions may not seem to be adoption-related, you might be surprised to learn that insight into these aspects of life are often exactly what prospective adoptive families are MOST interested in. I receive at least one email each week from prospective adoptive parents wanting to know HOW we do what we do and how life might look after they take that leap of faith. It is always my prayer that, by sharing our family and the love (and joy, frustration, faith, tears, and happiness) that exists in our home, those who may be "on the fence" about adoption will see that they CAN do this, that it IS possible and that adoption can make an already beautiful and blessed family, even more beautiful and blessed!

If you aren't comfortable posting your questions on the blog, please feel free to email them to me (desisdelights @ gmail.com). Also, if you are worried that your questions might be too personal, but you are really just dying to know, don't bottle it up! Remember, we started our family with triplets and chances are, we've probably already been asked every "personal question" in the book. If you are unsure, just use the email address. While there are some things that we would prefer not to publish on our blog, we would be happy to share some of those details privately.

In addition to our Q&A, we will also be taking the time to advocate for many children waiting for families throughout the world and also right here in the United States and we will be launching a Christmas fundraiser for a very special little boy who is very near and dear to our hearts and has been waiting for a family for a very, very long time.

And now. . . any questions? :-)


Sandi said...

Hi, Valerie.

I have been following your blog since the beginning of this year. I have loved your dedication, love, and insight on adoption. We are adopting from Bulgaria. We passed court and will travel in November to pick up our son (who has some special needs). Any tips on helping with the transition? Our son has some hand malformation & language delays. He is just the sweetest thing! How long did it take your kiddos to learn English? Any tips on helping them learn it? I appreciate your blog posting and willingness to answer questions. If you would rather respond in email, my email address is gshegeman@mac.com. Thank you so much!

all the best,

The Dahlins said...


You guys have really inspired many, especially Sean and I. After almost 5 years of trying to have a baby of our own we have felt that there are children out there in the world that are supposed to come to our home. We have decided to do an international adoption. One of our concerns is the price of adoption. How have you guys been able to afford to adopt? Are there programs that can help with the adoption cost? We feel like it will take eternity to save enough money to adopt.
By they way you and Richard are amazing and you have such a beautiful family! We pray often for you and your family.

Shauna Dahlin

Jessica K. said...

I love your blog, I have been praying for your family and the children you bring home into their forever family!

I am 24 and single and I plan on adopting through Reece's Rainbow one day. (hopefully when I am married, but I dont think I would hesitate a single moment if I had a chance to go through this by myself) My cousin has down syndrom so that is near to my heart.

How do you finance an adoption, yet multiple adoptions at once? Are you able to raise all the funds? It seems so very expensive and I wont be able to come up with 20000$ at once. Do you know a good way to raise money? Does the church help somehow?

Have all the adopted kids been sealed to you yet?

How many loads of laundry do you do during a week?
How do you cook for so many, how often do you go grocery shopping, do you have help doing that?

How do the kids at home react when a new sibling arrives, one with special needs? Is it as easy for them to love them with all their heart as it is for you as the parents?

Ok those are my questions for now!! :)

Have a blessed week!

The Shultzs said...

Hi Valerie,
What a great idea! I am homeschool Mom of 2 right now, I am just wondering how you homeschool so many? Do you have a certain curriculum you use or does it vary? Do you get any help throughout the day? As a mom of 4, one who is autistic, I find it tough some days to have time with each one, how do you make time for each child and their needs? Your faith inspires me so much. We are looking for a new church, our current church isn't welcoming tospecial needs much, how does your church bond and support the children and the family as a whole?
I'm sure I can think of plenty more, but I'll close for now.
Thank you for your willingness to answer questions and open your heart and home to us. :-)

Anonymous said...

Hi Valerie,

We have four kids and we would love to adopt more but I just can't imagine how we would manage it.

I have a specific question, but to me it is an example of where we would struggle if we had more kids.

Do you drive to Philadelphia by yourself? How do you manage bathroom breaks with that many kids? Isn't there always one or two who don't follow the "scheduled breaks" and need the toilet at random times? How long would a toilet break take when you need to get all the kids in and out of seats, wheelchairs in and out of the car etc? How do you fit all your kids, multiple wheelchairs, strollers, etc into one public bathroom?


Kim said...

Before I start, I'm SO glad to know Gage has a family! We just got home with Leeza (Grace) from the same orphanage and we actually had a talk about how we could possibly leave Gage there after meeting him. We just didn't feel like God was telling us to bring him home, but he's a really cool kid.
My question is...when does this start to feel normal again?! We have 3 other young bio kids so we're used to our lives being turned upside down every time another one comes home...but I know how long to expect life to be nuts before we feel like we're in control again. This is our first adoption and life is nuts and I know it will even out eventually...but when? When will we feel like a family again? When will it stop feeling like there's a visitor in our house? When will the Russian go away?! (We want to learn Russian, but right now I'm really fed up with it).
Thanks for fielding our questions!

Tara said...

okay, i'd love to hear your thoughts about adopting out of birth order. we adopted out of birth order and never thought too much about it, but now we are hearing about how disruptive it can be and that some agencies will not allow it, blah, blah, blah....

curious about your thoughts?

MrsKish said...


Will you share your views on adopting out of birth order. We are in the process of adopting our 4 year old son from the foster care system. We've had the feelings that we'll be getting a call for an older sibling set for a while now. Is there some way I can prepare Sylas to accept the future older siblings. Thank you for your views.

Anonymous said...

Hi Valerie,
Thank you so much for sharing your adoption experiences with all of us! I am in the process of the international adoption of a 9 year old girl with Down Syndrome. Can you please share the "orphanage behaviors" that you have encountered once home with your children? How long did it take to extinguish them, and how did you go about it?
Thank you so much!

Anonymous said...

Hi Valerie,
I have adopted a daugther from UZ. There is an American woman living in UZ who has two adopted UZ kids. She and I working with the American Consulate on a project to improve the impression of adoption for the UZ officials so that more children can be helped. We are trying to find all the families who have adopted UZ kids to share their testimonial. IF you are willing to participate - please contact me via email I will foward your information to the American woman in UZ who will then contact you with more details.
I am so thrilled you adopted Joshua!
Ally Griffith

Tammy said...

This, dear friend, is a great idea!
I haven't read all the questions...so this may be a repeat..or not!
How do you deal with "the looks" from other people and stares because some of your kids look different? How does bonding go with the kids to each other? How often do you think, "I'm never going through this again!" How did Maren do with adding girls? I'm sure I have more...I was actually thinking of emailing you with some ?'s before you posted this;)

Penelope said...

Great questions! We are too old for international adoption so we opted for adoption through foster care.

We are hosting an Adoption Blog Hop this month and would love for you to join us!!


Jessica K. said...

The other nigth I was thinking of your family and prayed for you guys and before I went to sleep I thought of another question. I havent read through all the questions of others so I dont know if it was asked before.

How fast do they start to speak english? How do you communicate at the beginning? Obviously they arent babies and wont learn english as their first language. Does it take long for them to really understand? And do the girls speak their home language when they talk to eachother?

I am just curious. I know learning a language is a lot easier when you are young, so I hope it goes fast for them!

Anonymous said...

not so much a question as a request but could you post new pictures of all your kiddos? I'm sure they have changed since the header went up (and you have 2 more plus some on the way...YAY!)
I am always amazed by your family and the amount of love you all have to give. Have a great week!

mamadx2 said...

I think all I wanted to ask was already asked all though how you get through all the laundry is a question I wouldn't mind knowing the answer too :).. also what is meal time like? do you have to slowly introduce things?

Dalas said...

I have been interested for a while about adopting "out of birth order" what has your experience with it been? What are the positives and negatives? Any suggestions or helpful advice?

Anonymous said...

Val, this is Jackie (McKenzie) Barron.
I have been looking through your blog and am overwhelmed with the spirit. I love and respect what you are doing.
For some reason it has crossed my mind before to look in to foster care adoption. I have no idea where to start to look into it.
How do you prepare your children to accept another child in the home? How do you help the new child adjust to your family's values and rules? How do you help them overcome past trama?
Thank you for sharing your life with us! My email address is jackiembarron@gmail.com