by Tracy Wilcox
My husband and I (Dave and Tracy Wilcox) started the process of adopting six and a half years ago. God has used our adoption journey to be a vehicle to teach us more about him and how to completely trust in him. In December of 2005, Dave and I began to gather our paperwork to complete a dossier to adopt a girl from China. A dossier is a lengthy, legalizing process which basically grants approval to adopt on many levels. At the time, we had three biological children and we really wanted to complete our family with a fourth child. We believed adoption was the road to accomplish this goal. We finished our dossier and were officially on the wait list for an adoptive child from China in December of 2006. We were given official word that we would receive a referral for our sweet little girl in about 8-12 months. We were thrilled, and in anticipation, we named her Joy.
Agencies at the beginning of an adoption process will use the metaphor of an adoption journey as a roller coaster ride. They are many ups and many downs. They didn’t tell us how hard the down times would be and how long the valleys would last. Our wait for our much-anticipated, precious daughter from China stretched on from 8-12 months into years.
During this long wait there were also several significant and amazing peaks in our roller coaster ride as well. God changed the direction of our adoption from China to Ethiopia, and we launched an adoption ministry at our church: Community ONE:27. Our fourth biological child, our son Zachary, was born in May of 2008 and we became a family of six!
In October of 2008, after idling on the wait list in China for two years, I had completely had it with God’s “timing” and told him so. I had reached the end of my rope. He answered me in a surprising and sweet way. He gave me a vision while I was praying. The vision was a little girl in my husband’s arms who reached out to me and said, “Mommy.” This little girl was an African girl with curly, cute ponytails.
As I tried to understand what this vision might mean, I grasped two possibilities. The first was to spur us on in our passion to raise awareness of the vast number of orphans in the world. This number is staggering and our adoption would only help one child out of millions. We needed to do more. What came out of this is Community ONE:27. Community ONE:27 is dedicated to helping spread awareness and mobilizing our church body to care for the vulnerable children in our world. Secondly, God wanted us to adopt from a different country. The switch of countries was easy since our agency in January of 2009 announced they were launching a new adoption program in Ethiopia. We completed a new set of paperwork, submitted it to the proper agencies, and in November of 2010 we were placed on the wait list. We had also decided during this time that we were willing to take a referral for two children, siblings or non-related (because why not go to a family of eight, once we were already at six?!).
On December 2, 2011, we received the call informing us we had been matched with two children. Our new daughter is three years old and her name is Maleka Nazareth Wilcox and our son is Geb James Wilcox and he is five years old. Our children are not biologically related. At the end of February, we traveled to Ethiopia to meet our children and attend Ethiopian court to officially make them our children. We are now a family of eight. We are currently waiting for the US Embassy in Addis Ababa (capitol of Ethiopia) to clear our case and issue our children American visas. We are hoping they will be home at the beginning of May.
The most difficult challenge for international adoption is the cost. Our adoption has cost over $40,000 to complete since we are adopting two children at one time. Typical adoptions cost between $25,000-30,000. The costs include: agency fees, dossier fees, notary fees, traveling, Embassy costs, court costs and medical fees. We have been so thankful for our church body which has provided us with gifts of money to be able to afford this adoption. Our church has set up a Lifesong account for all potentially adoptive families, which helps fund adoptions in our church through tax-deductible donations. We have received $2500 from this account to help defray our costs. Andy and Sara Ribbens also received funds to help them finalize their adoption of Nya and Bauer from Uganda. Our Lifesong account has officially helped four children find forever families. In the Sunday school classes, 1st-4th grade children were given a calendar for Lent to help raise funds for this Lifesong account. The money collected will go to a family in our church who is choosing to adopt to help them with the related financial burden. Thank you so much to Tricia Popp for the wonderful Lent calendars and to all the children and parents who are participating in this project. We as a church are helping orphans find forever families.
To learn more about our adoption you can follow our blog at http://www.the wilcoxfamilyblog.blogspot.com.