Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Adopting the tiny girl - FAQ's

Follow up from my last post... go read it first if you haven't already!

One of the frequently asked questions I'm getting about "Greta" is about how she would do in a family with young children.

This is hard to answer, because I really don't know, but I'm going to try as it makes a difference to many people when considering her.

When another family met Greta over a year ago, she wasn't drugged as she is now. She was nicknamed "Koala Bear" as she would literally climb you for a hug. Constantly seeking affection, even if she was rough with the other kids to get it.

This video is of an adoptive mama playing with Grace, when Greta decides she wants attention too.

She wasn't like that when we met her. She hardly acknowledged us when we came into the room, as she is now drugged.

Someone who met her wrote an update for her (on her profile) from Sept 2012 that said: Greta desperately desires to be loved and shown affection. It broke our hearts to see how desperate she was for attention. She would climb up us before we even knew what was happening and was clinging to us. She probably needs to go to a family that can devote a lot of one on one attention to her, and that she be the youngest child, because she can get aggressive when she is jealous for attention. I hope this helps her find a family.”

It's impossible to know how she would do once she is home with her family, but I'm not sure she has to be the youngest.

Of course, a family where she was the youngest (or a family that had no young kids), would be the best, especially a family with previous experience with adoption and Down syndrome.

But I do think it's possible, even though it won't be easy, for a family with younger children to adopt her.

Yes, she was pretty aggressive when she wasn't being drugged, but the fact that she wasn't tied to a chair tells me that she wasn't like that all the time, and was only seeking affection when it was available. I feel like once she knows she is loved and safe, she will not seek attention as much.

She was very gentle with Grace and another little girl who was in the visiting room that day. As you can see in the video I shared in the first post, she was tickling Grace. She loved to hear her, laugh and would put my hand back on her tummy when I stopped tickling her. (When Greta is on top of Grace in the second clip, she was trying to tickle her, not hurt her.)

There was a little girl with severe hydrocephalus in playing with us and a missionary who was working with the kids. Both Greta and Grace would every so often go over and just rub her head gently, especially when she was crying. It was very sweet to see, and you could tell that Greta and Grace loved her.

Any family, with young children or not, will need to be able to have a lot of time to spend with her and love on her. (Which is not hard to do, by the way!) She needs to know that she is not just being moved to another orphanage, the concept of a family will be hard for her to understand.

At the same time I'm saying it would be possible, I will say it may not work for you. I would encourage you to be very careful when considering her when you have younger children. I'm not going to sugar coat, and am being very real here, even though I want her to have a family badly. Parenting her will not be easy. She is hurt and she is wounded, as anyone would be after living her life. Pray about it a lot, and feel free to ask me any specific questions or to get in contact with the others who have met her.

The other big question is about the process to adopt her. So here goes. :)

The requirements for a family to adopt from Greta's country are:
♥Married couples ONLY. No single parents.
♥No family size restrictions.
♥No upper age limit, but at least one parent must be 15 years older than child.
♥No diagnosed history of mental health conditions.
♥No criminal record.
♥Canadians can adopt from this country!

Her profile does say "Families with adoptive experience and a completed home study would be the best option for Miss Greta", but that is not required. She is running out of time, and a family would be better than no family at this point! You may want to find a homestudy agency and get verbal approval from your social work first before you commit, in case they won't approve you, and there is another family ready to commit.

I do want to say about the adoptive experience though, and I'm not going to sugar coat, that a family needs to understand what 15 years in an institution can do a for a child and be prepared to handle that. Greta has been severely neglected, and she will likely be emotionally scarred the rest of her life. It doesn't end with rainbows and cupcakes as soon as she gets home. It will be hard, and any family, no matter how much experience, will struggle adding her to their family.

The cost to adopt from her country is about $25,000 including travel. Traveling in the summer makes it a little more, in the winter, a little less. It also varies by region and a couple other factors.

Greta is a just a couple hundred dollars short of having a grant of $20,000. This money was raised and donated by many people who love her and want her to have a family. This money will be released to her family when they receive their travel date to go get her. 

A family would have to raise about $5,000 for stateside fees like homestudy, USCIS, paperwork, etc. A little bit might need to be raised to finish it up, but the MAJORITY of the in country process will be covered with her large grant. And there are MANY warriors, myself including, willing to help a family fundraise the rest of what is needed.

The traveling for Greta's country can be done several different ways.

The first day in country, you pick up her referral to say you want to adopt her in the capitol city. (With her country, you can not put a child on "hold" for a family until you pick up the referral.) Then you head down to region, and meet her and agree to adopting her. The paperwork is then started for a court date which will usually be about 3-4 weeks later. (You visit everyday during this time.) After court there is a mandatory 10 day waiting period for anyone to protest the adoption (which never happens). Then you pick up the court decree, get the new birth certificate, and wait for the passport, which will take about 3 days. You get to bust her out of the orphanage, and then back up to the capitol, where you have a medical to get her cleared to leave the country, and visit the US Embassy to get her visa. Then HOME! That is the *general* time frame, but it's international adoption, so nothing is set in stone!

Both parents have to be there to get her referral and for court, but only one parent needs to be there to finish up. One parent can stay the whole time, while the second goes home after court, or both parents can go home after court, and one parent come back after the 10 day wait. Some families are also now going over and getting the referral, come home, both going back for court, one coming home, and the other staying though the 10 day wait.

I would highly recommend if you are adopting Greta to for one parent to not finish up alone, but bring someone with. The extra hands once you get her out of the orphanage and on the way home will be worth it, and it might get ugly if she is going through drug withdrawls.

Starting the Process:
You meet all the requirements, are okay with the long travel, and want to make Greta part of your family. What next?

Email Debbie at debbie@reecesrainbow.org and tell her that you are seriously inquiring about adopting Greta and ask how to get started on the paperwork! She will get you set up with the commitment paperwork (through RR), and a stateside helper to help with the paperwork. If you do not want to use RR's facilitators, contact me first (you will still need to go through RR to get her grant, but can still use different facilitators).

And also, not required, but I would honored if you emailed me with or without questions to let me know where you're at. forhisgloryhandiwork(at)gmail(dot)com. I want to be able to support you all the way! :)

Getting her out in time:
We know Greta ages out in November, but what I do want you to know is that the usually about 8 mo process to adopt from her country does not have to be complete by then.

In order for her not to age out without a family, a family must have their USCIS application into USCIS by her birthday in November.

That gives a family a family a lot more time, but also remember that she should have been adopted years ago, and every day is another she spends in an institution.

Hopefully this post answered most of your questions if you are considering her. Please email me with any other questions at forhisgloryhandiwork(at)gmail(dot)com. And keep SHARING about her!

My post about her has been sharing MANY times, and for that, I thank you! But, she doesn't have a family yet, and we need to keep sharing until she does!

Together, we WILL find her a family!!


  1. Sarah, you are an amazing young woman. Knowing you blesses my heart. Your honesty is so refreshing. Your love for others is nothing short of beautiful. I am praying, praying, praying for this precious girl to find a family who will love her with the depth of emotion you possess.

  2. Hi I was wondering if you were affiliated with Hooked on hope?? I've seen sewn hats on your website and since I don't have Facebook I didn't know if there was a way to order some hats without using Facebook. Thanks!

  3. Sarah, You are an amazing young woman! Thank you for loving Greta and trying to help her find her family. I also fell in love with her and have been sharing her information in an attempt to help her family find her. I am now sharing your blog so people get a first hand look with the hopes that her family finally finds her. Our family will pray for her until she is home!

  4. Maybe it's too soon to know, but is anyone stepping up for her yet? I'm praying!


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