Hey everyone! Wow! Thank you SO much for the overwhelming flood of support and love we received yesterday after announcing our adoption! We really cannot be more thrilled to bring this boy into our family and sharing our joy with you has been a much needed blessing! We have only just started the process, but we are already knee deep in paperwork and weary! With all the transition this summer, adding an adoption to the mix is quite a lot to bite off, but we want to get to our boy as soon as possible, so here we are! We got some great questions yesterday about our sweet boy and the adoption, so I put together a little Q&A for you!
Where is Juri?
Juri is in Eastern Europe. We cannot reveal his country of residence in order to protect his privacy.
Is Juri his real name?
No. Juri is an alias that was used to advocate for him. It is the name that his many fans know him by, so we will be using it for now until the adoption is completed. We cannot reveal his birth name to protect his privacy. If you are wondering how Juri is pronounced, we say it “Yur-ee”.
How old is Juri?
He will be turning six in November!
How did you find him?
As most of you know, I have been advocating with an organization called Reece’s Rainbow for quite some time. He was listed on their website, and he really stood out to Jake, so we prayed about it and God opened the doors for us to pursue his adoption. Reece’s Rainbow has also set up a Family Sponsorship Page for our adoption. You can see that here: Juri for the Mueller Family
Does he have any special needs?
Yes. Juri has mild Cerebral Palsy. It affects only his legs, and makes it very difficult for him to walk. The last update we have on him is that he does not have much motion in his legs at all and that he is learning how to walk with a walker. We are hopeful that with braces and regular therapy he will eventually be able to walk on his own! Also, because he is an older child who has spent his entire life in an orphanage, there will be some delays and emotional trauma associated with that. We feel very privileged to have the opportunity to walk him through these challenges and help him reach his full potential.
Do you have more pictures?
Yes! We have LOTS of pictures AND a video! But I am not going to give them to you all right away. We have to make them last a while before I get new ones, so you will just have to be on the look out for more cuteness!
When will he come home?
Adoptions from Juri’s country take about 5-8 months from start to finish. We are praying that he will be home in time for Easter. We could be travelling as soon as January or as late as March. It depends on how fast we get all of our paperwork in and how long it takes it all to be processed and approved.
How will adopting an older child affect your younger children?
Of course, we cannot know for certain how adding Juri will affect our family dynamics. As with any addition to a family, you just don’t know what your new normal will be! We have done a lot of reading and learning about this specifically, and we believe that Juri will be a blessing to our whole family, Evangeline and Stephen especially. I just read a blog post the other day that absolutely sums up my thoughts and what I have witnessed over the years in adoptions like ours. It’s long but I encourage everyone to take a look; it’s very eye opening! Read it here: How Adoption Effects Bio Children
How much will it cost?
Our adoption will cost approximately $25,000. This includes six weeks of travel, homestudy costs, facilitation fees, medicals, etc.
How will you pay for the adoption?
That is a great question! The honest answer is, we don’t know. The other honest answer is, we trust that God will provide. If He wants to place Juri in our family, He will get us there one way or the other. We don’t have the kind of money an international adoption costs. Even just the (relatively) small upfront costs we have already paid have been a stretch for our family financially. We definitely have the money to care for him once he is home, but shelling out 25k in a matter of 5 to 8 months? Very few families I know can do that out of pocket and there are SO many children needing a good home.
So what’s the solution? Well, we have already been blessed with Juri’s Reece’s Rainbow grant fund. This is the fund that was held for him before he found a family. It has almost $2000 in it that we will be able to use toward the costs at the end of our adoption. We will be as frugal as we possibly can from now until Juri is home so we can put as much of our own money into this process as possible. But the reality is, we are still looking at $20,000 (give or take) that we need to get him home that we just do not have yet and do not know where it is going to come from.
We will be putting together some fundraisers in the coming months for Juri’s adoption, please stay updated and participate as you can! We don’t have any put together yet, but donations can be made at any time to our family’s Reece’s Rainbow Grant Fund. Gifts made to Reece’s Rainbow are tax deductible and 100% of the money will be given to our family to use on adoption expenses when we travel. Tomorrow I will put together a totally separate Q&A post on fundraising for you all. So if you have other questions about this very necessary aspect of our adoption, feel free to ask!
Why not adopt out of foster care?
Because our son is not in foster care, he is in Eastern Europe! To us, every orphan needs a loving family. Our decision wasn’t about where we wanted to adopt from, it was about who is our son and where is he so we can go get him? In the last several months we have been doing a lot of praying and, trust me, lots of looking on databases of children waiting for families (from the U.S. and all over the world). We considered taking blind referrals and every other which way you could imagine going about an adoption.
I can’t explain it other than it has become very evident to us in the last few months that Juri is our son. God is opening the doors. So we are going to go get him! Yes, foster care would be so much cheaper and easier for many reasons, but if we adopted from foster care we would not be able to adopt Juri. We are not opposed to foster care, in fact, we would love to go that route one day! But for today we are being called to this little boy half way across the world. We are not counting the cost, because he is more than worth all of it!
Thank you all for taking this journey with us! If you want to stay updated you can subscribe to our blog using the handy button on the right hand side (just above “Reader’s Favorites” and just under Stephen’s adorable newborn picture that sorely needs to be updated!)