The FAQ: All the things people want to know. UPDATED!

People are genuinely interested in Adoption. Sometimes they don’t know how to ask questions, so they just ask them. And I’m ok with that. Normally, I preface my nosy/ knowledge seeking questions with , “I don’t really know how to phrase this so forgive me if it comes out strangely….”. Some people don’t preface their questions and I accept that. It’s ok. Really. I’d rather have any questions than none.

So here is an FAQ of us, and adoption in general. There’s only 8 questions. I’m sure number’s 9 and 10 wont be long in coming. I’m looking forward to them.

1. Aren’t you afraid that kid won’t love you?

No. Sometimes I worry slightly that our kids might have trouble processing how they came to be a Starchenko. But the issue of them loving us is not something I worry a lot about. There are times that bio kids don’t love their parents, and time when spouses don’t love each other. But with a lot pf prayer and hard work, these issues are overcome. Life is messy. I’m not naive enough to think that ours is going to be a nice ribbon wrapped life. It’s already proven it’s not.

2. How much do you pay for your kids?

You actually don’t pay for kids. That’s highly illegal. You pay for the services of people to guide you through the adoption process. Lev’s adoption was $25,000. Our current adoption will be $34,000 . $45,000 including travel.

3. How are you going to pay for it? 

We have no idea. No one who is called to adoption knows the answer to this. That’s part of why it’s a giant step of faith. But the Lord always provides for us. For Lev’s adoption, someone generously gave us money out of the blue, and we used our savings and a loan against our house which we just paid off. We’re hoping to avoid that “borrow against our house” route again. It got kind of ugly around here while we paid it off. For this adoption, we’re having a couple of fundraisers, and my mom has sold some things on ebay for us. We’re hoping to get a grant. But ultimately, we know that the Lord will provide for us. And on a totally superficial level, we think that if we’re going to blow every penny we’ve ever saved and be in debt, Adoption is a worthy reason. Every time I wrote a check to pay down our loan after Lev came to us, I reminded myself that he is totally worth it. If and when I go back to writing checks, I’ll think the same thing. Knowing that 2 kids have a family and love and a CHANCE to have a favorite dinner, movie, ice cream flavor, park, or animal is enough for me. It’s makes the debt easier to bear.

Update: Our adoption is 90% funded. We’re about $3000 from being fully funded. 

4. Why did you choose Poland?

Because we knew that the Russian program (Alex is Russian) was heading no where good. It’s closed now, and we’re glad we did a little extra research into similar programs. It’s saved us some heart ache. We chose the general region of eastern Europe because we’re an eastern European family and we understand the region, and love the people. And because that community is a large part of our lives both home and abroad. There’s also value in teaching the best parts of all the communities we’re part of to our children and passing on the values and traditions of the cultures in which we’ve been raised. Also, Alex is Polish as well as Russian. And Poland is awesome.

Paperwork in Quadruplicate.

Paperwork in Quadruplicate.

5. How come you aren’t adopting a child from Africa? 

The short answer is that we think that the kids of Eastern Europe are being left behind in the wake of newer programs in Africa and Asia. It hurts my heart when people tell me that orphans in one part of the world are somehow more needy than orphans in other parts of the world. That’s simply just not true. Orphan outcomes are all the same despite the fact some countries are very progressive about orphan care: high rates of suicide, prostitution and lives of crime. The percentages might vary, but the outcome is all the same. Also, people are called to different places in the world. We’re not called to adopt from Africa. Maybe one day we will be, but for the moment, our hearts are pulled in the direction of the places we’re from: America and Eastern Europe. I think if we were called to the mission field, we would go to the places we adopt from.  If God puts a place on our heart, and it’s our job to follow where He leads us.

6. What if the child you adopt has some sort of terrible condition?

Well, frankly, your own kid can develop some sort of terrible condition. And beyond that, most conditions can be treated. We’re open to kids with special needs. Heck, any kid without parents has special needs. They need parents and love and attention.

7. I really want to adopt, but I don’t I have what it takes. 

No one has what it takes. God has to give that to you. You just need to ask yourself one question: Do I/We feel called to adopt? If, after a lot of prayer, the answer is yes, then you should. It’s not a normal thing to walk into a room one day and say, “Geez, I think I’ll take some kid into my home and love him/her forever.” God cultivates that in your heart. It’s grace to you when it happens becuase that sort of Love is messy and requires you to be flexible and give up a bunch of other stuff you’d honestly rather love instead. We didn’t come to adoption super willingly. But we’re an example of how God changes people over time and increases a family’s capacity to love people who have no one to love them, and to love God and his pursuit of us more every day.

8. Aren’t you afraid of the child’s real parents?

In the adoption world, “Real Parents” are known as birth parents. Alex and I are my children’s real parents. We get up with them at night, and fill out paperwork in quadruplicate, and make them eat their veggies, kiss their heads at night, and point them to Christ. But to answer the question, NO. I am not afraid of birth parents.  Lev’s birth mom is the most courageous, strong, and resilient person I know. I love seeing her when we get the chance. I love that she cares deeply enough about Lev to have brought him into the world, and courageous enough to give Lev us as parents. I value her, honor her, love her. I am not afraid of her.   Same thing for this next little guys birth family. We won’t really know them, but I feel compassion for them, and for whatever situation required them to place their children in the care of an institution  or to cause them to be taken away. I pray for these birth mothers and birth fathers, because they’ve biologically prepared my children for whatever God has created them to be. Alex and I get to prepare them emotionally and spiritually for whatever God has for them. They’re so special it takes 4 people to get them ready for what lies ahead of them.  It would be easy to be judgmental of birth parents. But God chose instead to cultivate in me thankfulness for each of the people who brought my children into the world. There’s nothing that stands between me and them but the grace of God and I hope that someone shares with this new child’s birth parents that the Lord can change their hearts and loves them and will fight for them when they can’t fight for themselves.

I’m sure that over time my answers will change. But one thing that never changes, and that I always tell people is this:

9. Why is is this taking so dang long? 

We have no idea. I like to think our file is second on the pile on some Judges desk somewhere, or that the Judge accidentally spilled tea on his favorite tie and onto our file, and can’t work up the courage to tell our Facilitator becuase she’ll say something like “Oh Come on. FOR REAL?” Becuase she actually talks like that and it’s part of the reason we like her so much. In reality though adoption is a lot of waiting. Sometimes the waiting is shorter than other times, but it’s all waiting. And I know that just when I think I can’t take it anymore (side note: whenever I say I can’t take it anymore, I hear squints from the Sandlot, when he’s at the pool eyeing Wendy the lifeguard) we’ll go get her.



If you feel called to adopt a child, do not ignore that. Explore it prayerfully, seek counsel, read books, talk to people. If you have a country on your heart, or even your hometown, don’t ignore that. Explore it prayerfully, seek counsel, read books, talk to people. You can’t frustrate God’s plan. You can be obedient or not obedient to his calling. Sometimes obedience is simply the willingness to explore an idea and be open to it. Sometimes it’s walking through door into the wild lands of adoption. 

If you would like to help support our adoption, please click here. Please note that this is not a tax deductible donation. More information about tax deductible donations wills come soon.


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