Nov. 13, 2006

Dassel family awaits child

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

November is National Adoption Month to honor adoptive and foster families who have offered their homes to children in need. Pamela and Eric Sandstede of Dassel have just completed their home study and are now awaiting their adoptive daughter from China.

Pamela, daughter of Craig and Barb Kay, was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome. After eight years of taking fertility drugs such as Clomid and having no luck, the couple decided to go with “Plan B.”

What they just found out was that “Plan B” was “Plan A” all along, Sandstede said.

Pamela and Eric attended a Christian rock concert, where they showed a clip on America World Adoption Association, and in June, they began the process of adoption.

“[Adoption] had always been in our minds, but the cost put it on hold for us,” Sandstede said.

After the process is complete, the adoption will cost the Sandstedes $22,000 to $24,000.

“We didn’t know about the different ways to pay for it,” she said.

The cost of adoption is over time, not an up-front cost. Also, the government gives an adoption tax credit of $10,630 per child, according to Sandstede.

They have also applied for grants to help with the cost, she said.

With thousands of children in the 200 orphanages in China, they decided to go with a Chinese adoption. Due to the culture’s preference to males and China’s one-child-per-home law, the majority of the orphans are females, according to Sandstede.

“I’ve always had a soft spot for China,” she said.

The couple just completed their home study, in which their case worker came into the home and discussed topics such as their motivation for adoption and type of child desired. Also, personal information is required including health and financial statements and an autobiography of the family, according to Sandstede.

Now that the home study is complete, the information will be sent to the China Center for Adoption Affairs for translation and processing. After it is received, the family will wait 13 to 15 months before receiving their referral, or the matching of the child with the family, according to Sandstede.

After receiving the referral which includes a medical profile, a brief biography, and two photographs of the child, the Sandstedes can begin their travel plans to China to be united with their daughter, Ruby Jeanne.

Although the wait will be the hardest part, the Sandstedes are involved with support groups with other adoptive parents who are in the process or have already received their child.

One of the groups Pamela belongs to is a group of 10 mothers waiting for their adoptive child from around the country. Each month, the moms send an item to the other nine moms. This month’s item is bibs.

Also, in the meantime, the couple will be studying about the country of China, including the language.

“We want her growing up and knowing her culture,” she said.

To inform others on their adoption process, the Sandstedes have an updated journal on a web site through AWAA. For updates on the family’s quest, check out the web site, www.littlegirlsandstede.com.

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