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Adoption Story, Miles and Points

I’m getting a little bit off-topic with this post, but I promise I will get back on topic by the end.

November is National Adoption Month. The purpose is to increase awareness, education and support for adoption. Since I write for a blog that reaches thousands of people, why not take one day to support adoption?

My Adoption Story

My husband and I have three kids, and two of them are adopted. Sometimes we forget which ones!

During college, I majored in Spanish and International Business. As part of my studies, I spent several months in Guatemala. For a about a month of that time, I worked as a volunteer in a small village. I got to spend some time helping out in the local orphanage, and it was a life-changing experience. I knew that someday I wanted to adopt a child.

Before my husband and I got married, I told him about my desire to adopt. He was on board. But, I figured we would have a biological child first and then adopt second. As the months passed, I got impatient with trying to get pregnant, and we decided to adopt first.

We researched adoption very thoroughly and explored all of our options. In the end, our hearts drifted to Russian adoption.

Our first son came home at age three after a year of paperwork and travel. Less than two years later, we brought home our second son, who was 17 months old. In total, we made four trips to Russia and spent 10 weeks in the country.

Adoption Story, Miles and Points

Our oldest son in Vladivostok, Russia

Less than a year after completing our family, surprise! I was pregnant with our biological child. And that’s how we became a family of five.

Adoption Pet Peeves

You know how when somebody tells you she is pregnant, and your first words are usually “Congratulations!”? Well, pre-adoptive parents don’t always get the same reaction. I got all sorts of negative responses, including, “Why? Why don’t you do it this way, instead of that way? Really? Adopted kids are _______ (fill in the blank).”

One question that people still ask us (and our kids) is: “Are they real brothers?” Of course they are! What they really mean is, “Are they biological brothers?” Telling kids they are not real brothers is confusing and hurtful.

Adoption Story, Miles and Points

How You Can Help

If adoption is not in the cards for your family, there are still ways you can help support adoption. If you know a family who is adopting, ask if they could use meals after adopting. Many new moms who give birth receive meals from family and friends, but new adoptive moms are often overlooked.

Offer to throw a shower. Even families adopting older kids often need furniture, clothes and toys to prepare for the homecoming.

Many churches have adoption ministries that need volunteers to help organize events like fundraising and respite care for foster and adoptive parents.

Find out if your company has adoption benefits, like paid parental leave for adoption or adoption reimbursement expenses. If it doesn’t, consider lobbying your human resources department to add benefits.

My two favorite adoption charities are the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and Embrace Texas.

Miles and Points for Adoption

Back to miles and points, just like I promised!

Ok, when we were in the process of adopting, I wasn’t yet into this miles and points hobby in full force. We paid for all of our trips to Russia in cash, both flights and hotel.

However, we did make sure that we applied for Korean Air frequent flier accounts (we flew on Korean to Vladivostok, Russia via South Korea). And, we also applied for the Korean Air Visa (I believe the bonus was 40,000 miles at the time). We were able to use our miles for four round-trip tickets to Orlando, three round-trip tickets to San Diego and two rooms at a hotel in Hawaii. Not too shabby!

If you are going to be traveling for adoption, I recommend at the very least signing up for airline and hotel loyalty points before you travel. At least you will earn some points!

If you have enough time before you travel, you can sign up for a few credit cards to start stockpiling points and miles for your trips. For domestic travel, I recommend Southwest points if you live near an airport that Southwest services. You can get Southwest Rapid Reward points from the Chase Sapphire Preferred (see this post) or the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Visa.

For hotels, collecting Hilton points is a relatively safe bet. Hilton has a huge footprint in both big cities and small towns.

Cards with flexible travel points, like the Capital One Venture Rewards Card (see this post) and the Barclaycard Arrival Plus, are great for erasing any expense coded as travel.

See our Hot Deals page for more information on the best credit card offers.


Do you have questions about adoption? Or about accumulating miles and points to use for an adoption trip? Hit me with them in the comments, or feel free to email me at

Also, I know several readers have adopted. Feel free to share your adoption story or pet peeves in the comments!

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Author: Nancy

Nancy is a contributing writer for Miles For Family. She enjoys traveling to the beach and is a big fan of Disney. Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids.

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25 thoughts on “Adoption Story, Miles and Points

  1. Nancy, kudos to you and your husband! I admire the fact you adopted not one but two kids. By doing so you made these two kids so happy (and with this miles and points hobby, you are making the whole family super-duper happy). Thank you for a great story! It honestly brought tears into my eyes (especially considering I am originally from Russia, though have spent last 25 years in US). Love this blog. Thanks to you and Leana!

  2. P.S. “345cDVVPqX9dc3XErUzAlcaZbF/Ey7x+SPyTL0hTaxw=” is not my name:-). My name is Elina:-)

  3. Your story and family is so beautiful – ugh, I’m ugly crying right now! I am so keen on adoption – I know it can be so expensive – so it eats me alive because I feel somewhere in my heart it’s something I’m destined to do! My husband’s brother was adopted nearly at birth – not as happy of a story from their childhood growing up – so he unfortunately doesn’t see eye-to-eye with me on adoption 🙁 I’m hoping he will have a change of heart once we’re ready to think about starting a family, even if it means fostering.

    • @Carissa It’s not uncommon for husbands to take a little longer to come around to things. There are still lots of ways to support adoption even if you don’t end up adopting. I love that you have a heart for adoption.

  4. Thank you for sharing! So cool to hear the story of another adoptive parent who is also an avid family traveler and miles & points addict. My wife and I just brought our three kids home from Costa Rica. Still getting settled in, but already looking at trips to Hawaii and Disneyland with them. 🙂

    • Congratulations, Ian! I enjoyed reading your news on your blog. I hope everyone is getting settled in. Disney World was the first vacation we took our son on after he got settled! I couldn’t wait!

  5. Thanks so much for sharing your story of adoption. National Adoption month reminds us that “adopting a child is an invariably pure act of selflessness.” But as an adoptive mother of a beautiful daughter from Russia, I often feel selfish since my husband and I got the better end of the deal. She has enriched our lives in ways we couldn’t imagine. And she loves to travel – a perfect match!

  6. That is a wonderful story. My wife and I adopted four kids who went to our church and were living with their elderly great-grandparents. We often hear people say that ‘your kids are lucky’ or that ‘the kids would have never experienced’ what we can provide them at their prior home. My wife and I are the lucky ones because we have them. I know people mean well, but our kids are just that, ‘our kids’. Living in a small community, most people know our story, but I don’t feel the need to share when I am told that my oldest son looks like me.

    Adoption is a great thing for kids and parents. I appreciate you telling your story. I read your blog daily.

    • @Arkansas Traveler That’s wonderful that you built your family through adoption! I know what you mean, I definitely feel like my husband and I are the lucky ones. My oldest has been home for 10 years now, and honestly adoption hardly ever comes up in conversation anymore.

  7. I work in a courthouse and Adoption Day is my favorite day to go to work. I love walking the halls and seeing all the beautiful children and new families. It’s truly heartwarming.
    Thank you for sharing.

  8. Hats off to you girl! I cried while reading this post and felt deeply touched by your story. What you’re doing is not only incredible, sweet, and passionate but also admirable. You’re truly a role model! Thank you for sharing this story!

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