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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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com.
Also, I know several readers have adopted. Feel free to share your adoption story or pet peeves in the comments!
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.