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No matter where you’re looking to adopt, the adoption process can be very scary for anyone.
Throw in interacting with a country that has only been open to adoption for a few years, is under strong influence from militia groups and requires at least a three-week stay from adoptive parents, and it’s a whole other type of “scary.”
Kyle and Kim Yankey of Springfield have known they wanted to adopt for a long time, so they’re not scared of bringing another child into their life. Adoption is something that Kyle especially has been focused on for a long time.
“I just felt led to do it really,” he said. “It’s something that we were supposed to do and I feel like it’s the road we need to be going down, that’s for sure.”
Members of New Beginnings Community Church, Kyle spends time preaching in local and surrounding communities, and he said providing for someone who would otherwise have little to nothing is something that no one should have trouble getting behind.
The Yankeys had talked about adoption years ago, but it’s something that had been pushed to the side while the couple raised three children—Kyla, 9, Kara, 7, and Kaleb, 4.
Less than a year ago, Kyle said he came home from work wanting to talk and Kim already knew what was on his mind.
“I’d heard a message by a guy preaching about adoption and it really struck me. I got home that day and said, ‘I think we need to talk about something,’” Kyle said. “She said, ‘Well, I know what it is. We need to adopt.’”
“It was like we just met at the same time talking about it. It hadn’t been brought up for a while; for years I guess,” Kim added.
Initially, Kim said she questioned being able to love a child as much as her biological children, but realized the strength in adopting through a Chop, Chop Series book by L.N. Cronk telling the story of a couple’s adoption.
The Yankeys said they’ve gone head-on into the process since, settling on the Democratic Republic of Congo to adopt.
The couple said they explored options in Haiti, China and even here in the United States.
“You look at China and so many other places, the kids are adopted straight out because maybe the family doesn’t want them,” Kyle said. “In Congo, the majority is orphanages; kids who are completely abandoned. They just opened up the adoption process there in the last few years. It’s a pretty new process there and there are a lot of kids who need a home.”
Currently, more than five million orphans live in extreme conditions of poverty and famine each day, according to one Congo adoption information web site, with 515 out of every 1,000 children dying before the age of 5.
That number, the 11th highest in the world, compares to six out of every 1,000 children in the U.S.
“Here, the kids are at least being taken care of. Through foster care or something, they’re getting attention, but (in Congo) they’re starving,” Kim said. “They’re dying young, and we’ve been looking at it that way.”
Kim said those in charge in Congo have seen media reports stating that American families aren’t adopting with good intentions, which along with militia forces demanding portions of the profit, has led to exit letters for adoption being stopped. The Yankeys, however, have met every qualification for the country’s adoption standards and are hopeful to receive their referral in the coming months. Representatives from All Blessings International (ABI)—the agency the couple is adopting through—in fact, are currently in Congo fighting on the Yankeys’ behalf. While they do not yet know the identity of the child they’ll be adopting, they do know that they’ll be adopting a boy between 12-48 months old.
Still, the couple will be required to visit the country for a number of weeks before the adoption is finalized. Kim admitting to having reservations about the trip knowing of their high rates in violence and crime. Until they were informed that both parents needed to be present, ABI initially suggested Kim avoid the trip.
“It used to be for two to three weeks. The past couple of people who went over there have been there for 40 days,” Kim said. “I’m nervous about it, just because they didn’t want me to go in the first place.”
The agency, however, will provide someone to escort the couple to a gated community, and they’re not expecting much of a concern. Kim also said that she’s been informed that she’ll be able to return home after three weeks while Kyle finalizes the process if there is any sort of delay.
Through the interview process, the Yankeys were warned about all the potential questions they could face after they adopt a child from Africa.
“We were going to do it no matter what. Our social worker prepared us that we’ll be pointed at and asked, ‘You have three healthy kids, why would you adopt?’ and, ‘Why would you adopt a black child?’ That’s stuff that I know we’re going to face,” Kim said.
Kim and Kyle said each of their families have completely supported them over the last nine months of preparation and that it’s taken quite a bit to get things in line. From paperwork to phone interviews to health screenings to three-hour face-to-face meetings with social workers to in-home visits, there has been no shortage of things to get done in recent months. Kim said the biggest hurdle to overcome is the cost, but said any family needs to think seriously before jumping into adoption.
“It costs a lot of money, which is the biggest thing. We’ve already gone through our savings, so we’re either going to do a loan or try to have as many fundraisers as possible,” she said. “Pray about it before you jump into it to make sure it’s the right thing. You don’t really know what you’re getting into at first.”
The first of those fundraisers is scheduled for Friday at 6:30 p.m. at Springfield Baptist Church. Springfield’s Mary Bess Hodgen will be singing and donated items will be entered into a silent auction. A chili supper with dessert, a bake sale and pictures with Santa will be part of the event as well. The Yankeys will also share the story of their journey with those in attendance.
“It’ll show why we felt led to adopt. Also, why we chose Congo, because once you see some of the pictures, it’s kind of devastating,” Kim said.
“The Bible speaks very clearly about taking care of the orphans and I think that a lot of people overlook it. I don’t think it’s an option; I think it’s something that we should all be doing,” Kyle added. “That doesn’t mean that you have to go adopt a child from a third-world country, but this is an opportunity for people to do something we’re supposed to do.”
Kyle also added that they’re just doing what they feel is right.
“We are not anything special by doing this adoption. We just want to do what Christ has called us to do,” he said. “We hope this not only brings attention to the process of adoption but the process of spiritual adoption by God through his Son.”