WEATHERFORD Becky and David Nelson had no intention of adopting more than one child. The long, drawn-out, expensive process seemed beyond their means after bringing their first child, Lucianne, home from Uzbekistan when she was 14 months old.
When the thought of adopting a second child crossed their minds, the couple quickly dismissed the idea, discouraged by the cost of the first.
But God had a different idea, according to Becky Nelson.
“God said it’s not up to you,” she recalled.
Adoption, especially an international adoption, can cost between $7,000 and $30,000, while domestic adoptions range from $4,000 to $12,000, though some climb considerably when private arrangements are made.
In the midst of their first adoption, Becky said she and David visited her parents. She soon found herself complaining to her father about the process?the paperwork, the waiting, and the money. Up to that point the Nelsons had already invested more than $20,000 and anticipated doling out more before they ever took their child home.
Becky’s father listened and then asked an odd question. How much, he asked, did their truck cost and how long were they going to take to pay for it?
Was their soon-to-be child not worth more than the truck? The amortized value of the truck cost more than the adoption fees, he noted. Becky said her father did the math and showed her that the cost of their child?spread out over a presumed 70-year lifespan?was pennies a day.
“If God asks you to do it, God will provide. That’s God’s child,” Becky said.
“We’re not wealthy,” she added. David is an instructor for a computer database company and Becky teaches adult GED test preparation courses. Oksana is now in college and the other three children?Lucianne, 15; Artur, 14; and Zhenia, 13?are all homeschooled.
Couples who feel called to adopt must be proactive with their finances. Becky said she and David refinanced high-ticket items and found ways to cut back on spending.
“The whole amazing thing is we’d make those sacrifices and not even feel it,” she said.
They would also revel in the way God provided through anonymous donations and “found” money. The support they received from their families and their church served as affirmation and encouraged them to follow through with the calling. And each time the couple began pondering another adoption Becky said they would pray.
“We would just lay it at his feet and tell him, ‘We want to see how you’re going to pull this off!'”
The adjustment process for an adopted child must also be taken into consideration. The Nelson’s first two children were infants, reducing the need for cultural acclimation. But Oksana was 10 and Zhenia was 9 when they moved to their California home. Although they quickly settled into their new home it was not without its bumps and quirks.
Food proved a most pronounced adjustment. With very little variety and quantity in their orphanage diet, hamburgers and pizza?staples for most American children?were to be picked apart and eaten in pieces by 9-year-old Zhenia. Even sandwiches, Becky recalled, were picked apart by her youngest son. Today he mixes everything together and eats like a typical American teenage boy.