Baby on Board: Adoptive Parents

By Holly Menino

EUGENE, Ore. — The picture of the modern family looks a lot different than it did 20 years ago. And for parents, there are several ways to form a family, including adoption.

Parents adopt children for many different reasons, and there are many different types of adoptions to choose from. Some choose domestic adoptions, while others, while Cerise and Jeff Roth-Vinson, choose international. Here’s one families adoption story.

The Roth-Vinsons love to travel.

“For us we had traveled a lot internationally; and, when we decided to have kids, the idea of adoption came up,” said

They had been married for about 12 years before they decided to become parents.

“Everybody chooses to have children in so many different ways,” Cerise Roth-Vinson said.

They adopted 5-year-old Oriana from Vietnam when she was six months old, and they adopted Tumiso from Ethiopia when he was nine months old. He’s now almost a year.

“You have to think what cultures are you going to incorporate into your family — that’s a really important aspect and where do we see ourselves going back to,” Cerise Roth-Vinson said.

Not to mention, not all countries allow international adoption.

They also had to consider the age of the child they’d be able to adopt and an adoption timeline – how long would it take to bring their child home. Once they started the process, they soon found themselves in heaps of paperwork.

“We called it being paper pregnant for a long time because your stacks of paper just seem to grow and grow sort of like each week of your pregnancy,” Cerise Roth-Vinson said.

There were also background checks, finger prints taken, Visa’s approved, home visits, meetings with social workers and even parenting classes.

After all that, the news came.

“You get an e-mail one day. It’s not a sonogram and here’s a picture, the first look at your child. That’s how it happens,” Jeff Roth-Vinson said.

Their daughter’s adoption took a year and their son’s a year and a half.

“We have post-adoption visits. I think we do two or three of those. They’re usually completed within a year and at that point you’re done,” Cerise Roth-Vinson said.

The real work starts once you bring your child home and it becomes time to parent.

As they get older, there will be questions.

“We’ve chosen to let them know from the beginning that they are adopted and support them in any way that we can,” Jeff Roth-Vinson said.

They want to make sure their children know about their culture and their story. Each child has a life book, which talks about where they came from. They’ve also incorporated cultural elements from their children’s heritage in their home.

“For example we might try food. We regularly cook food from each of their countries. We have artwork throughout our house that we purchased while we were there and we talk about that,” Cerise Roth-Vinson said.

As for travel, instead of booking flights for two, it’s a trip for four. Oriana and Tumiso are already racking up those frequent flyer miles.

The average cost to adopt internationally is about $30,000, but there are scholarships, grants and a federal refund to help families with the expense.

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