Reicharts to adopt three more children from Ghana

For the Reicharts, family was not always close to home. Sam Reichart and his wife Sarah traveled to Ghana last year to adopt Ian, who was a few months old at the time. After seven failed adoptions, both domestic and international, the Reicharts finally brought a child home. “It’s been exactly a year since we brought Ian home,” Mr. Reichart said. “Being a parent is awesome. Ian is such an easy kid. He figures out ways to entertain himself. At times, it’s taken some getting used to, but you have to learn to re-prioritize your work and home responsibilities.” Although both Mr. and Mrs. Reichart were grateful that they brought Ian home, they knew they wanted him to have a sibling. “Ever since we got Ian we knew we wanted him to have a sibling, but we also knew we’d have to relive the whole process,” Reichart said. “We thought we should adopt from Ghana again just so Ian had a sibling with the same heritage.” In late July, the Reicharts received a phone call from Kofi, who connected the Reicharts with Ian’s birth mother in summer 2010. “We got a call from Kofi a couple weeks before school started,” Reichart said. “He told us Ian’s birth mother had had a daughter on July 4 and she wanted to know if we’d adopt her, too. There was no question about it. It was an absolute yes.” The Reicharts scheduled their trip to Accra, the capital of Ghana, for early November prior to receiving another surprising communication from Kofi. “About two and a half weeks before we left, we got an email saying Ian and Samara’s birth mom had brought three second cousins of Ian and Samara and asked if we could adopt them as well,” Reichart said. “Kofi was originally going to put them up for adoption and probably split them up among families, but he thought of contacting us first to see if we could take all three. Sarah and I wanted to make a decision before we left for Ghana. We decided we had to go and meet them and get a gut feeling for the kids.” Adopting a child, particularly when an agency is involved in international adoptions, is a long, tedious, and expensive process. The Reicharts knew that adopting three more children would involve considerable amounts of paperwork, long hours of interviews and background checks, and thousands of dollars. “Anyone can have a child, but to adopt a child is to expose yourself to the world and prove umpteen times over that you’re capable of parenting,” Reichart said. “We’ve gone through dozens of interviews, background checks, and filled out tons of paperwork. This next adoption requires two trips to Ghana.” Reichart said the greatest challenge to bringing Mary (3), Emmanuel (6), and Abigail (5) home is financial. Assuming all goes as planned, the Reicharts will have Mary, Emmanuel, and Abigail in the U.S. by May 2012. Samara, since she is too young to be taken to court presently, will be brought to the U.S. in November 2012. “Emotionally, it was a fairly easy decision but it’s been very difficult financially,” Reichart said. “Our big problem now is that adoption costs a lot of money. An international adoption done through an agency costs anywhere from $20,000 to $30,000 per child.” Despite the enormous financial barriers the Reicharts will need to overcome in the next year, Mr. Reichart is confident he and his wife have made the right choice. “We spent the week with them and to see how they interacted with one another made all our doubts disappear,” Reichart said. “The three older kids were living in a tiny village in the Ashanti region. They didn’t have any running water or electricity, they drank out of a stream. Emmanuel wanted to go to the bathroom on the street outside our hotel the first day we had him.” The family will have to adjust to the demands of raising five young children once Mary, Emmanuel, Abigail, and Samara come home. “The biggest immediate challenge will be the language barrier,” Reichart said. “I think it’ll be difficult for them to compensate for the initial lack of exposure to English, but they’ll catch on pretty quickly. School is going to be challenging since Emmanuel and Abby will be thrown into a foreign environment as soon as they get here.” Mr. and Mrs. Reichart are not worried that the five siblings will not be close with one another; Mr. Reichart said their shared Ghanese heritage will make it easier for them to accept one another as family. “I don’t worry about the five of them growing together as siblings–I think that’ll come naturally,” Reichart said. “We know it’ll all come together.”