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Couple explores international adoption to expand family

Three just might be the top number in the minds of Jill and Joe Dykstra these days. The couple will celebrate their third wedding anniversary on March 3 and are also hoping to welcome a third child into their home, as soon as a match for their family is found.

The family, which also includes Joe’s son, Mason, 10, and his seven-year-old daughter, Abby, is eagerly awaiting their newest member, who will have to cross international boundaries to meet them.

Before Jill and Joe married, and even before they met, each had fostered the idea that they would someday parent a child through international adoption. Initially, their hearts were set on a baby from China.

The list of adoption policies and regulations is lengthy and varies from country to country, with restrictions placed on prospective parents including everything from the length of their marriage to their ages and body mass index numbers.

Recently, the couple decided to focus on South Korea, where they can be considered as candidates to adopt a child once they reach their third anniversary, rather than the fifth, as China’s rules had specified.

The whole family is excited about adding another member. Every Sunday when they attend services at the Celebrate Church in Sioux Falls, they take a peek at a special dollhouse the congregation set up. When any of the church’s families grows through adoption, another child-size figurine is added to the house.

“The kids can’t wait until we can have our baby added to it,” Jill said.

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