My heart has led me to begin the process to adopt internationally, particularly Guatemala. While my husband (thankfully) is fine with adopting internationally, his first question when I brought it up was "why not adopt here"? My own reasons were that I didn't want to wait years to adopt an infant, I didn't want to have to worry about the birthmother coming back to take the baby, and most of all, I don't feel like my baby has to look like me to be "my baby".
Inevitably, when we bring this up to family members, I just have a feeling the conversation will go in that direction. I'd just like to have an idea of what others say when they ask you why you didn't just "adopt a white baby here".
Thanks for your input!
Marcy & Neal
7/05 Researching agencies
you are right, brink. I didn't mean to sound judgemental against domestic.There are many domestic adoptions that go well and the media only portrays the ones that don't. You just have to wait on the Lord for His direction in your life amd He will provide what ever child He has for you, whether here in the US or in another country.Sorry, didn't mean to downplay domestic...
For us, we looked into both very seriously. Bottom line, domestic is not for us. If we had a 5 month pregnant mom pick our portfolio and we watch her until the baby is born, then she changes her mind, I would lose it. We have one biological son and I cannot imagine staying strong for him too if that mom changed her mind. Also, adoption in the US has become very opened and I do not want that at all. It is a very individual decision, I am just not up for the risk. Good luck in whatever you choose!
Deciding on domestic vs. international and in international adoption deciding what country you work with are difficult decisions. While some options may clearly not be the best one for your family, other options are less clear. And sometimes it's like comparing apples to oranges. Whatever you do, you need to make the best choice for your family. I think that part of making that choice requires being clear about what the facts are about each option.
The idea that it takes years to adopt domestically is, in most cases, no longer the case. For example, through our homestudy agency the typical domestic adoption takes about 18 months from the time the homestudy starts. Of course, this is going to vary from one agency to another and will also vary if you are doing a completely independent adoption. My impression is that it may be a shorter time if you work with an agency.
As for fear about the birthmother changing her adoption plan, it is extremely important that you know what the law is in your state. While there have been some very sensationalized cases in the media (and definitely heartbreaking for all of the family involved), those cases almost always involve some aspect of the law not having been followed, thereby rendering the adoption invalid. If the law is followed a birth parent can't change their mind years later and come back for the child.
That said, each state is different in how long of a time there is until the adoption is final. For instance, I live in a state where the birthmother must wait for 72 hours after the birth to sign the final papers -- but as soon as they are signed, her relinquishment of the child is irrevocable. There is a 6-month wait period until the adoption is final but that wait period is NOT for the birthparent -- it's for the state. They want to check and make sure that the child is being well cared for. If there is any abuse in that 6 months then the state can remove the child more easily than they can when the adoption is finalized. But the birthparent cannot changer her/his mind in that 6 months. In my state most of the cases that hit the media (including one in the past year that was on national news) were due to the fact that the laws regarding notifying the birth father were not followed. But if the law had been followed, the interruption of the adoption never could have happend. Every state's laws are different. I really encourage you to talk with an adoption agency if you haven't done so already and find out what the laws are where you live.
Also, remember that in Guatemala the birthparent can change their plan up until the final adoption decree is signed which is one of the last steps in the process. So if you are not able to take the risk of a birthparent changing their plan it would probably be better to look at a country where parental rights are completely terminated prior to the referral being made (Korea and China are two of the most popular).
In the end, though, you need to do whatever is best for your family. People will ask questions. But if you are certain about what you are doing and why and if you are very clear on what the facts are so that you can dispel the myths other people believe, then you will be fine.
Best wishes,
I was pursuing domestic adoption for over 2 years. I had four failed matches (birth mothers chaning their mind before giving birth). I finally couldn't take it anymore and switched gears to Guatamala. I do think my case was unique, though there is a gamble with domestic adoption. It was just too unbearable to go through that again and int'l adoption seemed like more of sure thing.
We went with international adoption because I believed that's where God was leading us. Whereas there is at least some infrastructure (whether government or charitable) for needy children in the US, there is no "safety net" in Guatemala. I wanted to go where I believed the greatest need was.
That being said, however, I support adoption totally--international, domestic, intrafamily, open, closed--however parents feel led to do it. And I think other parents could choose a different type of adoption than we did, and make just as big of a difference in the adopted child's life.
I don't think you should have to explain why international adoption was right for you, but if you feel you need to, you have certainly been given a bunch of very valid reasons by the adoptive parents above.
Thanks to everyone for their wonderful and insightful responses.
My husband is 100% behind me in wanting to adopt internationally. I just really didn't know what to tell him when he said "why not here" other than that's not where my heart is telling me to go. He is the kind of person that needs something a little more concrete than that. Not that he is drawn either way, but just wants more facts on both.
A woman that I used to work with decided last year that she wanted to adopt. Right in front of me and another woman who adopted internationally, she said, "I will only adopt domestically because I believe you can ONLY bond with a newborn. Kids adopted at an older age will ALWAYS have bonding issues." BTW, this woman is an MSW -- real sensitive, huh?
Well -- she had a two-week old little girl placed with her a few weeks ago. The child was exposed to crystal meth in the womb. Also, the birthfather has yet to consent to the placement.
For me, I would have a hard time with the drug abuse and with the fear that the birthfather will not consent.
For the record, both my kids have bonded extremely well... especially with each other!
Marcy -- good luck!!! :)
I have two answers I always give. One is that one child needing a home is one child too many no matter where that child may be because they are all our children. The second thing I say is that adoption is like your favorite pair of jeans. What may be very comfortable for me, may not be comfortable for you (this is usually said to someone who chose a different adoption route).
I have had two sets of friends adopt domestically. One used a well known adoption agency and it literally took ehr over 3 years to adopt a caucasian infant. During that process, she had two birthmothers change their minds so it does happen.
The other friend adopted a biracial infant through the county and it took her about two years to adopt this child. She has not had her court date as of yet. It went fairly smoothly for her and the birthmother has not changed her mind.
For us, we just knew that we wanted to adopt from either Guatemala or China. For now, Guatemala is pulling at our hearts and that is what is right.
Well, we did one of each.
Our first was a domestic, open adoption. It was difficult; there were some complicated legal issues, we constantly had to worry about the birthparents changing their mind, and honestly, maintaining openness continues to be stressful for me even 4 years later. We chose this because I really wanted that newborn experience. It was important to me at the time.
Two years later, we had a failed attempt to adopt (domestic, open, again) that left us emotionally and financially devastated.
After that, we looked at our options and decided that we could not risk adopting domestically again, so we completed an international adoption for our second child. It was stressful in its own way, but nothing compared the stress we experienced in our domestic adoptions.
If I am privileged enough to adopt again, it will DEFINATELY be an international adoption.
All adoption (in fact all parenting) is about risks vs. benefits. There is no risk-free way to become a parent.
Choosing your path is about balancing those risks and benefits.
In International adoption, common risks include:
Risks associated with finances/costs/fees
Risks associated with bureaucracy - two countries, multiple languages
Risks associated with travel - international
Risks associated with unknown genetic/ethnic/family medical history
Risks associated with unknown, poor, or nonexistent prenatal medical care and/or nutrition
Risks asssociated with known or unknown substance exposure (alcohol, narcotics) in utero
Risks associated with unknown or poor infant/child medical care and/or nutrition
Risks associated with possible exposure to abuse and/or neglect, known or unknown at time of placement
In domestic parental placement, common risks include:
Risks associated with finances/fees/oosts
Risks associated with biological parents' decision to parent vs. place
Risks associated with poor or nonexistent prenatal medical care and/or nutrition
Risks asssociated with known or unknown substance exposure (alcohol, narcotics) in utero
Risks associated with possible travel - domestic
In Domestic waiting child/foster care common risks include:
Risks associated with bureaucracy
Risks associated with unknown, poor, or nonexistent prenatal medical care and/or nutrition
Risks asssociated with known or unknown substance exposure (alcohol, narcotics) in utero
Risks associated with unknown or poor infant/child medical care and/or nutrition
Risks associated with possible exposure to abuse and/or neglect, known or unknown at time of placement
As with any risk scenario, we can take steps to mitigate or transfer a risk or we can decide that the risk probability and/or impact is tolerable.
Some ask me, as a parent in domestic parental placement, how I handled the possiblity that my son's biological parents would 'change their minds'. It WAS nerve-wracking and terrifying. For us, though, the desire to parent from infancy, and the desire for our child to have first-person access to all his 'pieces' of himself outweighed the risk. Honestly, for me, being in a foreign country for possibly weeks with an infant or toddler terrified me just as much if not more.
For others, it's a risk that cannot be outweighed by that benefit. Domestic parental placement would not be a good choice for someone who feels that way.
This is why there is also no one 'best way' or 'right way' to adopt, there is only a best and right way for you. I find that when you are at peace with the reasons you chose your path, then people's inquiries tend to be less bothersome and more easily resolved.
Hope this helps, JMHO
We have adopted both ways.
Domestically we waited about 3 years. We networked privately. We had one bad experience where a young girl told us she was pregnant with twins in FL. (We're in the NE). As it turns out, she was telling a similar story to at least 8 other couples...and she wasn't really pregnant.
We did finally adopt a newborn (I was in the delivery room when she was born) and the whole experience was fantastic!! Our state has a 45 day period for the birthmom to change her mind which was no problem. But the birthfather wouldn't sign the papers...we had to wait to finalize for 2 years because of him. He never attempted contact, and due to the laws he still had rights until a judge took his rights away. But take my word for it, this person shouldn't have had a right to begin with...he's been found guilty of a few horrific crimes.
Anyway, after all that we opted to look at older child adoption for the 2nd time around. After a lot of research, we found that we were drawn to Guatemala. We found that this avenue was the best for us. I won't state our reasons for deciding against older child adoption in the US on this thread because it's another whole ball of wax! Just suffice to say that Guatemala really did feel right and was the best choice for us this time around.
The best advice I would have is go with your heart, it will tell you what is best for you.
Regina always says that so well. We decided to adopt internationally because our priorities were met better by that particular means of adoption.
We wanted a defined timeline -- domestic adoption relies on expectant mothers choosing you. That can take a month or a year.
We were uncomfortable with committing an ongoing personal relationship with another adult, which we had to do if we chose to do a fully open adoption. I continue to believe while open adoption is a wonderful thing when it works right, we are not the sort of people for whom it would work well. That's a flaw in me, not the system.
We liked the idea of providing a home to a child who didn't have one. We liked the idea of bringing another culture into our family. We weren't insistent on a newborn. All of these factored into our decision.
spaypets - everything that you said here is EXACTLY how I feel about it. I could have written your reply myself as well. I am very uncomfortable with the thought of an open adoption, and the whole waiting for someone to choose us. I just don't think I have it in me to deal with those aspects. It's nice to know that other people feel the same way.
Back to post on this one to say I also support any type of adoption. I have a friend involved in helping place teenagers...tho we are not yet nor may never be to that point, my heart goes out to the kids I've seen on our state's waiting children listings! Wish we could do that, too!
I didn't take offense from any comments about domestic adoptions.
If anyone is interested in one family's experience, read on. Ours may be different from other domestic adoptions, according to how our agency works, and the fact that it took place 14 yrs ago. I believe they still use this procedure, however.
Birthmoms choose family from files w/ nonidentifying info, but the family isn't notified they've been chosen until the child is born and ready to be placed. Usually they wait the 72 hrs as required in our state also, for both birth parents (if father also possible) to sign relinquishment. Infants are placed with a foster family for that time period, unless still under hospital care. Some might worry that's too much shuffling around for the infant, but having an adoptive mom "on edge" until the papers are signed isn't the best situation, either. Though this way of doing things might be too much of a surprise for some to take...suddenly getting the call... our agency does it this way to be certain they aren't putting anyone at risk. Working privately through a lawyer, I believe does add to the chances of being disappointed, since the family is chosen early on in the pregnancy and birthmothers may change their minds. Because we knew our daughter's birth parent's rights had been terminated, we had no fears concerning losing our child. If we were to do another domestic adoption (if we were 20 yrs younger), that's the only way I would feel comfortable doing it, myself, since it provided so much security. But as stated, each needs to do what they know is best for their family. We asked for a child up to age two domestically and we were also in the Guatemalan program...or so we thought. Our agency only put us in their US newborn program, choosing that for us, tho we believe led by God, as evidenced by our wonderful 14yr old daughter.
Our agency gives choice as to type of relationship families want with birthmoms. We agreed to meet a birthmom, if that's the only way she could be comfortable placing her child with us, though we would prefer not to. The birthmom asked to meet us when our daughter was about 5months old. As it turned out, she changed her mind. We felt better it worked out this way. She's kept her word not to interfere and doesn't yet ask for updates or photos we provide thru our agency. We respect her for giving us the freedom and peace of mind to raise our daughter ourselves. We'll be supportive one day, if our daughter chooses to pursue finding her birthmom. She's 14 now, so none of us are ready for that.
Our next three adoptions were from beautiful Guatemala. We are equally as blessed by all three of these amazing children! We would always highly recommend Guatemala, too!
Well, despite my various thoughts, I can't imagine finding anyone else to be our daughter, so we did the right thing. We wanted a 2-4 year old girl, so we did first look into adopting through the foster care system, we hit some roadbumps there and couldn't pursue it. However, a part of me did want first to provide a home to a child in the local foster care system. Other than our issues, we were told it would be darn difficult to locate a young girl without special needs. So, our next choice was India because my husband is from there, and we felt we wanted to give a home to an orphan there. Probably could've accomplished it and looked for a match for a while, but expected a very long wait. Decided to look at other countries, and then saw our daughter, and that was it. If we were younger, starting out, I might be inclined to try to adopt and raise a baby from birth in the U.S. For me, it would provide 2 things that appeal to me, raising the child from birth and the chance for an open adoption. I would like to have some contact with the birth parents and family.