Just wanting to hear opinions out there from those of you that chose International adoption and why. We've contemplated both international and domestic and i see pluses and minuses to both. Some of the pluses to me seem to be controlled cost, less risk of a failed adoption, the idea of a more "closed" adoption. What do you all think? International seems to take so much longer that I wonder what makes people choose it so often.
Thanks in advance!:thanks:
The first time I adopted, I was not looking for a newborn, because I knew there were so many people who wanted newborns. I had already had two bio kids, so it felt kind of selfish to me to go for a newborn when there were so many waiting who had no children. Social services told me that it was a bad idea to take a child older than my oldest bio, however, they also said they were not interested in even talking to me if I was not going to take older children because that was what they had need of. So that left international. I wanted a child with special needs, a child that was not wanted. Also a friend visted some orphanages and the conditions for the special needs kids broke my heart. Kids in foster care here get medical care, food and education. That is not the case in every country. The second time, social services would not even return my calls or e-mails requesting information. I had moved to a different state from the first time. I was willing to take severely disabled children, but could not even get a phone call or e-mail returned, so I again ended up doing foreign.
I think that most people ultimately feel "drawn" to one form of adoption or another. I know that when I read an article about adoption from China, it was as if a light bulb went on; there was no specific reason, but I just "knew" that it was right for me. I did my research anyway, but never felt the same way about any other country or type of adoption, even though I took a course that discussed the various types of adoption and made it my business to meet many adoptive families who had chosen other routes.
Certainly, when I did my research, it confirmed that adoption from China was a good choice for me. I was older and single, at a time when China actually valued older and single parents. Chinese culture was very similar to my own Jewish culture, especially in terms of the emphasis placed on valuing learning, tradition, and the wisdom of the elderly. The process seemed organized and ethical. The children, though often having the sorts of delays and minor medical concerns found in post-institutional children, tended to be as represented and to receive decent care. And there were some very highly regarded agencies working in the field, with a few even in my own city.
Domestic adoption never appealed to me, but not for the reasons you mention. As an older single, and also as a Jewish woman, I knew that I stood little chances of being chosen by a birthmother in open adoption, agency-assisted programs. Birthmothers in such programs tend to seek out fairly young married couples, and generally prefer people who are Christian, because they are more likely to be Christian.
Domestic foster care adoptions most commonly involved older children and/or children with special needs, and as a single, older person, I worried about my ability to meet the often complex needs of such children, as well as about my ability to identify a guardian willing to take on an older or special needs child if I should die or become incapacitated.
Private adoption never appealed to me, because of the many risk factors (scams are not uncommon, for example), and because I didn't really like the idea of "marketing" myself to pregnant women via their doctors and so on, and negotiating the payment of birthmother expenses.
As far as the countries that were open at the time I began thinking about adoption, there were relatively few that accepted singles and older women. And many agencies were just beginning to accept single and older applicants, in any case.
While I'm sure that I could love a child of any race or ethnicity, and had people of Eastern European, Western European, and Hispanic origin in my extended family, I never felt as attracted to countries like Russia, Romania, or Paraguay (some of the countries that were open at the time) as I did to China. I did have some concern about raising a Black child because of the prejudices he/she might face from both White and Black people in our society, but I also knew that I had been involved in various civil rights organizations when I was younger, and probably could handle the challenges.
Again and again, however, when I would look at programs and countries, I kept coming back to China. And I really believe that my adoption was "meant to" happen, for the child who became my daughter couldn't have been more perfect for my family.
We considered domestic adoption, but were told that it could take as long as 7 years to get selected: my husband and I did not seem to be the most likely fit for a Christian birth mom - we are not religious, my husband is Jewish; we were also not living in a detached house; both made use "unlikely matches," our agency told us, because birthmoms in their experience prefer families who match them in religion and live in a house with a large backyard. This worried us, since I had a close friend who had waited without success for many years for a domestic adoption. We didn't want to wait for years, because we were already on the "older" side, so international adoption just seemed to fit our lives better.
For us it was an easy decision, we were stationed overseas at the time and international adoption was easier, then a domestic adoption. No birthmom/domestic agency is really looking for a family a continent away and adoption from foster care wasn't an option.
After looking at all the programs that were available to us in 2005 we decided on Guatemala.
There were a few reasons, a couple of which I am not proud of at this point.
First, we had a very negative, stereotypical view of birthmothers and wanted nothing to do with an open adoption, which we were told was most likely what would be wanted by most prospective birthmothers. Many years later I realize how horribly wrong I was and actually wish we could find our children's birthmothers in Guatemala but my husband is totally opposed.
Second, we weren't comfortable 'marketing' ourselves to prospective birthmothers. There was something about the homestudy worker telling us that we were such a nice looking family and so marketable that totally turned my stomach. In hindsight we should have just fired the social worker on the spot, but again that is many years later after reading and meeting people here. I still won't be comfortable with a 'dear birthmother' letter and a profile book, but I could do it. It just would be different than a lot of them I see out there. Not right or wrong. Just what I am comfortable with for me. I just can't get past that 'competing' for a baby feeling.
We were adopting because we couldn't have more biological children, and while we wanted a baby or toddler, we didn't necessariy feel the need to adopt a newborn. So for us, a waiting child in another country who otherwise most likely wouldn't have a home or family seemed like the best choice for us.
Now this was 8 years ago when we first started down the road to adoption and things have changed dramatically in international adoption and I am so much better educated about adoption. If we were to adopt again now, I would be more inclinned toward domestic or foster care due to wait times and fees in international as well as all I have learned here, but DH would still be international all the way.
It all just comes down to what is right for you and your family.
Good luck with whatever path you choose!
I think that most people ultimately feel "drawn" to one form of adoption or another. I know that when I read an article about adoption from China, it was as if a light bulb went on; there was no specific reason, but I just "knew" that it was right for me.
I agree with Sharon. People usually feel drawn to one or the other. That is how I ended up in Bulgaria. Also, international fit for me because I did not like "competing" for a child with several other families. I felt like there were all these families just waiting for the next baby to be born and then compete to be chosen as their parents, while in international there are all these children just hoping that they may get a family and not have to grow up in an orphanage. I also was not comfortable with the possibility of a failed adoption, and all the money that I could lose.
I was once a long term volunteer in an orphanage in the country I'm adopting from and have continued visiting\volunteering a semi-regular basis. So for me adopting from there has always been in my mind
Before making my final decision to go international I did briefly at least consider other options. For me some of my reasons for adopting internationally include:
-As a single women I felt disadvantaged in the selection process in domestic adoption. The idea of marketing myself and potentially "competing" with other potential parents wasn't appealing to me.
-The wait process was a big factor for me. It is hard to say which has a shorter wait, but in international it feels like a little more predictable. I feel like with domestic you could get a match in a week or in 3 years sometimes with little notice. There is also the possibility of matches falling through. With my international adoption there is a orderly waiting list where you actually get updated numbers of where you are on the list. It is kind of like waiting in line. You don't always know how long it will take, but you can see how fast it is moving and at least estimate when you are close to the front.
-It is rare to find a healthy young child in my state's foster care system without significant legal risk.
We already had 4 biological sons. We felt completely blessed in our family and wanted to share it with a child who might otherwise not find a family. We looked at domestic/fostercare and international. Our youngest son was 5 and we wanted a child younger than him and there didn't seem to be too many available thru domestic without serious needs or siblings. My husband is Asian so we turned to Asia and looked at waiting children. We chose a 5 year old with a "complicated history", and other delays from living in an institution for many years. We are happy to have her home and helping her to heal.
wow I'm so overwhelmed by all of your replies! :popcorn: This is really great. It's got me thinking and I was just talking to my husband about it yesterday that I think I might like to still try domestic for a newborn since it would be our first and I would like to have the experience with a baby, but once the baby is 4 or 5 then I would like to adopt a waiting child from another country. I'm afraid that if we go the other way around and adopt the older child first that we might run the risk of that child feeling insecure once a new baby is brought into the mix. I feel slightly the same about the "marketing" involved in a domestic adoption but when i put myself in the birthmom's shoes I feel like i would also want to know what life for my baby would be like and unfortunately unless you could personally interview each one, these profiles are all they get initially so they have to paint the picture for you and it's only natural that the birthmom would pick the one that felt right to her.
Well, in our case, we tried everything else, and the only thing left to try was international, so here we are.
Initially, we wanted a newborn bc this will be our first child. We also didn't want to spend a lot of money we didn't have. So we didn't sign with an agency and instead did the whole self-promotion and birth mother search ourselves. We were OK with openness in adoption, so this wasn't a problem. We had 4 fall throughs. The first bmom found us online, but she ended up placing with her relatives when she found out they were interested. We never met her. We "worked" with her for about 2 months.
There was another "situation" that technically started even before this one, and it was an on-again-off-again fiasco for over a year. The bmom's mother was trying to arrange the adoption, as the bmom had serious mental health issues. We initially thought the father was Latino (like DH), so when we found out a different guy was the father, we backed off for a bit. But the little guy stayed on our minds (he was 5 months old when we first got in touch with the family). We stayed in touch with the grandma, and inquired some time later. He had been placed in kinship care with the other grandmother by then, so again we backed off. Then she contacted us later bc the other grandmother was having trouble raising the little guy herself, so we got involved. We attended court, talked to social workers and attorneys, but by then social services was involved and as it turned out, they had no interest in us and ended up placing him with one of their own foster families (even though we were already licensed foster parents by then in our own county).
The third bmom ended up keeping the baby. She was only a month along and again it was her custodial grandmother who was trying to arrange it. She went along with it for 5 months, and then after turning 18 she moved out of state and didn't say anything to us.
The fourth bmom was a relative situation. She was in her second trimester, already had a child she was trying to regain custody of, and both bparents met with our attorney. After we paid to have the legal ball rolling, she changed her mind. This was the biggest blow out of the four, bc the baby would be our family no matter what. She and the baby ended up living with us for several months after the fall through.
The last situation was while we were fostering. We fostered a precious little girl for 10 months, from age 6 months to 16 months. In spite of wanting so badly to adopt her, we did everything we could to help ease her transition back to mom. Let's just say I did not appreciate the way DSS handled the whole situation, and I saw first hand that "the best interest of the child" is absolutely NOT at all what they're all about.
We also inquired on tens and tens of waiting kids in foster care, siblings, various ethnic backgrounds, very wide age range (we once considered a 13yo girl we saw at a heart gallery). But we never got any call backs. So it would seem that God had my native Poland planned for us all along. Two and a half years of pursuing domestic, fost-adopt, and fostering, and nothing?!
The question I'm asking myself now is this: Why didn't I automatically want to adopt from my own native country to begin with? Ah, hindsight.:hippie: