Why International? We Have Needs Here.
The question is: “Why and how did you choose to adopt internationally when we have so many children here in the US that need a home?”
This is almost always the follow up question after “what made you consider adoption?”.
When Wendy and I made the decision that one of the most important part of our lives was to become parents, and having exhausted all other considered means, adoption was our only alternative.
We discussed in detail quite a bit, age, gender, and most importantly, the type of adoption. Though we wanted to experience childbirth together, but were not able to, we decided that we wanted to adopt an infant. We knew that it probably would not be new-born, but we definitely wanted the baby stage. We skipped ethnicity for the time being and directed our concentration to the biggest factor that would affect our dream, financing the process.
Adopting domesticly, there are two types, open and closed. One type of adoption you know who the parents are, the other you do not. This was not really an issue for us however, time and cost would be factors. We knew that there would be ups and downs waiting for a caucasian infant, such as interviews with parents, having false hopes, and huge let downs. Adopting another race could also prove difficult on not just us, but on the child as well depending on the area that we lived and if there would be acceptence of a mixed race family. Because we knew lawyers would be involved, and though we never got a price, we estimated the cost (back in 2003) to be at least $50,000. And then of course, there was the huge risk of having the birth parent return, to ask for her child back and that would be a whole other situation that we did not want the possibility of. Knowing the birth parents or having a relationship with them is one thing. But spending a lifetime (even just one minute) and to lose the child forever was not an option.
This was also the reason that we did not consider going through the foster system. My step-sister had been a foster parent several times. And I admired her for her efforts. Wendy and I just felt that we could not afford emotionally to get attached to someone, only to have them ripped from our hearts. And would it not be for health issues, we would probably consider an older child at this point, but we definitely wanted to go through the infant stage.
That left only the international option. We made many phone calls to adoption agencies. For the most part, we got nothing but voice mails. One agency that actually answered its phone unfortunately was too judgemental about me being divorced. Then we finally reached an agency that answered its phone, and was genuinely interested in helping to build a family. We spent close to an hour on the telephone asking all kinds of questions, and the questions got answered. The agency invited us to an informational meeting at the local office.
We sat in the back of the conference room (some behaviors never change from school). A social worker talked about international adoption and some of the processes and how they were determined by the country adopting from. After that, a guest speaker was introduced, actually a guest speaker and her adopted daughter. Sue had just been to China within the last year and wanted all of us to meet Lilly Grace, her daughter. Lilly Grace was the most beautiful little girl with the largest smile we had ever seen (up until the point we adopted our daughters of course). It was instantaneous, we would build our family through China.
The fees involved with adopting and travel would cost us 1/3 of what adopting domestic would cost. My health history was of no concern to China as entities in the US would discriminate against me. There would be no chance of our daughters being taken away from us. Wendy and I were going to have a family.