Monday, November 24, 2014

Why INTERNATIONAL Adoption?

Have you heard of this story?
http://www.wfla.com/story/27459315/us-congressman-aids-in-dunedin-couples-intercontinental-adoption

A local Florida family adopted a very sick little boy from the Congo and has had to fight for months to bring him home.  Our US Congressman Mario Rubio got involved and helped the family.  (I LOVE Rubio!)  Anyhow the story is sweet and all has ended well, hopefully the little boy will get the surgery he needs and live a long happy life with his new sweet family.

So I read the comment section, I rarely do but I was SHOCKED at the very very nasty comments directed towards this family and to international adoption in general.

Let me answer some questions for folks who do not understand......


First, International adoption and US adoption generally cost about the same, around $25,000.  Most of that cost is legal fees to the governments and to lawyers.  Often an healthy infant adoption in the US is closer to $60,000 and the cost of the birth mom's housing and medical bills are involved.  I do not know anyone personally who adopted that way as it is so expensive.    Recently I saw the announcement for a few special needs adoptions in the US that were $25,000 -$30,000.  

Second, Adoption from the foster care system is often said to be something people should do BEFORE they ever think about going overseas.  Well......for the record MANY children caught in the foster care system are NOT available for adoption.  I have had quite a few friends who have been or are foster parents and have wished to adopt the child(ren) they were fostering only to see that child(ren) go back to the birth parents OR to other relatives.  That is how the American Foster Care System is set up, reunification of the family is the goal.  And if reunification of the family is not a possibility, then IF there is a willing relative, the child will go to them.  So even though we have millions in the foster care system, only a small percentage will be adoptable.  Many years ago we looked into adoption from foster care and were totally turned off by the uncertainty of the process.  We were told we'd have to go through classes and then do foster care.  Then if a child came through we would have to go through about a year process IF the child was released for adoption.  I did not want to deal with all the emotional parts of this, knowing a few families who were devastated by having to give their beloved child back to parents or relatives.  So adopting from foster care can be free financially, sometimes even giving the adoptive family a monthly stipend for the child BUT it is costly emotionally. 


Third, for all the folks ( I replaced the word folks for the word I had written LOL)  who don't understand, International adoption requires approval from the US government and a foreign government.  It is MUCH more stringent than a private US adoption or even adopting from the Foster Care system.  People get through the cracks in all systems because each layer of protection is dependent on the layer underneath to get the right info on families.  For international adoption, a family must first be approved by a REAL home study agency/social worker.  Then they have to pass the state & local  background check and any other state/township area lived in the past.  Then they have to have a clear record with the Child Protection Agency for the state they live in and any states they've lived in the past 10 years.  Up to this point domestic and international adoption is equal....but for families wanting to adopt internationally, they then must be approved by the Department of Homeland Security.  That includes a nationwide background check as well as meeting ALL of the Department's requirements which are higher than state requirements.  THEN when ALL of that is done the dossier of paperwork is sent to the country the family wished to adopt from.  The family must show they meet all that countries' requirement AND passed international Interpol's background screening.   Also some countries have different standards.  China has a higher medical standard that parents have to pass.  Most countries will not adopt to single people or to homosexual couples.  Some countries do not allow divorced people to adopt and have age limits.  So....if you adopt internationally your family is scrutinized deeply and there are many more rules to follow.


Fourth, our US Foster Care system is flawed BUT it's so much better than anything I've seen in other countries.  The system might break down here, some children may not get all the services or medical care they need and in a few cases, a child might be abused BUT the difference is some adult will get in trouble, lose their job, go to jail, depending on the situation and hopefully change will come out of the situation.  No system is perfect but some are better than others! When I think back to the orphanages I've seen, they would be shut down in the US. 

In our personal case, we were not planning or thinking about adoption either time we adopted.  With Shad we "just happened" to get a newsletter that told about him and our hearts were moved since we had just had Sam.  With Sarah, I "just happened" to see her picture and was moved because of the similarities between her and Sam.  And Selah was a precious surprise to us.....

Some people adopt because they can't have biological children. Some  adopt a specific gender.  Some people think it is the "Christian thing to do"  We adopted because somehow THOSE children were OUR children. 

Yes we had thought about adoption after we'd been married a couple of years and couldn't get pregnant.  But we were turned off by the cost and the fear of going through the foster care system.  Plus we were not sure we were ready to give up our childless life!!!   Then again after I'd had Steve I read an article about the "dying rooms" in Chinese orphanages and I prayed that God would let us one day adopt a child to save them from that fate.  (BTW, I believe I saw a "dying room" in Shad's orphanage) But I didn't look into it or do any research on adoption.   Then after Sam was born, adoption was not on our radar at all.  It was not discussed nor research in any way until we saw Shad's picture and read about him and our hearts were moved.  Once we had our three boys, we didn't think about adoption again except once briefly right after we adopted Shad.  At the time I saw Sarah's picture, it was not something we ever thought we would do again at our age.  But once again we were drawn to THAT child.  Then as the adoption progressed we decided to adopt another little blind boy who was in Sarah's orphanage.  He was adopted by another family and then that's when we learned of Selah.

Having been in the girls' orphanage for weeks, there were three children who we were drawn to by daily interacting with them.  We were in the process of researching the possibility of adopting one or all of them before the accident happened.  

So for us adoption was not "something we did" it was always because of SOMEONE we were drawn to specifically.   Every case is different and every family is different. 

I'm for adoption of every kind, anything that gives a child a home and a family to love.  So whether it is an adoption out of the foster care system, or a private adoption or an international adoption....I celebrate it!  

I do have one last word for all those jerks who wrote in the comment section of that article, the ones who were so very concerned for the orphans in America....WHAT ARE YOU DOING ABOUT IT?????




5 comments:

  1. Just to clarify/correct about adopting from Foster Care. There are over 100,000 kids who have already had their parental rights terminated and can be adopted at no cost. They are mostly sibling groups, older kids, and kids with special needs. Many are listed on various photo listings, such as www.adoptuskids.org

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    1. I believe in adoption from foster care!!!!

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    2. BTW,, we did try to contact that organization about a specific child. I wanted to highlight her case on here. she is blind. I was given the run around and no one knew how to find the child, although I saw her listed on their website. a friend of mine posted about her..... I've been told that is how that organization has responded about several children. Probably the best thing would be to go through your specific foster care agency in your own state.

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  2. Yes- you do need to be certified to adopt (classes and home study through local agency) before they will share information- probably to avoid many dead-end leads, but once you are, it's a pretty easy process. We adopted my daughter from the opposite coast when she was 9 and had a much easier time of it than many of my friends who adopted internationally (no customs forms/citizenship forms!). The cost to us was $0 and they even paid for is to go out and visit before she came

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