I said I was going to answer this question way back when I posted my first Q&A entry. We get asked this question often. But more so we are asked, “Why didn’t you adopt from here?” (i.e., domestically). I believe that this question has been asked out of genuine curiosity. However, there have been a couple of instances where we felt that the person asking was insinuating that foreign adoption/China is second rate to adopting a baby from America. But hopefully that wasn’t the case.
Anyway, when we attended an informational meeting at Lifeline back in March, they presented brief overviews of both domestic and international adoption. I don’t think domestic adoption was ever on my radar to be perfectly honest. Even though at that point, Jeremy wasn’t completely ready to move forward with adoption, I think he actually wanted to hear as much or more about domestic as he did international. Because one pro to adopting domestically is that you can get a newborn baby.
Domestic adoption is apparently a lot more open than it used to be. We were told that not only are you adopting a baby, you are “adopting” the birth mom as well. Many birth moms want to stay in contact with the adoptive parents. This ranges from occasional emails with pictures, to visits and attending birthday parties. I guess Jeremy and I are selfish because this set up did not appeal to us. We just want a baby and that’s all. 🙂 But there are many people who love the idea of open adoptions and totally make it work for their families. And for them, that’s awesome. I actually came across a blog the other day where the biological mom and adoptive parents are very close and involved in each other’s lives.
If you adopt domestically you have to put together a portfolio, which is basically a glorified scrapbook. The portfolios allow the birth moms to look at pictures of and learn all about potential parents for their children. The lady at Lifeline who presented on domestic adoption (who is actually adopted herself) said it’s interesting sometimes the things that cause birth moms to choose or not choose a couple. For example, one mom may love that you have a dog whereas another wouldn’t give your portfolio a second look because of a dog. And I guess I can’t fault these moms for that. They are making the ultimate sacrifice in giving up their children in the hopes that they will have better lives with other families. So they are entitled to choose whomever and however they want, whether it makes sense to me or not! But again for us, we worried we would be on a list for years before a mom picked us. Or what if we were never picked?
And then what scared us the most was the fact that birth mothers have so many days to change their minds. After all we went through with the infertility, it would kill me to have to endure that.
All that being said, I really hope I have not come across as being negative about domestic adoption. And I also hope I haven’t discouraged anyone who might be thinking about adopting domestically or doing foster care. There are so many children who need homes here in Alabama and in the US! But again, for Jeremy and me, domestic adoption didn’t feel right and international did.
Finally, that leads us to how we arrived at China. For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to adopt from China. I’ve always been drawn to Asian children in public. Jeremy will tell that in the ten years we’ve been together, I have always talked about having a Chinese baby. However, I thought that we would have biological children first and then adopt. But God had other plans. 🙂 . Looking back now, I can see that God has been preparing my heart for adoption for many years.
After the meeting was over that night at Lifeline, they had an informal question and answer time. Jeremy and I talked with Logan, one of the international adoption specialists. We asked her questions and expressed interest about China and Uganda. They had also announced they would soon open an adoption program in Colombia and that interested us as well. But mostly, we talked about China.
Over the next few days, we discussed the adoption requirements and pros and cons for each of those countries. Colombia was just too new, plus you have to be in country about 6 weeks. Uganda is about as long. We liked that China was very structured and that the in country stay was only two weeks. That’s not to say we wouldn’t consider either of these countries in the future. 🙂 But all our conversations kept going back to China. And of course, that was all part of God’s plan.
One last thing. There are ~150 million orphans in the world. China is home to more than 20.5 million. Those numbers are mind blowing and that was another thing I couldn’t stop thinking about.
So in a very long nutshell, this is why we have said yes to China. And we couldn’t be happier about it.