We attended our first informational meeting at an adoption agency yesterday. I think we got good information and are starting to formulate a plan, but it was our first mtg, so more to come.
I was shocked at how emotional it was. Everyone else seemed to be keeping it together well and I probably looked like I was on the outside. Leading up to the meeting, I had those first pregnancy emotions where you are excited and nervous about not knowing what to expect. But as I walked into the room and heard someone talking about the process we’ll have to take to get a child, there were many moments that brought tears to my eyes. I thought of all the babies I’ve lost. I wondered what pain everyone else had experienced to get to this point. I wondered why it is as simple as sex for some people, yet others have to go through a seemingly endless number of doctors visits, hpts, emotions and now paperwork and scrutiny. At one point, they were talking about the difficulty everyone has to go through to get to this point and she mentioned something about infertility.
This agency places many more children internationally than domestically. We have talked about wanting a child around 2 years old, 3 at the most, and would like a well established program with shorter wait times. Of the countries they work with, Russia was our obvious choice. Here are some notes on what they said about other programs as far as why they wouldn’t work for our needs:
Nepal–this is still a pilot program and they haven’t completed the process to get a child placed yet
Ukraine–all children are over 5
Uzbekistan–children are over 3, this is also a pilot and one has been placed so far
Korea–lots of requirements, including 3 years of marriage and health issues. We’ll be married 2 years in April.
China–it currently is a wait time of 3 years! Wait time is the amount of time after completing all your paperwork/home study to getting an actual child referred to you.
Thailand–v small program. I think they talked about lots of requirements there too.
Ethiopia–this was a v impressive program with some nice features (being able to visit the home region with the child, good medical care, receiving a book on the life of the child before adoption). Most children are infants, which isn’t what we want.
Mexico–children are over 5 and have a past of abuse or neglect.
Guatemala and Vietnam are closed.
As far as Russia goes, it is a long standing program and this agency placed 71 children this year. They currently have 500k-1 million children living in their orphanages, which are state run and organized by age. I liked the age. So infants and toddlers have their own orphanage, rather than being with older kids. Also, because they are state run, the orphanages are similar from region to region. The Russian program is pretty flexible on the requirements for adoptive parents and referrals happen pretty quickly. All children available for adoption internationally are over a year–most are over 15 months. They said that if you want a boy, you could receive a referral in 2-6 months and 12-18 months for a girl. Once you get the referral, you travel to Russia for one week to meet the child. Then it is 2-4 months before a court date is set, so you leave the child (I’m not really sure how I’ll ever be able to do that!) and wait for the court date. The second trip is about three weeks. So the only thing I don’t like about the program is the two trips, because it adds extra emotions and costs.
I had already been leaning towards Russia, but hubby was pretty set on it by the time we left as well. I was surprised at how easily we were able to narrow it down, but it did fall into place once we decided what we wanted and then heard about the programs. Every agency works with different countries though, so we’ll see what the next mtg brings.
They talked about domestic adoption as well. Some of the pros with that are you know much more information about the child and pre-natal care. You can also be involved from the beginning. But domestic is not for us. It involves really putting yourself out there and networking to find a potential biological mother. They said that b-moms typically choose younger, married couples from the books. Younger was defined as under 40 and I’ll be 39 in a few weeks, so our chances would be slim. They currently have over 80 couples in the book, yet only placed 21 children this year and three of those were situations where the b-mom changed her mind during the waiting period. With those kind of odds and having my big toe left in the younger category, it just isn’t an option for us.
I’d like to finalize which agency sometime in Feb and complete the paperwork by June.