“Adoption” is a very broad term in today’s world. The two types we are looking into are domestic infant adoption and international adoption.
Domestic infant adoption is *probably* cheaper, but I am wary of how the outcome depends entirely on a birth mother to select you to parent her unborn child. I guess I’m a little afraid that our conservativeness could come off as weird or freakish. We also are not comfortable with any kind of open adoption, and closed adoptions seem to be getting more and more rare. Of course, if you are never selected by a birthmother, all the money and time you’re invested in the home study and the agency is gone. That’s a big risk in my book. Finally, I take issue with the ‘waiting period’ that the birth mother has to change her mind between the birth and finalization. In our state it is 96 hours (four days), which isn’t the worst, but my heart would break if we took a baby home for four days and then baby’s birthmother wanted him or her back.
International adoption is pricey, mostly because of all the paperwork that must be done in both the U.S. and your adoptive country. Everything needs to be translated, and in the vast majority of cases, travel is required. This is tough for us as we cannot be gone on long trips due to my husband’s work (and he HATES to fly!). However, in most countries, a couple is matched with a child that is already free for adoption – no ‘waiting period’, no waiting to be selected by a birthmom, no requirements to maintain contact with a birth family. I have family members that were adopted internationally and it was a great experience for me to see. They are not without their struggles, but it was a powerful lesson in love for me that has impacted me, and I would like to make a difference that way, too.
What country? Well, this complicate things even further, my husband and I are too young (26) for many countries (China, for example, requires parents to be 30; the Philippines requires age 27). Furthermore, our mental health histories also eliminate a LOT of the most common countries that Americans adopt from. It was really kind of heart-breaking to see so many possibilities slip away just because we’ve both endured major depressive episodes at times in our lives. (Who goes through infertility without depression, anyways?) The trend in international adoptions has also shifted from healthy, older babies and young toddlers to older children or children with special needs. Now I’m not afraid to welcome a special needs child as my own, but I need to be honest about our situation. We will be on one small income after we are parents. Our current insurance is good – does not deny coverage for pre-existing conditions – but it’s pricey and may very well have to go in favor of something with lower premiums. We’re afraid to take an older child as our first – we feel like we need some parenting experience “growing up” with a younger child first. Also (could this get any harder?) some countries require a ‘ent worth’ or have income requirements that we don’t meet, being a ministry couple with old cars and living in a parsonage. So, what country lets you adopt from them if you don’t make a ton of money, have depression in your medical history, has young kids available, and doesn’t require multiple trips or one long trip? South Korea. Vietnam is also a possibility if they re-open for international adoptions in 2012 as indicated.
As you can probably tell, my heart is leaning toward international, but my husband is unsure as this point. If you would, please pray that God’s will is made known to us, and that we follow it.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding, In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV