We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. ~Isaiah 64:8

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Why International Adoption?

Whoa. Big question. But it is one we've begun to hear, if not directly asked, in comments and other questions. It is a good question, but a hard one. Of course the reasons we chose an international adoption are personal and each family's decision will be different.

Sometimes I hesitate to broach this question, for fear of others picking apart our choices, but we feel confident that we've make a sound decision for our family.

So, here you go, Why We Chose International Adoption:

1) Healthy newborns do not become waiting children in the US, unlike other countries where healthy children wait and wait to have a family. Even children with minor special needs (and not so minor special needs) are adopted quickly (often from birth) in the US. In other countries, special needs children who cannot be cared for by their parents are relinquished to state care and hopefully adoption (although many spend years and years in orphanages). There are waiting children in this country through the foster care system, but we do not feel our family is called to that process for a number of reasons. Particularly, we are concerned that the possibility of disruption in a "foster to adopt" situation would be extraordinarily hard on our other children. (Disruption in adoption terms is when an adoption situation is halted and the child returns to the system or birth parent.)

2) We really want another daughter and we would not be able to choose gender in a domestic newborn adoption. This is a fairly minor reason, but it is still a reason. Since the children are already born when being matched to families in an international adoption, their gender can be a criteria for matching.

3) While we wish international adoptions could be semi-open (allowing non-identifying contact between birth mother and our family), we prefer not to have a fully-open adoption. With older biological children this could cause confusion.

4) Waiting for a birth mother to choose us could be difficult and heart-breaking for us and our children. As would the waiting period after the child is placed with us (and disruption at this point would be devastating to them).

5) We don't feel the need to have a newborn. Many first-time adoptive parents (meaning this is their first child) greatly desire to experience the newborn days. While I would love for my daughter to be with me in her newborn days, I don't have that "need" to do newborn stuff all over again. We will be happy to adopt an older baby or toddler. Many internationally adopted children come home well past their infancies.

6) Becoming a mixed-culture or mixed-race family is challenge we look forward to. We don't see it as negative, we see it as a positive. We are enjoying beginning to learn about Armenian culture and we are excited about passing that culture on to our daughter.

7) Birth mothers, understandably, seem to feel that families with no children are more in need than families with children. Because we already have three birth children, our family might have a very long wait until a birth mother selects us. We don't want to have an even larger gap in our kids' ages, so the sooner we can complete the adoption the better. Our international adoption will most likely be completed in about a year (from dossier submission).

8) The Lord has very clearly led us to this decision and confirmed and reconfirmed that decision.

The question, "Why international adoption" or "Why not domestic adoption" seems to come up because people are genuinely concerned about the problems with international adoption in some countries, but as the spotlight has gotten brighter so has the scrutiny on those problems. People on all sides of the adoption triad are paying more attention to ethics. Another concern is that there are children here in the US needing homes, and while that is true, the US foster system is not without its own faults.

The best we can do is choose a reputable agency with a high concern for ethics and pray for the Lord to lead us.


Renee said...

I have been absent for a bit around here!! Can I say we are almost on the EXACT SAME journey (just many steps behind you;) We are just at the *saying it in public* stage at this point;) Our hearts are in Rwanda with our AMiA connection...
Wow, Kerry, thank you for posting your journey. You have just become a PART of ours with being so vulernable and honest in YOURS!! This is so amazing to me! I haven't read everything yet, I am very behind...so I need to go and catch up. Your family WILL be prayed for!!

Kerry said...

Oh, Renee, how exciting! It is awesome to have a blogger friend along on the same journey. :) Blessings to you!


Shari Ellen said...

I like #8 the best - The Lord has led you to adopt internationally. My husband and I are wondering if God is leading us to do this too. It's something that we've talked about on and off for 15 years. I have a cousin who is in China, right now, bringing home her new little girl.

Kerry said...

Hi, Shari! You know, #8 is really #1. :)

Where is your cousin? (You don't have to answer here.) Not anywhere affected directly by the quake in Sichuan is she/he?

fearlesschef said...

I am truly thrilled for you. My parents adopted my youngest brother from India while I was in high school and he is quite often the light of my life and such a joy to the family. He is my darling and will always be so close to my heart.

Before I got married, I was told that would only be by a great Act of God that I would ever conceive and it seemed to be of no issue as I was working on my career. Now, almost 3 years into a wonderful marriage, I am frustrated with my youthful foolishness. We have suffered 2 miscarriages and will soon be undergoing tests to see how things are.

All that to say, my darling baby brother has opened my heart to adoption in ways only possible through experience. Currently, we are waiting for God to tell us which route to take. As we haven't been married long enough to be approved, we are concentrating on our marriage and our relationship before anything else, but would gladly welcome another "brown boy" into our lives.

I will keep you in my prayers and hopes as this process, while long, is one to be cherished and relished. I anxiously await continuing news!