Friday, January 27, 2006

Adoption Insights

I talked with P. yesterday, a social worker in our church that works as a "Home Study" helper. Now, yesterday at this time I had no idea what a "Home Study" was. Basically, it's a form you fill out that summarizes who you and your spouse are, your income, your hobbies, etc. It is a form that adoption agencies use (and governments) to see if you're a match to adopt. I was talking with her after Bible Study yesterday because she and her family adopted Náte from Ethiopia. He came to them after his mother dropped him off at an Aids Clinic to receive treatment. She died shortly after. P. explained that in most African countries the mothers and fathers would starve themselves before they would give up their children, but the AIDS epidemic is causing true orphans. Now, P. said she and her four kids are going to spend a year in Ethiopia, and are hoping they can adopt an older child when they are overseas. I am planning on keeping them in my prayers, what an adventure!

I decided to talk to P. about her opinions on adoption, as she has 3 birth children and 1 legally adopted child (as well as another older child that considers her and her husband mom and dad, though not legally adopted). What P. explained is that there are two different types of adoptions: Domestic and International. Then there are Private Domestic. Good grief.

What's hard about domestic adoption, as she explained, is domestic is centered around the birth mother. The birth mother goes to an agency, flips through all these profiles, and picks one. Now, your profile may sit in this file for years, or the same day you put in your profile (home study) a birth mother might choose it. It's an open adoption: which means the birth mother gets to choose and meet you. In her experience, P. explained that people have to wait a long time to adopt. Some couples to adopt domestically may have to wait five years, which is an eternity if you've already been waiting for a baby. We didn't talk about private domestic adoption too much; I think that's the type you use if you want to spend a lot to get a newborn directly from the hospital. I will have to do some research on that particular one.

International Adoption is different for every country. For example, some countries want you to personally get on a plane to pick up your child. Some countries only allow an escort to get your child and bring them back to you at the airport. Some countries (like South Africa) want to know specifics on your church and church attendance. Some countries (like China) don't want church mentioned in your application at all. She explained typically from the year you fill out your home study, within that year you will be 'matched' with a child. Also, on these applications you can specify what kind of child you want (age range and sex, etc.) These can run $15,000-$20,000 an adoption (including airfare), but there are income tax credits that can be spread out over 4 years. Also, some employers give incentives for adoption. P. said that basically her adoption of Náte was free.

It all seems very strange to me that an agency would charge for a child to get a good home. I suppose they have costs for looking up our records. I would hope that a good portion of that money would go to orphanages. I have told lots of people that it doesn't seem fair; there is no 'surprise' in adoption. You have to fill out a lot of paperwork, pay a lot of money, talk to a lot of people, figure out what to do, figure out what type of infertility treatment you will or won't do. People who can just get pregnant get pregnant, and have a baby! Wham, it shows up. Now, I know that's not as simple as it sounds. I know God is sovereign, and He decides who will and won't be able to have children. He can open or close a womb by His choice, and it is His perfect timing.

However, something weird is going on with me. I am frustrated by the adoption process, but I am excited that God could take a child that is not flesh and blood and make them your child. I think there needs to be an understanding that it wouldn't be the courts, or the governments, or the paperwork you sign. It is God that causes us to be a body, a family, united in Christ.

One of my other friends from church said she and her husband had a heart for China, and that's why they adopted two Chinese girls. If there would be a country or a region that I am passionate about, it would be South America. My ear is just always tuned to the political situation, the issues that effect South America. If it were completely up to me, and I know there are a lot of other factors involved, I would chose to adopt a child from Mexico or South America. However, what P. shared about the AIDS epidemic in Africa really got me thinking. I will have to do some more research on that topic as well.


At 6:42 PM, Blogger JamieS said...

Did your friend talk at all to you about Fostering with the intent to adopt? This basically means you become licensed foster parents but once licensed only accept children who are or will be legally adoptable relatively soon. This is a VERY inexpensive way to adopt. I know several people who have done it and can put you in contact if you'd like... also price wise you are talking in the low hundreds. Just a thought. Love ya sister!

At 7:26 PM, Blogger DramaQueen said...

I did talk to her; but kids are placed with you that may not be available for adoption. (At least in the state of Kansas). You can't choose to have kids in your home whose parental rights have been terminated, you have to have foster kids who could go back and forth to birth parents and your family.

At 9:28 PM, Blogger Dones said...

All the more reason for us to find jobs in Illinois, I suppose :)

At 11:25 PM, Blogger Pitypat said...

I'm glad i came across your blog by searching "adoption profile". We are at the beginning if the process and I am always interested in other peoples ideas on the subject.

PS - are those the Cliffs of Moher at the top of your blog (that you are going to fly off of??)

At 4:52 PM, Blogger JamieS said...

Yes... come to IL where you CAN choose to foster only adoptable children. ;) Seriously though, I would look into fostering more and see what the state has to say on it.

At 12:04 PM, Blogger DramaQueen said...

pitypat, yes they are the Cliffs of Moher. the title of my blog comes from a poem i wrote in junior high (silly isn't it) "I can jump off a cliff in the foggy depths and know I shall not die" It was before I was a Christian, but I remember it was a poem about God and how Great He is. As soon as I find that poem in all my 'junk' I'll put it in here.

At 11:12 PM, Blogger Pitypat said...

HAve you been to the cliffs? we were there in 2003 and it is the most awesome experience! You are reminded just how HUGE God is and what an artist He is too!


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