Monday, July 14, 2008

Domestic vs International Adoption: The debate rages on

There is a huge issue on Rumor Queen over which is better – waiting to adopt from China or adopting from the foster-to-adopt program in the U.S. There is the question out there - why do we have such a love affair with adopting from China as opposed to adopting from our own nation? Perhaps, because adoption from the U.S. foster program isn't as simple as people think it is.

I have some friends who, over 4 years ago, took in two children (same mom, different daddies) and are STILL trying to adopt them. They have done this 3 times prior, and each time they have done this, it has taken them about 3-4 years per child - the last two are difficult because, although the mother was forced by the courts to sign away her parental rights, she is not divulging who the fathers are. Now the parents have to go through a long, drawn out process to try and find them. Eventually, the courts will probably terminate the fathers' rights (because no one has stepped forward to claim paternity) and then they'll be able to proceed with the adoptions.

One thing that I think universally appeals to most parents with China adoption is that you know pretty much what to expect, and once you adopted, you wouldn't one year later have a bio parent or court demanding you return the child back to the parents in China. It sounds harsh, but that is very appealing to people who want to parent a child and don't want to have a disruption of that adoption by outside sources. (When I say "outside source", I am referring to other than the nuclear family established through the adoption process. I do NOT intend to imply that the bio parents of child(ren) in question are somehow not important.) I wish we could have access to the Chinese parents' information - I do believe that our Chinese daughters deserve that at the very least. And if things were different in China (no one child policy, better economic conditions) we wouldn't even be having this debate about IA adoption. There would be no need for international adoption from China.

Back to domestic adoption:

I have heard horror stories from social workers about how long the process takes, and then years later, the child is taken from the foster parents and given to the bio mom. Or the children are bounced back and forth from bio parents to foster parents because the bio parents can't keep their noses clean, so to speak.

Why is the foster-to-adopt system so much better than waiting for a referral from China? I know it works out once in a while - but from what I have heard firsthand and witnessed from others, the process is probably more stressful than people can envision. It's rare that parents' rights are terminated quickly so the foster parents can move on with the adoption process... The wait IS hard for a referral from China. And there are no guarantees in any adoption program. Anyone who thinks there are – well, I hate to break it to you, sweet cheeks, but you’re living in LaLa land.

If some social worker is telling you that it won’t take that long to adopt through the foster-to-adopt system – S/he is lying. Wait and see. Perhaps it’s because someone is willing believe anything they are told, or they are hopeful that that is the case, rather than take the time to do their homework and understand the reality of the situation.

I think America has their foster to adopt program all screwed up - just my observation from what I've seen. If we are truly concerned about what's best for the children in this country, then we wouldn't be bouncing kids in and out of foster care or "the system" and back to bio parents who are not capable of raising the children or of staying out of trouble. I think it’s safe to say that certain types of legal problems with parents would – no, SHOULD – exclude them automatically from ever getting their children back. That would put the kids in a safer, more loving environment from day one. And I would not have a foster program unless the people are in it to ADOPT the children. Fostering kids sometimes brings in people who are only in it for the monthly stipend – and damn the kids’ welfare.

I know we all have differing opinions about what type of adoption is best. But to be honest, none of them are perfect solutions to the problem of finding good parents for needy children. And when I read posts on Yahoo groups or on the Rumor Queen site, it sounds like many of us are feeling like WE are the needy ones. Think how much more needy the children are when they don't have parents, or they have bad parents.


For those who feel their agencies are misleading them... perhaps you may want to go back over what has been said, what was in your contract, and review their website. It could be the communication problem isn't with the agency, but in what you are thinking in your own head as to what the process will be. The agency may have said they are hopeful the process will speed up - which in my opinion is still in bad form - but you instead "heard" that it WILL speed up. I am glad we have our agency - they have never lied about anything - on their site, they said that they fully expect the time from LID to referral to continue to increase and ask that families be prepared for such.

During our wait, I pretty much stayed away from Rumor Queen because watching how many days that were referred was incredibly painful to see. Only when it appeared that we were getting close did I dare come back to Rumor Queen’s site. Otherwise, her site was depressing for me. I did what I had to in order to get through the wait.

Unfortunately, with China's new category of "SN but healthy" - they are going to have a problem selling that one to some people depending on the SN presented. Although some children may appear healthy, they may have a SN that wasn't listed on their medicals, or at their finding, or isn't known by the orphanage, and would present a major problem for parents not approved for SN. That's what we ran into... and if the CCAA had been able to give us two months to obtain and review reports, we would have been able to try and eliminate the one issue we could not accept because of the lifelong chronic health issues the one possible SN presented. Without more time - we had to turn her down.

I feel lousy, but that may have been a blessing for the child. I hope that she can be properly diagnosed and put up for adoption again. Two of the three possibilities would have been okay with us, the last one was going to put her in a category of needing major medical care that we would not be able to help with. We’re asking for another referral, but we’re not hopeful about it. I really don’t expect we’ll be getting another. We are good parents. But that doesn’t guarantee us anything.

NOTHING in IA is for sure. NOTHING. I read the bitterness in some posts (Rumor Queen) that China’s system is corrupt. I suppose that if the system in China is broken, then we shouldn't try to give these children homes. Let's just leave 'em where they are. That'll teach China to be corrupt. Yeah, we’ll show ‘em.

Honestly, how does that solve the problem? I consider it a hell for the children who have to stay in an orphanage.

I applaud the CCAA and China for increasing the number of domestic adoptions. These children are living in a nation where they represent the majority in their country. When adopted by Caucasians, and outside of their culture, we (whites) are the majority in this country, but our adopted children will be in the minority. And unless you have some training, we’re ill-prepared to help them fight the racism they will be facing. I would hope that it won’t happen – but racism is alive and well all over the globe – so America is no exception.

OH hell, we signed up for our second adoption when the wait time was 6 months. Then, by the time we were LID, it was 8-9 months. And month by month, we watched as it went longer and longer and longer - and we knew right then and there, that we were in for the wait of a lifetime.

If your agency is telling you there are increasing wait times, they are not lying to you. You signed up for the adoption process - no one held a gun to your head. YOU made the decision. And now you want to blame someone else for your lack of common sense that the term "increasing wait times" means you're not going to get the child in 1 year or less.

Give me a break.

Whatever path one chooses to go when it comes to adoption - I am 100% behind you. I believe that adoption is one of the best and most loving ways to create a family. I don't care so much about where or when one adopts - as long as it is legal and ethical. And it takes a great deal of maturity to handle it.

I am not behind anyone who chooses a path and then starts down this "poor little me I'm not getting what I want fast enough" road. That sounds like a spoiled brat - and IMO - that kind of person isn't going to be a very good parent, because everything is couched in terms of what they want and not what is right for the child. And the kvetching about how everything outside of yourself is causing you pain or how all these other issues are the reason you feel bitter is nothing more than a veiled temper tantrum - think of a five year old and how, when she gets mad and things don't go her way, she jumps up and down and cries and shouts to try to change the situation, when, if you're a good mommy, you don't back down when this starts... (I have experienced that.... yes, even Kenzie has her moments...)

Enough of the ramblings.


Gina (Caleeo) said...

Wonderful post - thanks for sharing your articulate thoughts. I agree 100% but could never express it in such a sensible well-thought manner.

Allison said...

I sure hope you do get another referral! I know that in the past people have turned down referrals and gotten another. Has that changed?! It never would occur to me that China would cut you off at this point.

Julie said...

Gina - Thank you. I had so much more to say... but then, that would make this quite a bit more than people could read in one sitting. My mind just GOES and it's hard to stop it!

If this was our first referral, I probably would have done what I did the first time around. I filled my time with reading, boning up on information available about China, adoption, the orphanages and their babies, health issues, culture.... believe me I kept busy - too busy to moan about the wait. And I always knew in the back of my mind that NOT getting a child was always a possibility. People need to realize that.

Julie said...

Allison - Usually, China will refer a second time - most of the time. But there can be instances when China will refuse. On what grounds, I'm unsure. I am hoping our letter the the CCAA will be good enough to have them know we did not reject the child in a light and frivolous way. It wasn't want we wanted to do.

Allison said...

Good luck! I'll be keeping you in my thoughts.

Kay Bratt said...

Don't give up-- I just returned from living in China for almost 5 years and I worked in the orphanage there. The things the kids went through--some of them, not all--were atrocious. I can tell some stories-- and have. But unfortunately, there are people out here that do not want to hear the truth. I hope all you moms out there are persistent, patient and successful in getting your children.

Dori's Mommy (Diana) said...

Great post!! So level headed and well written! I do hope that China does give you another referral!

Susie said...

Beautifully said. I am praying that you receive another referral.
In the meantime, I have a little something on my blog for you.