First, of course, a disclaimer that this is our personal story, and our personal decision and not in any way meant to suggest that other people should do what we did or that international adoption is better than domestic or any other negative thing. I have a friend who is currently pursuing domestic infant adoption and several friends who have adopted from foster care and their stories are glorious and wonderful and so clearly just right for them and their particular set of life circumstances. We love adoption however it happens.
So, all that said… here’s our story. As I’ve mentioned before, we started the adoption journey alongside our struggle with infertility. The infertility process for us was pretty much the most difficult and devastating thing we’ve ever gone through, and we walked out of the process exhausted and very sad. So we knew going into adoption that we really wanted it to be as much of a “sure thing” as possible. In adoption, of course, there are no sure things, but we were determined to try. Additionally, Eden had been expressing for a long time how much she wanted a sibling and we didn’t want to introduce her to a sibling unless we knew for sure that it was a done deal.
So, after contacting several local foster care agencies, we were consistently told that if we wanted a child under 8, we would need to be foster parents and open our home to children who may not stay. While that is something we might be interested in in the future, for us, and for Eden at that time, we knew that the unpredictable nature of foster parenting wasn’t a good fit. I’m sure in other areas of the country, the foster care/adoption system is different, but that was our experience in Lucas and Wood counties, with both county and private agencies.
The other factor that was really important to us was the our kids be closeish together in age. By the time we started really pursuing adoption, Eden was 6, so we didn’t feel like infant adoption was a great fit. Infant adoption is also somewhat unpredictable, so for the reasons above, we didn’t feel like that was a good fit.
So, there we were, with the two in-country options ruled out. We started looking at other options, specifically international adoption. We quickly found that for the age of child we were hoping to adopt (1-3) and the permanency we were wanting, international adoption was the way to go. In Chinese adoptions, our child will actually become a US citizen in China, and will be issued a US visa at that time. So we chose international adoption because it gave us the best chance of having two kids close in age, and it gave us the smallest chance of having an adoption fall through.
There have been a few questions from people (including the memorable “why would you want a Chinese kid when there are perfectly good American kids…. aren’t those good enough for you?), and I certainly understand those questions. There are kids here in the US who need families. But for us and our unique circumstances, international adoption is the right fit. For other people and their unique circumstances, it might be foster to adopt, or infant adoption. But no matter what, we CELEBRATE there is one fewer child without a family to love them. Each adoptive family has their own story with their own set of priorities, griefs, and hopes and their own ways to make a decision about what’s right for them. We’re really excited to be on our particular journey, and equally excited for our friends who are on their own, different journeys. Because no matter how you get there, it means that one more kid has a family. And that’s worth celebrating.