So a couple of you may know that we were considering beginning the process of adoption in the not too distant future. Over the last few weeks though, there's been something of a shift in thinking on our part due to some discoveries we've made along the way.
The first thought which seemed to scream at me from any adoption agencies' websites or even their actual mouths, was that adopting a baby through them is really not an option unless you've been proven completely sterile. . And if for some reason you attempt to go through with adopting an infant, you're something of a selfish nut for getting in the way of other women desperately yearning for their first child ("What? You already have two? Why in the world are you trying to adopt a baby?") I was of the impression that there was a need for children in this world to have homes. What I've come to find out is that unless you adopt independently, or are infertile, you have a very loooonnnggg wait ahead of you for a child under 12 months old.
The second big discovery we made was that many international adoption agencies are corrupt. There's really no other way to put it. For an agency to profit $10,000 for being the liason between the orphanage and you (which really involves filling out standard government paperwork) is nothing short of wrong. With that said, there ARE benefits to adopting through an agency. They know the exact procedure various countries require in order to adopt through them and are pros at it, and they have connections with orphanage within the countries. (Still an average of $10,000 seems a hefty sum for a lawyer of sorts. . .)
The third discovery we made was that to adopt independently from another country requires connections - lots of them. And planning and planning and patience and patience. Though I've always admired the more laid back approach other countries have towards work, when you're really trying to get something done in a timely manner (say before your return flight to the US is scheduled) it can be a burden.
A fourth profound discovery we made was that international adoption is EXTREMELY expensive. You can count on spending $25K to $55K up front (with the government reimbursing you up to $12K all told over the course of 4 years following the completed adoption process). We don't have any Swiss bank accounts, so that was kind of a biggie for us. . .
Another revelation we had, is that adopting a child is not the end of that child's problems. .It's a huge help, but it will not right the wrongs they've already been done . The struggles they've faced prior to your finding them will likely leave their mark on that child forever. Whether it's from malnutrition, lack of love and touch, or abuse - their minds and bodies will in most cases have a permanent memory of their sufferings (even if they were only months old when adopted.)
Here's yet another discovery: domestic adoption within your state is FREE! Not only is it free, but that child will receive 4 years of college and all medical care/counseling paid for by the state. Still, the likelihood of your being able to adopt an infant is very slim, but if your OK with a child (4+) you should have ample opportunity. Again, even in the US, children who have been abandoned for one reason or another will have issues, and you can pretty much guarantee counseling sooner or later, but at least the state will help fund it for you.
I've talked to a number of adoptive parents and heard all sides of it. It is a beautiful process that requires commitment. It's a process that offers a child a hope for their future, but it can take a lot of time and money. And it's a process that will involve your whole family and will not be void of intense struggle throughout various phases of the journey.
With all the information we've gathered, we've decided to take a step back from this process for now. That's not to say we won't adopt domestically in the future, but just that we're not doing anything immediately.
I've jokingly told family and friends that the reason we're putting things on the back burner for now is because it requires even more paperwork than adopting our dogs did (if you can believe that - because that IS a LOT of paperwork!). Another bit of humor I've found is that while we didn't adopt a single child, we did adopt six chicks. . and that seems to be working well for us now ;)
(Again, I'm JOKING people!)