We looked into the foster-to-adopt program, but ultimately, the uncertainty of that foster placement’s future was what broke my heart and made me walk away from this path. When you receive the placement of a foster child, there is no guarantee that the child will stay with your family. Reunification with the biological parents (or their extended family) is typically the goal in fostering, and, frankly, we didn’t want to be a temporary placement. We didn’t feel like that was in the best interest of Carter and Kate. We wanted to give a FOREVER family to the child we brought home.
So, I’ve written quite a few posts now about our adoption and how the process is going, and I am thrilled to see so much interest from friends in hearing about how we got to this point. I’ve had questions about what the process looks like, the financial obligation, the children’s care prior to adoption, and many more, and it absolutely thrills me to share what I know so far because it means people are curious. And that makes me SO happy.
I had a friend of mine from high school suggest that I talk about why we ultimately chose to adopt internationally rather than domestically, and how we chose China as our country program. I’ve gotten this question a few times, and I haven’t directly addressed it here on the blog up until this point because it is a deeply personal decision that every family has to make for themselves if they choose this path. But in the interest of transparency, I am cautiously going to share with you all a few things that weighed heavily on us as we considered our options.
Before I talk about our actual research, please hear my heart. Adoption is not for everyone, and what is right for us, may not be right for the next adoptive family. I am simply sharing my experience and how our family came to this decision. I am not a social worker, I do not work for an adoption agency, and I am certainly no “adoption expert.” I’m figuring this whole thing out as I go!
Choosing adoption of any kind is a very big, very emotional, very personal decision for a couple to make. There are LOTS of unknowns in adoption in all forms, and so the mere fact that we chose this difficult path at all was a hard decision. We went into our research with a very open mind. We felt strongly that at the end of the day, a sweet baby with no parents was getting a forever family, and it truly didn’t matter to us whether or not that child was born halfway down the block or halfway around the world. We believe every adoptive family has a different path, just as every member of the body of Christ has a different spiritual gift, and we just needed to figure out ours.
When we first began thinking of adoption, we knew pretty quickly we did not want to pursue a newborn. I’ll give it to you straight – we are not baby people. I basically spent the first year of each of my bio kid’s lives thinking, “Get bigger! Get older! This part stinks!” With that said, we LOVE toddlers and feel very drawn to that age, so we knew we’d want to bring home a child around 1 or 2. We prayed about domestic newborn adoption for a brief period, but both Blake and I knew pretty quickly that our missing piece was not there. We both envisioned our “plus one” as a toddler, so at that point we began researching foster care…
So, that led us internationally. We conferred with many families who adopted from a variety of countries, several of which we were told had very corrupt systems and to avoid, and both Blake and I felt very drawn to Asia. We knew of several families who had adopted from South Korea, so we initially looked into that program, but as we learned about the changes in that country’s timeline and cost, we moved our focus to China.
And as they say, the rest is history. We are adopting through the “Waiting Child” program, which means our child will have at least some minor medical needs such as a cleft lip (repaired or unrepaired), minor heart defect, minor finger/toe deformity, birthmark, orthopedic needs, etc. The adoption program from China is very stable and has a very streamlined, predictable process. The timeline for most families is 1-2 years from application to travel (which is very quick in the international adoption world), and the travel requirement is only two weeks in-country which seemed manageable to us. (Some programs we looked at required parents to stay for several months or required multiple trips. That wouldn’t work for us.)
More than anything, we ultimately chose to adopt from China because God led us there.
We prayed HARD through this research period, and we both felt an absolute peace about the China program. We feel 100% confident that our missing piece is currently living in China, and we pray every day that he is being cared for and loved well in our absence. We cannot wait to meet our baby, but more than that, we cannot wait to walk off that airplane and say to Carter and Kate, “This is your little brother. He is ours. He is going to be with us forever, and we are going to love him like crazy.”