Ok. For anyone interested in adoption…this blog is for you.
I've had several people ask me lately "where do you get started with the adoption process?" This is kinda a tricky question, because there are so many places to start. You can start by selecting a home study agency, an adoption agency, a country, ohh the possibilities!
First thing you should do is pray. Making the decision to adopt is not one you should take lightly. I really don't think it is for everyone (namely, the person mentioned in the previous blog that asked me "why do you want to have kids?") I would kinda compare it to foreign missions. God calls each of us to support foreign missions by praying for our missionaries, supporting them when they need it, and providing funding for them. But, I truly believe that God does not call all of us to fly across the ocean to work in these foreign lands. It is the same with adoption. God tells us to care for the orphans. You can do this by supporting a local foster family, donating money to worthy charities that assist orphans or adopting parents or by adopting a child.
Ok. The next few steps are subject to change for each couple. I'm simply giving you an idea of where we started.
The next decision you need to make is whether you want to have an international or domestic adoption. There are pro's and con's to both. Our decision to adopt internationally was mainly because we did not want to take the chance that the birthmother might return to claim the child later. This happens more often than you would imagine, and I couldn't stand the thought of having someone come back and take my child away from me.
After we made the decision to adopt, we started doing research on what country we wanted to adopt from. We chose to do this prior to selecting an adoption agency or home study agency, because we can't adopt from just anywhere, and certain adoption agencies only work in certain countries. Jace is 28, and I will be 27 at the end of this month. Because of our age, we cannot adopt from most countries. This could be considered a good thing or a bad thing…we are looking at the good here. We only have a handful of countries to select from, where if we were 30 we would have lots to choose from. I like that the system narrowed the list for us.
What are the criteria for selecting a country? Well, there are lots of things to think about here. Do you want a boy or a girl? Or do you even care? Do you want an infant? Or a preschooler? Are you willing to take in a child with special needs or minor birth defects? How much time can you spend out of the country? Jace and I decided that we didn't care if we got a boy or a girl (let's be honest…if we had a biological child, you wouldn't get to pick, so why pick now). We want an infant (which means that they will most likely be about 12-18 months when we go pick him/her up). This is our first child, so I don't want to miss anything. The thought of missing 12-18 months of my baby's life is hard enough. Also, we are not planning to adopt from a country whose primary language is English. If we get an older child, we might have to learn the language, and that's just not what we want to do right now. The last decision was the time out of the country. We don't exactly work jobs where they allow us to take 6-8 weeks off. We decided we wanted to limit the time out of the country to less than 2 weeks.
Well after you have all those questions answered, now it's time to get online and start doing some research. Find out which countries meet your criteria. Below are a few websites I found to be very helpful:
After reading up on lots of countries, we narrowed our search to South Korea or Taiwan. Both countries have infants available, and they allow married couples over the age of 25 to adopt.
The next step is to select an adoption agency and a home study agency. In our search for an adoption agency, we had lots of trouble finding one that worked with placing children from South Korea in the state of Louisiana. Also most of these agencies had slowed or completely stopped the adoption program from South Korea because it was in such high demand. We are taking this as God's way of saying "go with Taiwan."
There are only a few adoption agencies in the US that work with placing children from Taiwan. While e-mailing home study agencies, I was requesting information on adoption agencies that work in Taiwan. One of the local home study agencies mentioned Journeys of the Heart Adoption Agency. I did some research and found a few blogs of people that went with them and everyone sounded pleased. So we have completed the adoption application and are awaiting our approval.
As for the home study agency, we went with Adoption Home Studies, Inc. They have worked with Journey's of the Heart in placing children from Taiwan. I'm so nervous…our first home study appointment is on April 2 (say a prayer for us!).
Well after you make all those decisions, you get the paperwork, oh the mounds of paperwork. We have an 8 page application from Journey's of the Heart and another 15 page application from the home study agency. You need to have original copies of your birth certificates and marriage license (and you must be willing to mail that copy to the United States Government). So we have ordered more copies of all of those things for each of us. I'm going to have to do a totally separate blog just on the questions they ask on these applications. You wouldn't believe some of them. I have a 4 page typed word doc for the agency application and a 7 page typed word doc for the home study (Jace is not finished with his home study application yet). We also have to ask 6 people to be our "References." How in the world do you pick 6 people? (Or in our case, 6 couples, because we want to be over achievers!) We can only use two relatives (yes only two…I have two sisters, and a brother, he has a brother…and our parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. How do you pick just two?? This is tough) As for the other 4 references, we have so many people who we could pick…oh we have so many wonderful friends. But the references have to know both of us pretty well. Geez. I have lots of people that know me really well, but they don't really know Jace that well. I think we've finished our list, but I'm not going to list their names today, mostly because we haven't asked everyone yet.
Now we are at the point where we are trying to get as educated as possible. We have a lot to learn. I want to read books about Taiwan, toddlers, traveling, and adoption. One of my favorite things to read is other people's adoption blogs. I love to read the stories about how they got started, and then to see pictures of their children. That is what gives us hope. It's going to be a long road, but eventually, I pray, we will have a kid of our very own.