If you’re starting the process of international adoption, hearing what people who’ve done it before have to say, can be extremely helpful so we asked our adoption forum members for their ideas and tips.
* Best advice I’d give anyone adopting oveseas would be to “keep a cool head and a closed mouth’ when stressed out over international procedures. Some of the ways things were done were very unnecessarily stressful and insulting to us—–but it didn’t matter.
* Go with an open mind and learn as much about the country as you can while you are there. Stay as long as you can, and fly business class if at all possible – especially on your return.
* I would tell anybody that wanted to adopt from Ecuador to follow your heart but have patience. Ecuador can be very unpredicatable when it comes to time. But eventually your child does make it home. It is well worth the wait!
* My advice is to educate yourself on adoption, raising adopted children, and gathering enough information to be aware of any possible issues that could be related to the child’s physical and emotional development that might be adoption related, especially in the area of bonding. One of the things we learned was about how the children grieve their previous caregivers and were warned to expect some unconsoleable crying and how long it would last. This was sooo helpful! Another thing that adoptive parents should be aware of is thier own grief and feeling of guilt and anxiety. No matter how prepared you think you are, the reality is usually somewhat unexpected.
* PATIENCE when you are dealing with the BCIS (formerly INS), research the adoption laws of both countries (the U.S. and the country you are adopting from) take pictures and get souvenirs.
* Do your research, talk to people both in real life and online who have gone before you, and enjoy the ride!
* Check everything out. Make sure an agency you choose is very reputable and works for you. Its a long and stressful haul but so worth it in the end.
* (Linny) Our first two children (infants) were adopted overseas. Our story is a bit different, because we lived overseas while doing this. While this made it simpler in some ways….it was still the same.We still had to have a homestudy done by an agency. (Only one agency on the island of Okinawa, Japan. Okinawa is to Japan, as Hawaii is to the USA.) We not only had to abide by the laws in Japan…and any of the other countries we adopted from (Korea, and at one point, we thought we were going to adopt from the Phillipines)….but from the USA AND our individual state. The process was ridiculously long, IMO. We had to prove ‘why’ we wanted to adopt. We had to prove (by going to an MD for consult), that our reasons for not wanting to conceive were ‘valid’. (We didn’t want to possibly pass on bad genes.) And, perhaps the most ridiculous part, was being told that we could not adopt a child that was part or completely AA. (The incidence of babies born to AA servicemen and Japanese) Understand, this was back in the late 70′s…..and transracial adoption was still very much in the dark. However, the agency deemed that we could adopt a child from Korea or elsewhere!We had to be married for at least three years (so we had to wait a couple of months, I recall). The wait from submitting to our ‘match’ was only from July to late October. The baby was already born (a girl); and already two months old. We were able to fly to Korea to be with her, convinced the agency there that we wanted to keep her overnight (which they finally agreed to), brought her back the next day for the foster family; and because of paperwork glitches, didn’t get to pick her up to bring home until she was 7.5months old! For our second adoption (an infant boy)….we literally ‘found him’ and brought the agency in to facilitate. The best advice I could give to anyone adopting from any country, would be to completely educate yourself in ‘what the paperwork is for’, ‘who and what are people there for’, and that the process will probably cost more $$ than expected.
Possibly the most important advice I could give, would be to PUSH when others are ‘sitting by the wayside’. Agencies, domestically and abroad, from our experience, are known to take their time. The term, ‘the squeeky wheel gets the grease’ is very, very true in these cases.
We experienced strange twists and turns to each of our international adoptions. Even right up to the end, we were not granted airline boarding priviledges through the Air Force, because our baby son didn’t have a specific stamp on his passport. By the Grace of God, we had friends who drove us across the base to the Japanese office to acquire this stamp! We barely made our plane to the USA.
I would only work with experienced agencies here in the USA. I would not work with some agency that seemed ‘too good to be true’; and I would check out and around on any agency I might work with.
Many countries have age (and even weight) restrictions for adoptive couples. I know that we are now too old to adopt an infant in Korea; that adoption from Japan is almost non-existant. Check out everything to the max. Our baby girl was 7.5 months when she came home; our baby son was just shy of one month when he came home. Both are now grown, on their own, and successful, good kids. And that’s a summary of our adoptions internationally.