Dating Your Agency

August 9th, 2011

ExcellentPNGChoosing an agency is just like any other big decision. Your agency will be there, ideally, to guide you through the complicated and emotional process of bringing home a new member of your family. Take some time to get to know your agency before you commit. First, make sure the agency is licensed to conduct adoptions in the country you chose. For example, there are 22 agencies in the US that are licensed in Ethiopia to place children. Yet other agencies partner with the licensed ones to conduct adoptions. Acting as third parties, some of these agencies have higher fees, so it might be wise to work directly with the agencies licensed in-country. Ask if your agency is Hague-accredited. Even if you're adopting from… [more]

Welcome to Our Home (Study)

August 2nd, 2011

Cleaning_PNGMy husband and I completed our home study about a month ago. In preparation for the home study, I did what any prospective adoptive mother would do...I cleaned! And then I organized things. And then I cleaned some more. And then I cleaned things no human on Earth would think to clean. Then it occured to me that I had no idea what would actually happen during the home study. Would the caseworker really inspect the toiletries I had just organized in the baskets in the bathroom? Or would she give us a quiz on how to parent an adopted child? (Oh no. I've spent precious time cleaning when I should have been reading the parenting books that are collecting dust! I should… [more]

Birth by Paperwork

March 21st, 2011

bbpblogI few years after I adopted Elle, a friend gave me the book, Clara: The Story of the Pug Who Ruled my Life.  She gave me the book to read because it chronicled the author’s journey into international adoption.  The author was adopting a baby from Russia, and since I had recently flown to Russia to bring Elle home, I could relate to the story…but just not to the pug. One of the chapters of the book was entitled Birth by Paperwork.  Those three words touched me.  I didn’t give birth to Elle physically, I didn’t have stretch marks or morning sickness, but I was still invested in her life.  She was my daughter; she just came to me in a different way. … [more]

Not One Big Happy Family

February 7th, 2011

blended familyMy decision to adopt was in some ways very easy.  I was diagnosed with breast cancer at 32, and the decision to create a family through adoption seemed natural.  My husband and I spent months thinking about adoption; what would the process entail, how could we afford it, how would we raise a child while living in New York City, could we actually adopt after my illness? We read books, we talked to friends, we attended seminars and informational meetings, and as the months went by, our options became more apparent, and we finally pulled the trigger on starting the process.  For the 12 months this process took us, my husband and I never told our family.  Well, we told my family… [more]

Getting Started: Grab a Seat and Hold On

November 9th, 2009

International Adoption: Getting Started & Staying FocusedI've touched upon this topic in past blogs briefly, but it's definitely worth mentioning in a post of its own. Sometimes, the very process of getting started on your international adoption journey is very similar to riding a roller coaster. You're elated to take this first step, your heart is soaring with love and hope and possibility as you coast the hills effortlessly, seamlessly. But before long, you're back to the slow process of chugging to the top, trying to maintain a sense of optimism and avoid getting overwhelmed. At least, that was the case in my experience. It will surprise no one to read we were elated at the prospect of adopting a daughter from Guatemala. We… [more]

The “Fear Factor” In International Adoption = Lukewarm Reception Of Your Amazing News

September 17th, 2009

837693_jump_of_joyA woman I know merely as an acquaintance sent me a long and emotional email this afternoon. The long and short of it? She and her husband made the decision, after over a decade of infertility, to move forth with the plans to adopt a daughter from China. They (S. and her husband) invited both sets of their parents to dinner, and made a special “you’re going to be grandparents!” cake to break the big news. Evidently, the reception of said news was a bit underwhelming. S. and her husband were, quite understandably, crushed. Do I think the grandparents were disappointed? Not necessarily. I think most of it has to do with their frame of reference and understanding of the international adoption process… [more]

Adoption Classes: Preparation with a Purpose

September 1st, 2009

I’ll start by saying this: while adopting Beauty, we attended one in-person class where they covered child care, basic issues relevant to international adoption, CPR, and the like. It was a good class taught by a very knowledgeable social worker. While pregnant with Bear, we attended a two-day class covering the basic child care principles as well as post-partum care. Another good class, taught by a very knowledgeable nurse. See the trend here? Good class, knowledgeable instructor. We recently completed our required hours of online training for our pending Ethiopian adoption. We took four courses and received certificates proving we had completed them as such. All these classes were also good. Overall, though? I have yet to be impressed with the set up of… [more]

The Power of Positivitiy the Second Time Around

August 17th, 2009

International adoption: take two. Is it easier the second time around? Well, that’s a tough question. Let’s break it down into two seemingly simplistic yes/no categories for starters. In a small way, yes, it is easier. Having adopted a daughter from Guatemala in 2007, I have a general idea of the process, the paperwork, the fees, and so forth. Words such as “dossier” and “I600-A” actually mean something to me this time around, as we start the journey of adopting our son from Ethiopia. So in that respect, yes, I feel a second international adoption is a bit gentler than the first. Looking at the flip side, though, there’s a fair shake for the “no, it’s not easier” mentality. There’s still the wait, for one, and… [more]

Choosing Your Child’s Gender

July 31st, 2009

When the descion to adopt is made parents may have the gender of their future child in mind, they may have not decided just yet and some want to be referred the first child availible. There are some families that adopt out of social justice reasonings and gender issues. China's one child policy has lead to the abandoning of healthy girls, so many parents who want girls or who disagree with China's policy decide on China. Nepal has found that most foreign adoptions are of girls, but almost all domestic adoptions in Nepal are of boys. We all have our reasons for our wishes, hopes and feelings. Some reasons may be practical like you already have girls and you know the kids will need to share rooms… [more]

OPEN International Adoptions

May 27th, 2009

Lately I have been reading and seeing more information about open international adoptions. This pleases me. I think that openness in adoption is a positive way for adopted kids to grow up. Of course there are varying degrees of openness, and in some situations open adoptions may not be a good idea (past abuse comes to mind here). I often bristle when I hear of parent's adopting internationally "so they don't have to deal with birth families". I try not to be judgmental, but without birth families their would be no adoptive families. As with domestic adoptions, there are many different ways to communicate with birth families. Letters and photos, pictures, phone calls and even visits are possible. Each country is different. If your… [more]