When we began our adoption process and applied to our agency back in June 2010, I wrote here about the impetus for our decision. I thought perhaps it was time to give some more specific and personal reasons.
The need is tremendous. Here. There. Everywhere. It is said there are 143 million orphans in the world. Many (most) of these are not currently eligible to be adopted. But thousands are.
Why not adopt out of the US foster care system at this time? The vast majority of US children already eligible for adoption are older, much older than our kids. We do not wish to disrupt the birth order of our children, which means adopting a very little one--younger than 18 months. Beyond that, I can only tell you that when we began considering adoption, we were drawn immediately to international adoption. In the future. . . perhaps.
Why China? There were plenty of logistical concerns, such as cost, time spent in-country, and length and stability of adoption process. There are some countries from which we simply don't qualify to adopt. And others which only had older children available. China's Special Needs program was a good fit. For many years, there has been a steady stream of beautiful Chinese girls finding new homes with adoptive families here in the US and around the globe. The wait to adopt a "healthy" (no known medical needs) infant from China has now increased to over five years. Parents whose dossiers were received in China in late May 2006 just recently received referrals for their new daughters. In contrast, our dossier was sent to China in December 2010. We were matched with our darling boy in January 2011, and will travel to adopt him this summer. If we travel in June, our process will have taken 12 months, start to finish.
If you are interested in understanding more about the current adoption culture in China, I encourage you to read this blog post; it's actually a summary of a talk given by Amy Eldridge, the director of Love Without Boundaries, an amazing organization helping orphans. Keep reading, past the main post and into the comments section. While the post is a summary written by the blog author, Amy Eldridge herself comments (twice) and gives further information. This is truly the clearest explanation I've read. Sad, yes, but eye-opening. Many people have a very limited understanding of Chinese adoption: one child only policy, only girls are given up for adoption, etc. It's really far more complex than that now.
Last summer, after we had already started our adoption process, one of our pastors spoke in church about living a "radical" life. . . specifically about allowing our children to see, up close and personal, what it means to live a radical life. For us, adoption is that. Some days I ask myself, "Are we crazy? Seriously. Are we?" Yeah. Probably a little. We are literally emptying our bank accounts, not saving for the future (for the time being) like we should be, and have chosen to go without some things that many Americans consider essential to a decent, happy lifestyle. And even then we still can't afford this adoption. We're not trying to "commend ourselves to you" (as Paul wrote); just telling you how it is. Adopting this child, for us, is a bold act of obedience, one we are walking out in front of our children, our families, and everyone else who knows us. A giant, scary leap of faith--financially, emotionally. We have no choice but to expect God to provide everything we need so that we can do what He's asked us to do. It'll be fun to see how He plans to do that. Yeah, I said fun!
Our baby X was found by police in front of a hospital, wrapped in a red quilt. He was three days old. He had an urgent medical need, and underwent corrective surgery when he was 14 days old. He was later found to have a (minor, we believe) heart defect.
He waits for us in an orphanage on the eastern coast of China. No longer one of faceless millions. He will become a beloved son. A cherished brother, grandson, nephew. Given a new last name. A new identity. Ours. Forever.
I can't wait to get to know him. Can't wait to be his mom.
That's why we're adopting.