Monday, October 10, 2005

Adoption Q & A

I forgot to answer some questions left in my comments last week. So here we go:
You mentioned that 8 months is how old your girls will be when you get the referal, how does that work? 8 months is an estimate. The youngest you can get is 6 months, and most of the babies being referred to people our age is around 8 months. The younger you are, the younger your baby.
When will they actually pick out babies for you? Once our dossier is sent to China (that means we are DTC), the Chinese officials will log us into the system (LID) and about 6 months from LID we'll have a match. The Chinese officials match us to our babies.
Will you get pictures? Once they match us up to our baby or babies, they will send what is called a referral. Your referral consists of pictures of the child/children and information about them: health info, size, age, approx birthdate, characteristics.
What happens if girl girl twins aren't available but boy girl twins are? That would be rather rare because we're talking about adoption in a country where 95% of the children available are girls. Most families will not give up a boy for adoption in China.
Is that an option or would you prefer one girl? We just want a family. We're pretty set on a girl or girls right now because we know that's what you typically get from China. We would not turn away a boy at all. And as far as twins go, we're not guaranteed twins. They are fairly rare, but not all adoptive parents request them. So there have been numerous cases of twins being split up and adopted into different homes. We would hate to see that happen. Plus, we'd love to have at least 2 children, but the reality is we may not be able to ever afford to adopt again. We can barely afford it this time. So we figure, if we can get two at once then we'll be all set! If we don't get two, we'll try our hardest to make it back to China, but we can't count on it.

Some other questions we get asked a lot:
Is it expensive? Not much more than if you have a baby biologically. The main difference is we have to pay it all in a much more compressed time period. See, our baby will be at least 8 mos old. That's 8 months of formula and diapers and day care and doctors visits etc. that the orphanage is paying for. So when I tell people about how much it will cost- around $25,000 when all is said and done- it shocks people. But do the math. Add up maternity clothes, pre-natal dr. visits and medications, Lamaze, hospital bills, then the 8 months of expenses mentioned above and I'll bet we'll all come out about even. Plus, we're paying for a service, not a child. Just like other people. They didn't buy their kids from the hospital, they paid for services. And lots of people will go out and drop at least $25k on an suv or car without batting an eye. It's just Ling Ling won't come with an easy payment plan and a low interest rate! By the way, I know some of you might be shocked that I'd be that open about the financial end of it, but hey, it's the age of the internet. I might as well tell you rather than clam up cause you could just go on google and find out yourself anyway, so it doesn't bother me.
Will you have any information about her background? Probably not. And if so, very little. Since it is illegal to "abandon" a child in China, most are left in a public place where they are sure to be found. A few might have a note pinned to them explaining their birth dates or bearing a message from the parents, but that's rare. The only nugget we may have is a finding ad. You can pay to have this researched. It is the ad the officials place in the local paper with a tiny photo of your child explaining that the baby was found, thereby providing an opportunity for the parents to step forward. But again, it's illegal to "abandon" a child in China, so they don't step forward. I use "quotes" around abandon because it is a brave and caring thing these parents do. They risk arrest to make sure their children, who they can not keep because of population control laws and longstanding customs make it financially impossible to do so, are placed in a public spot where they are sure to be found in the hopes that they will be adopted. I don't see that as abandonment, more like doing all they can to ensure a future for their child.

**Update! New Question via comments: When will DTC happen and how long after referral ( where you see pics and have an actual child ear marked for you), will you get to go get them? Since we just had our homestudy, we still have a mountain of paperwork to do. One form that goes to the US government for approval takes at least 3 months to get back. We're hoping to be DTC by the end of January. So then we start the 6-7 month countdown til referral. Once we get the referral you travel about 6-8 weeks later. We'll be in China for 2 weeks or so, then we'll be home!

So, any other questions? Ask away! I'm by no means an expert, but I'll tell you what I know and think and feel. I want everyone to know what a wonderful thing adoption is. A positive, loving way to grow a family.

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