My wife has an invisible third arm, its called Google. Whenever someone mentions a topic she’s not fully informed about – out pops the laptop! In no time flat she’ll have extracted and digested every web factoid available. She could now write a book on the subject of adoption.
Some of you may be saying, “its adoption, how complicated can it be?” It can be as complicated as Russian bureaucracy. It can be as complicated as Russian, Chinese, and Nicaraguan bureaucracy. It can be as complicated as international law at a time when the Bush administration was pissing off every country in the world. It can be as complicated as teen pregnancy and Soviet era orphanages.
We were looking to adopt a newborn baby. Terry did research the foster to adopt program, we went to meetings and nodded thoughtfully at the warnings and welcomings proffered. In the end we thought, first a baby, then adopt one a little older. It was tempting though, especially because the cost to us for the process would have been 0$.
If you want a new-born, perhaps one that has not been exposed to too many drugs or hardships, you’re going to have to pay. The amount you pay can range from 12,000$ to as high as 50,000$ depending on the choices you make. The child you opt to adopt, says a lot about you.
The Chinese daughter adoptive parents. These parents have yuppie written all over them. They wanted to make sure the child they adopted was well cared for, could bond with parents, and would be available to affirm their values. They want a very orderly and successful child. When adopting a Chinese child you can be sure of a number of things:
*It will be female. The Chinese prize sons above daughters. Since there is a limitation on the number of children one can have, they just get rid of the daughters and try again.
*It will be at least one year old. China doesn’t give up its daughters too early. Ultimately they don’t trust you to do a good job for the first year. You’ll have to wait.
*You will bond with other parents who adopt Chinese girls. You are assigned an adoption group to which you will belong. How Communist! Adoptions will happen en mass. If one of you can’t show up for the next stage of adoption, you all have to wait! No pressure there.
*You will not be fat. You have to pass reasonable health standards to adopt a Chinese baby. They don’t like fat Americans.
*You will not be old. Nor do they like old, gay, or ex-con Americans.
*You will not be poor. Apart from the 20k you’re going to have to pony up just to get in the door, you better be earning a good living. Daughters of China will be well cared for!
*Your child will enjoy Chinese cultural affirmation. The group you were assigned to will be encouraged to stay in touch. You will form an evolving support system that will affirm the childs cultural heritage.
The Guatemalan adoptive parents. They are middle class, but hippies at heart. During their college days, or maybe in the Peace Corps on their way to the Amazon, they fell in love with beautiful brown babies. Nicaraguan orphans all live with families during the early years of their lives. They are generally strong, well loved children.
*Their children will at least start out happy. Many of these children are genuinely well cared for.
*They have “enough” money. These adoptions tend to be dynamic processes. A little financial lubrication may be required. Lets start out with 30k.
*They will understand how to pay off officials. In some countries, nothing gets done without graft. This is one of them.
*They will become familiar with the Guatemalan legal system. Lawyers are involved in the adoption process.
The Soviet Block adoptive parents. They may have money, but they are likely not suburban. They really want a white baby, but may not be comfortable going through standard channels.
*They may be subjected to suspect medical evaluations. Some Soviet states require medical evaluations that modern science does not recognize as having any scientific merit. Have you measured your cranium lately?
*They must feel comfortable with the term “black market.” This process may feel closest to buying a baby.
*They may become familiar with the term “fetal alcohol syndrome.” Its common in Soviet Block countries for a child to be the product of alcoholic parents.
*They may have to hire psychiatric help. Orphanages are still the mode of orphan care in many Soviet countries. These children may never have seen stairs, may never have had anyone respond to their cries and may not make noise for some time. They may not be able to bond with their new parents.
The Domestic Open Adoption. They want a newborn. Many international adoptions involve a child that is months or even years old. Domestic open adoption attempts to arrange the adoption before the birth of the child. Fresh out of the oven! They may want a long term relationship with the birthmother. Open adoption affords the chance to learn more about the birth parents and possibly form a long term relationship. This is fraught with all the pitfalls of relationships – and the benefits as well. In our dream of the perfect adoption, the birth mother was a young, bright woman on her way to beginning her life. She became almost an older daughter to us and we touched base over the years. Years later we would be able to introduce our adopted child to half brothers and sisters. We are so evolved!
*They don’t have a lot of money. We got off as lightly as one probably could – a little over 12k. Thanks Mom and Dad – you just bought yourself a grand-kid!
*They may be old. Unlike foreign countries there are no age restrictions, but come on – 70 is just too old.
*They may be in bad shape. No weight restrictions! We even met a few adoptive parents with significant medical conditions.
*They may be single. Yep, men and women. Many countries (understandably) have restrictions at least against men. Pedophilia is now a global industry thanks to the World-Wide-Web.
*They may be gay. Queer people represented usually about 40% of the people at our adoption meeting.
*My Kinda People!