Lots of thoughts here over the past few days. We’re not sure yet how we will proceed.

We have never felt fully comfortable with the idea of domestic adoption, and that’s why we have always leaned toward an international route. There’s so much uncertainty involved – in terms of the selection process (generally you have to be selected by the birth parents out of a pool of other potential adoptive parents) and of how long it will take. And we’ve had a heck of a lot of uncertainty already over the past few years. I used to worry that nobody would pick us, but I think I’ve gotten over most of that worry. The average wait for a domestic adoption is about 2.5 years in our area. Of course it could happen faster, or we could be one of the couples that has to wait 3 or 4 years to get a match.

Then there are the matches that fall through. I don’t think this happens a whole lot, but of course it can happen, both before and after the birth. In Maryland, birth parents have 30 days to change their mind after the birth. That would be a long 30 days, but I remember one of the social workers saying that most mind-changing happens within the first few days after birth.

Of course, this is not to say that there isn’t all sorts of room for uncertainty in an international adoption. But at least we would know that we would get into a queue and when our number comes up, it would be our turn for a match. (I simplify a great deal, I know.) And we’re looking at an average of 2 years for an Ethiopian adoption.

I also dread the idea of having to make a little book about us – our profile – to share with prospective birth mothers if we go domestic. Projects like that are not my cup of tea. We’d have to promote ourselves and make ourselves look and sound like the ideal parents. In addition to working with our agency, we would likely need to consider finding a facilitator and/or use other avenues to get our profile out there for consideration.

We think we’d be alright with some level of openness, but I’ll be honest and say that the idea of a fully open adoption scares the crap out of me. I think that’s a sign that I don’t fully understand how it works and benefits everyone involved. I have a friend who gave up a baby for adoption when she was in college, and she actually chose to cut back the level of openness after a couple of years because it was too hard for her and she saw how hard it was on the adoptive family (including the child). Obviously that is just one situation, but it’s one that has stuck in my mind. Something more to research and investigate…

We have concerns about the Ethiopia route, too. Can we handle raising a black child in a white family? I don’t have any qualms about our own abilities, but what about the rest of the world? Will we have to deal with a lot of haters, with people who think we have no business raising a black child? We purposely chose a very diverse neighborhood when we moved a couple of years ago. We were tired of living in a white yuppie neighborhood in a city that is 60% “minority.” (The quotation marks are necessary since obviously, 60% does not equal a minority of anything.) We wanted to live in a place where there were people from all races, cultures, economic backgrounds, etc. On Friday when I walked the dogs, I noticed probably a total of 15-20 children playing outside. Every single one of them was black. This made me feel better about our ability to expose an Ethiopian child to black America. He or she would not be the only black child around, but possibly the only one with white parents.

I’ve spent the past few days reading a zillion blogs on Ethiopian adoption and learning more about the process through other research. I joined a very active Yahoo group on Ethiopian adoption. I’ve read amazing stories and learned a lot. For example, I learned that 1 in 13 babies born in Ethiopia die by the age of 1. That’s a pretty staggering statistic.

I guess whatever we choose, we’ll be taking a leap of faith and knowing that we’ll have to work on addressing our concerns. One thing I do know is that we will be wonderful parents. I have never once doubted that.

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4 Responses to thoughts

  1. Elizabeth says:

    I completely love your honesty. I think you and I are similar in the way we thoroughly think through things. Not to draw unsolicited conclusions… just something I noticed. (Maybe I’m wrong.)Anyway, we shared many of your concerns about domestic adoption. It’s such a sticky thing. I personally felt like we’d always be looking over our shoulders, never feeling fully settled into our family. But for many people, it’s not an issue. We’ve had *so* many people ask us why international and not domestic… As for raising a black child, I have no idea what it would be like. But we do have a child who is very obviously a different race than either of us. Yes, people stare at us in public. And yes, they ask inappropriate questions that are none of anyone’s business. It’s like people feel entitled to know stuff because they see the difference. I think as far as that’s concerned, every parents finds a way to deal with the idiots of the world. And there’s a lot of them 😦I totally agree that you will be great parents and you’ll raise any child to be a wonderful, confident person.

  2. Rachel says:

    Have you read “Secret Thoughts of an Adoptive Mother” yet? If not, you should. And you can also try reading ‘The Kid’ by Dan Savage.For more on open adoption try reading “Making Room in our Hearts”.I once was afraid of open adoption. But what is necessary is openness, not necessarily having dinner over each others’ houses all the time.It is good when questions can be answered and the answer doesn’t have to be “I don’t know” (even though it sometimes might be).It’s just good to be fully informed before making a decision. Ethiopia might be the perfect decision for you.

  3. Chelsea says:

    Gosh- lots to consider! I went online and looked at domestic adoption just to get an idea of what it is all about and I was SHOCKED at how many kids there are that need homes. It was really crazy to see. I know it is even worse in other countries. It seems like they should be tracking you down and paying you! Why on earth do they make it this difficult?????

  4. Erica says:

    Deciding between domestic and international is definitely hard. We were originally on the path for intn’l but switched to domestic. We had a lot of the same thoughts and struggles you are having. A lot of the points for each are double-edged swords. For example, on one hand, you don’t have to “worry” about the birth parents fighting to take your child back in int’l adoption, but you also (often) don’t have any info to give your child when they start asking questions or in the event of a medical problem. So….it’s almost like the points are washes and then they are in the same boat. It’s really hard. As far raising a child of a different race, I can’t personally say I know that that is like. I read some really good articles in Adoptive Family magazine recently and also Secrets Thoughts of an Adotpive Mother is a good book. I hear stories for and against it all the time. It’s a tough call…but you’ll know what is right for you and your family. Just like you knew that adoption was right for you. I agree with the PP about open adoption. Although we personally want a semi-open, I think that the idea of “open” scares a lot of people because they don’t really understand what it entails. Truly, it entails what you are comfortable with. Whether that is a letter a year or playdates once a week, it’s up to you. It seemed to me to make the idea of answering questions later and make me better at helping them understand their situation. I’ll have more answers as opposed to “I don’t know…” There’s definitely a lot to think about. Good luck. You’ll figure out what is right for you two and it’ll be the perfect decision.

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