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.