Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Question...."Why?"

For family and friends, the question of why we have chosen to adopt is probably self evident. You have supported us through some bad moments and we thank you again for your love and prayers.

However, there are probably other questions like "Why now?", or "Why international adoption?", or, more specifically, "Why Vietnam?" These are fair questions.

"Why now" is easy enough to answer. This process will take some time to complete and we are not getting younger. We thought at one time that we would already have a child by now, are not willing to spend years with doctors with no guarantee of success, and want to be parents by the time we are 35. It just makes sense to us.

"Why international adoption" results from our wish to limit the risk of losing a child that has been placed with us, which often (about 1/3 of the time, according to one agency) occurs in domestic adoption. We just don't feel we can handle that. We are also uncomfortable with the idea of "open" domestic adoption which has become prevalent. This often involves meeting the birth mother, paying for her living and medical expenses while she is expecting (and having no way to recover this money if she changes her mind in the end), and exchanging information with the birth mother for the child's first 18 years. There is also a period of time where the birthmother can change her mind even after the child is placed with the adoptive parents, and, in some cases, the biological father must also revoke his parental rights. We recognize that some couples are fine with these arrangements, but it does not appeal to us.

By the time we travel to Vietnam, the Vietnamese government will have made sure to the best of its ability that the child's parents have already relinquished their rights or that they are deceased. We will become the child's legal parents a few days into our trip.

"Why Vietnam." While there are never guarantees, and this includes biological children, orphans in Asia tend to be healthier than orphans from other countries. There are also plenty of children in need of loving homes.

We were originally attracted to the idea of adoptiong a little girl from China. After doing a lot of research, we became afraid of the wait period that seems to be steadily growing in China due to the popularity of adopting from that country. All indications lead to a large backlog, and we would be near the end of it.

Many other countries' adoption regulations would exclude us based on the length of our marriage (less than 2 years). However, Vietnam does not have a minimum requirement in this regard. Also, we will be eligible to adopt an infant, which we would like since we will be parents for the first time. And the wait period (which is expected to be about 20-24 months total) is manageable. So, after considering many factors, we believe that adopting a child from Vietnam is a wonderful way to start our family.


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