Saturday, January 24, 2015

Why Haiti?

When we decided to start the adoption process, we had no idea about the vast ocean of information and data and all sorts of options that are out there....foster, international, domestic, private, agency, foster-to-adopt, snowflake, open, closed, and on and on.  We had NO IDEA what we wanted to do, just that we wanted to do something.  Our first eye-opening moment came during an informational meeting with an adoption counselor who told us two things...1.  International adoption is not that much more expensive that fact, sometimes it's less expensive and 2.  The need for international adoption is also much greater.  Then she said, "For every 1 baby in the U.S. there are 40 families waiting.  For every 1 family waiting, there are 100 babies waiting to be adopted internationally (and that's just babies)."  We were shocked.  We know there are babies who need to be adopted from the U.S.  We know that our foster care system is sub par and that children in our own town need homes, but this statistic (and the fact that the costs wouldn't be much different) was too much to overlook.  The need internationally was greater and so once we decided to adopt internationally, the next step was choosing a country.  Easier said than done...there are almost 200 countries that citizens of the U.S. are allowed to adopt from.  200!  How do you choose one in 200?  We found an agency (through recommendations of friends and lots and lots of research) that has a pre-application.  Every country has their own adoption requirements...age of parents, how long they have been married, income, number of kids in the home, etc.  So we gave the agency all our info, they plugged it in to their fancy computers, and figured out we qualified best for Ethiopia and Haiti.  200 countries whittled down to two in a matter of days.  We chose Haiti because it was a tad bit less expensive than Ethiopia and the wait time for bringing home a child was shorter than Ethiopia.  [On a side note: Adoptions from Ethiopia have come to a stop.  Many families that have been trying to adopt from there are now switching to Haiti because Haiti is seeing movement].  So that's it.  Haiti it is.  Since choosing Haiti we have learned that it is now the poorest country in the world.  The 7.0 earthquake in 2010 destroyed the already fragile infrastructure of the entire country leaving hundreds of children separated from their families and hundreds more orphaned.  There is a need, and we want to help.  If you made it this far and are still struggling with the "why not adopt from the U.S.?," I found a really good response on a different blog about our foster care system which echoed some of the reasons we chose not to go that route this time.
 “One thing to consider, at least here in the US we have foster care. The government sets aside money for each child to have the basics, food, clothing, shelter, medical care, education, developmental services, therapy, etc. In Haiti, Africa, places in S. America, Asia, there is NOTHING!  You are a FORTUNATE orphan if you have access to the few poor overcrowded orphanages available. Even still you are probably malnourished. Those not in orphanages are often forced into child traffic, slave labor, criminal activity, abuse, begging, uneducated sick, and expose to the elements. Having been in foster care myself, it wasn't pleasant but my basic needs were met. I have lived in group homes here and they were nice. It wasn't perfect but I never went to bed hungry. There are well over 153,000,000 worldwide and as many as 163,000 right here in the good ole US of A in need of adoption, 500,000 here needing foster homes. If you are concerned with US orphans, I'd encourage you, to sign up today. There is also a special need for domestic adoption of black or biracial infants not in foster care. I hope that the many folks that so quickly ask the "why adopt from there when there are children here " are the same ones I see in my foster/adoption classes.  Have you ever tried to adopt from the foster care system? It is difficult, time consuming and a VERY intrusive process. I should read you some of the homestudy questions! You'd blush! There are SO MANY REQUIREMENTS. You may or may not meet the requirements based on your family size, home size, views on birth control, parenting style etc. You could have a child or children in your home for YEARS and never be able to adopt that child and call them your own. You may have a child or sibling set that you have tenderly loved and cared for and have to return them (yes even years later) to the SAME drug addicted people that abused or neglected that child in the first place! We are trying to adopt a sibling set from foster care and the hoops I have to jump through to do it make international adoption look oh so appealing. It works for many and I hope we are successful. I pray each US child finds a forever family, but I can easily see why others chose international.”   Read more:

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