2012 update: This post was originally written in 2010. Since I'm sharing it over at We Are Grafted In, I wanted to make a couple of updates.
First of all, since we adopted a waiting child from China, our adoption process took a mere 14 months from start to finish -- not very long at all in the adoption world -- but we still got the "Why is it taking so long?" questions.
Second, at the time I wrote this post, we had named our future son Joseph, so that's how I referred to him. When we met him, however, we decided to keep his Chinese name, Wenxin, and that's what I call him when I write about him post-adoption.
Without further delay, here are my thoughts on waiting, from way back in 2010.
Before tackling those two serious questions, look at what we've accomplished in the past couple of days.
We dressed him in World Cup 2010 garb since Joseph will be coming to his new home in 2010.
And here's a nesting update: Look at the desk and chair I painted for Katherine to use for homeschooling next year. The desk was free and the chair was one I already had.
But back to my initial questions. Why does international adoption take so long and cost so much?
We are so excited to be adopting Joseph. When people ask, we'll gladly tell them all about it. But sometimes, people, who are sincerely interested, rain on my parade by asking abruptly, "What's taking so long?" In other words, "This kid needs a family, and you're willing to adopt him, so why can't you just go get him?"
The answer is that adopting a child from another country is and should be a BIG DEAL. Prospective adoptive parents should be thoroughly checked out. And that takes time. In the past 11 months, here are some of the things we've been doing in the process of adopting Joseph.
We met with a social worker who interviewed us about our family backgrounds, our marriage, our philosophy of discipline, etc., etc., etc. She made sure our home was safe, reasonably clean and large enough for one more child. We got child abuse clearances from every state we've lived in since we've been adults. For Mike, that was seven. We were fingerprinted by the FBI. We submitted lots of details about our finances. We had complete physicals. China even asks for a parent's Body Mass Index.
Our paperwork was notarized. Then it was certified by the individual state where it was notarized. It all went to a Chinese consulate for an official seal. The U.S. Department of State took a look. And that was all before it was mailed to China.
Before she signed our Home Study, our social worker called and said, "I just have to ask you this one more time. Have either of you ever been arrested -- for anything?" She went on to say that she knew a family who did not disclose a prior arrest. They said they forgot. But the U.S. State Department found it, and that was probably the end of the road for that family's adoption.
As stressful as this process has been, I'm glad for the process. There are a lot of weirdos out there, and it doesn't need to be quick and easy to go get a child. Children who are available for adoption have already suffered terrible losses, and every effort needs to be made to protect them from trafficking and exploitation.
Answering the first question makes the second question - the one about the cost - make a little more sense. Of course, I wish it was cheaper. But, people don't work for free. Every step of the way, the people who work on our adoption, have to get paid. International travel isn't free. It all adds up. But as I look at the breakdown of the total expense, it doesn't seem like any one person is getting an exorbitant amount.
And for the Christian, who is attempting to walk in this world by faith, the expense of international adoption provides a great opportunity to trust God and see Him provide.
This post shared at the Inspired Room