A slight change of plans

Actually, a completely radical mind-shifting change of plans:

As long as we’ve been married we’ve been discussing international adoption – Indian adoption to be specific. For the same amount of time there have been obstacles to the plan. These obstacles are mainly financial. International adoption is mind-numbingly expensive. Every time we think of a way to have the money something happens and the opportunity slips by.

Another opportunity just passed because of a very expensive tax mistake by our ex-accountant. He is our ex-accountant because he died unexpectedly last year. I think that this was his way of hiding from us when we found out what he did. The fact that I suggested finding out where he is buried, digging him up, and killing him all over again when I found out what he was costing us may give you a clue as to the enormity of this.

This missed opportunity has been weighing on my mind for about a week. So last night I had a talk with the husband. He never seems as upset about this (from an adoption standpoint) as I am. I wasn’t sure if he was really into this or not. He said that he did want to adopt soon but didn’t see a way to do it. He also said he wasn’t comfortable with the international referral process. They basically match you with a child. You can say yes or no but don’t get to meet the child until you go to pick her up. He is a horrible cynic and is convinced that foreign countries are passing off the stupidest, most obnoxious kids on Americans because that’s what he would do. He also doesn’t trust governments so he is convinced that the whole system is corrupt. I’m the exact opposite. I know the truth is probably somewhere in the middle of our ideas but I think that you play by the rules and everything will be fine. This has caused many arguments.

The end result of this discussion was a decision to seriously look into domestic adoption. The cost is less and you do get to meet the child before agreeing to the adoption. I’ve never seen myself adopting domestically though.

Reasons against domestic adoption:
1. The kids are coming from the foster system which means something traumatic has happened to them. If they have actually been pulled from their home it has to be really bad. I have no idea how to deal with that.
2. They most likely have birth families of varying degrees of stability. We have enough deadbeat relatives. We don’t need to take on any more.
3. Domestic adoption isn’t as flashy as international. That sounds absolutely horrible but there is an uncomfortable element of truth to it.

Reasons for domestic adoption:
1. No transoceanic flight with a screaming toddler that speaks a different language than us.
2. Ability to meet some of the children before agreeing to the adoption to see if we get along. I say it that way. The husband wants to make sure they aren’t obviously psychopaths.
3. The cost and need for adoptive families makes this an actual possibility instead of a “someday I’d like to…..”

Reason number 3 as given me a lot to think about today. Suddenly this has moved from an amorphous ‘thing I want to do’ straight to ‘there could be a kid here in the relatively near future’.
That shook me up more than I expected. Was international adoption a safe thing to wish for precisely because it seemed like it would never happen for us? Is this the feeling you get while staring at an unexpectedly positive pregnancy test? It is an “Oh my god. Am I sure about this? Am I kidding myself? Do I really want a kid? An actual real live dependant human?” feeling.

The husband seems to be having some of these same thoughts but he is expressing them as, “We need to repaint the dining room and get a table. No one will let us raise a kid without a dining room table.” He is also already negotiating with me. He wants to be the winning coach at the Little League World Series. I see him as an obnoxious coach that you see on TV and I hate baseball. At lunch today he asked if the kid wanted to play baseball would I allow it. I said if the kid chose to play baseball without undue pressure from him that was fine. There was a pause and then he asked if he could buy a mitt and encourage playing catch. I said that would be not be undue influence but not to push his luck.

I sent off our pre-approval questionaire to a fairly local agency. The plan is that if we are approved from that then we go to parenting classes to get us approved as a foster family. Then we do a homestudy (have to get that bedroom done!). After the homestudy is approved we are given information on kids who match our desires (girl 3-6). If we find children we think are good matches then we can ask to be matched by the agency that works with that child. If they approve then we can talk to her social workers and foster family. If we still think it is a good match then we can meet the child. After that we can have her move in as a foster child. After 6 months as a foster child she can be adopted.

So there it is. A total change of thought and momentum in 24 hours. I am still fairly freaked but writing this all down has helped. The freakiness is starting to change to excitement. We’ll see how it goes.


  • Stephanie

    Hi. I’m in the process of international adoption now. Yes, it’s true you don’t get to meet your child and they are “assigned” to you, but isn’t that what happens when you are pregnant? As for the money, most adoption costs about the same as a new car. The process takes a while, so we’ve found we’ve been able to save up along the way. Just my two cents. Blog world is great to get opinions from everyone. Good Luck!

  • Tamara

    Just wanted to stop by and sayy “hello” – my husband and I are pre-adoptive foster parents, and wouldn’t change it for the world. We chose this route based on costs (none), and that we wanted to make a difference right her in our own community. If you want to ask anything, I’m online every day. My best to you – it is a wonderful (scary/hard) process, and it is so rewarding!

  • Leslie

    Sad, isn’t it, that things have changed so little in this country. I can understand your concerns; I would share them. I grew up watching people fight for equality and there’s still such a long road ahead.

  • spirit

    I’ve had the same thoughts. I live in a very white area and worried about the fairness of bringing a child of color here. That’s escalated after working with an Indian veterinarian and seeing how horribly she is treated by some clients. But, the odds are that any child we adopt will be a different race than us anyway so we may still have the same problems.

  • Nio

    I understand what you’re going through, sorta. Wolf and I agreed long before we got married not to have kids and we’ve taken permenant steps to keep ‘accidents’ from happening. We also agreed that if we wanted to become parents we’d adopt, internationally.

    But there’s a part of me that’s always been uncomfortable with that idea and it’s not a cost issue, it’s a race issue.

    See, we live in rural NH and if we were to adopta little girl from India, Africa, China, whereever, she’d be the only one of that race in the community and I’m not sure how fair that is. The area isn’t known for it’s progessive non-racist ways so I would be hyper concerned for her/his emotional well being (aside from that fact that I, a completely inept persyn would be raising a child). In the book Colonize This: Young Women of Color on Today’s Feminism there is an essay entitled “Heartbroken: WOmen of Color Feminism and the Third Wave” by Rebecca Hurdis talks of being a Korean adopted by white parents, growing up in surburia, and how it all affected her.

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