China Waiting Children: Special Needs Spotlight on Dwarfism

Let me tell you a little about Leo. I recently came across Leo’s file when I was searching China’s shared list of children available for adoption. My specific search was for “limb differences” because we have several families who are hoping to adopt children with this need. When I saw Leo’s picture, I wanted to learn more. His file specifically states “limb and trunk deformities” while it appears that his true diagnosis is likely dwarfism. I saw the sweet face of eleven year old Leo in pictures of him riding a bike and playing on the slide and wondered how this boy has waited so long for a family.

Little People of America defines dwarfism as “a medical or genetic condition that usually results in an adult height of 4’10” or shorter, among both men and women, although in some cases a person with a dwarfing condition may be slightly taller than that. The average height of an adult with dwarfism is 4’0, but typical heights range from 2’8 to 4’8.” There are several different types of dwarfism, with the most common being achondroplasia , spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia, and diastrophic dysplasia . You can read more about the different types of dwarfism on WebMD .

A concern with adopting a child with dwarfism is what life looks like from a medical standpoint. Little People of America states, “It varies from condition to condition, and with the severity of that condition in each individual. However, the majority of LPs enjoy normal intelligence, normal life spans, and reasonably good health. Many will require surgeries or other medical interventions to address complications and maximize mobility.

Orthopedic complications are not unusual in people with disproportionate dwarfism such as achondroplasia and diastrophic dysplasia, and sometimes surgery is required. A common problem, especially in adults, is spinal stenosis — a condition in which the opening in the spinal column is too small to accommodate the spinal cord. People with this condition suffer from numbness and/or pain. It can be treated with a type of surgery called a laminectomy.”

International Adoption Net recommends that all families talk to a licensed pediatrician or international adoption clinic for all medical advice and information when considering a child for adoption. Families are approved for children with medical conditions on a case by case basis after reviewing the family’s qualifications as best determined by the placement agency.

Now back to Leo! Leo is initially shy with adults or unfamiliar people. He listens carefully, and he is thoughtful about his response. However, he really comes out of his shell around his classmates and peers. He is outgoing around other children, and in his school environment, he answers questions eagerly and loudly. Leo’s fine and gross motor skills are great. He can walk on a balance beam, use his fingers deftly, hold scissors well, and he completes all sorts of tasks such as drawing patterns and folding paper. He enjoys art and origami, but jigsaw puzzles are his favorite. He can use open ended toys such as blocks, legos, and such to create all sorts of things. He is very creative. All of his peers care for him greatly, as he is always met with a hug and teasing from his friends.

Leo’s face is always filled with a happy smile. He is good at hands-on activities, and his painting ability is admirable. After watching an art video, the teacher provides animal pictures, and Leo can imitate the pictures well with careful attention to detail. Leo grasps new knowledge quickly, and his concentration

and learning ability are greater than his peers. Leo is a team leader in class, and he enjoys assisting the teachers. Over the years, his language skills and confidence have grown greatly.

Want to learn more about Leo? Email Brandie . We have several pictures of Leo to share with families who are considering adopting him!

Little People of America offers a $1,000 retroactive grant to families adopting a child with dwarfism, and a $5,000 retroactive grant to families adopting a boy with dwarfism age 11 or older. You can find a wealth of medical information and support, as well as links to regional skeletal dysplasia clinics, at Little People of America .

Looking Towards the Future for Chinese Adoptions

More changes were announced this week for the China adoption program. Just two weeks ago, agencies and families learned that the CCCWA placed tighter restrictions on adoptive families, including limiting the number of children in the home and requiring the youngest child in the home to be at least three years old before proceeding with another adoption. You can reference the complete list of changes here .

Yesterday, we learned that the CCCWA will end One to One orphanage partnership programs that allowed orphanages and adoption agencies to form partnerships for direct referral of children. This is effective December 31, 2017. Previously, based on other announcements from CCCWA, we believed that as orphanage partnerships expired, they would not be renewed, but this is no longer the case. Instead they will just all end at one time at the end of this year, no matter the time remaining in the contract. In addition, hosting programs for waiting children will also end.

From the CCCWA:

Announcement

July 18, 2017

Relevant government departments and adoption agencies in receiving countries,

Following the enactment of the Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Administration of Activities of Overseas Non-Governmental Organizations within the Territory of China (hereinafter referred to as Administration Law) since January 1, we would like to notify as follows on relevant issues about the programs carried out by adoption agencies such as the One-to-One Assistance Program, Journey of Hope Program, and Summer/Winter Hosting Program based on the regulations of the Administrative law and conclusions of competent authorities:

  1. All activities concerning the One-to-One program, Journey of Hope Program, and Summer/Winter Hosting Program will be terminated. For children who have been assessed by adoption agencies through the One-to-One program before the enactment of the Administrative Law and whose reports have not been submitted to CCCWA, if their reports are submitted through the provincial department of civil affairs to CCCWA before December 31, 2017 (subjected to the approval date of the provincial department), CCCWA will post these files to the specific list of the original adoption agency. Agencies are requested to look for children within required deadline, otherwise the files will be withdrawn by CCCWA when the deadline is closing.

  2. Foreign adoption agencies should abide by the business scope specified in the registration when working in China. No activities with inter-country adoption as the purpose are allowed when agencies work in welfare and charity related activities.

  3. Adoption agencies should look for adoptive families according to the requirements outlined in the Review Points for Decision on the Eligibility of Foreigners Adopting from China and avoid hasty placements without discretion within the deadline.

-China Center for Children’s Welfare and Adoption Center

So, what does this mean for agencies and adoptive families?

Agencies will no longer receive agency designated files from their previous partnership orphanages as they have in the past. Any children that Agencies are holding from one-to-one programs must be turned over to the CCCWA. Our hope will be they will eventually all be released to the database of waiting children. This could mean that their will be an increase in children available to all agencies to reserve and match with their families. This will make the process more consistent across the board for Agencies and Families, as well as more exposure for children who may have been waiting with one agency for some time. Prior to One to One partnerships, agencies requested all files from the shared list to match with potential families, so that will be the only way to match moving forward.

For adoptive families, this could mean a longer wait time for a referral of a young, minor needs child since those referrals generally came directly from orphanages. However, this is being seen across the board for all agencies. Overall, we have seen a decline in the number of young children with minor correctable needs being placed for international adoption. The culture in China appears to be changing, as more Chinese families are adopting domestically, which is great news for the children, as they are able to maintain their birth culture. Keep in mind that “minor and correctable needs” mean different things for different families. While one family would consider multiple surgeries for cleft lip and palate minor and correctable, another family could view surgeries and years of speech therapy as a long-term challenge that they could not undertake. There are thousands of children in China with varying medical and special needs waiting for families that are ready to be adopted internationally. Now with healthier children being placed in the general database just like those with special needs, it could mean more matching opportunities. As files are returned to CCCWA and hopefully submitted to the database, we will know more of what to expect. Overall adoptive families considering China need to go into the program flexible in gender, age and prepared to adopt a child with medical needs.

An obvious downside is the cessation of hosting, which has been crucial in years past to placing older children and those with more complex special needs. Hosting has helped hundreds of children be exposed to a wonderful experience, as well as increased opportunities to find their forever family. This option for children will be sorely missed, and hopefully agencies can work together to advocate for the return of such programs.

What we do know is that the China adoption program remains to be a stable and predictable program for families hoping to adopt internationally. The China program has encountered changes throughout the years and is still a strong program that places many beautiful children in loving families. We will continue to work diligently to unite children with their families as we navigate these recent changes.

Updated China Adoption Requirements

Recently China updated their adoption regulations concerning international families who desire to adopt. There are new qualifications to consider if you are interested in adopting from this program. Some of these have been in place for some time, and are now being reinforced. We are seeing an increase in denials of adoption applications with the CCCWA due to these stricter guidelines. While we are disappointed to see there will be more families who do not qualify, we are understanding that this is a direct result from non-compliance to post adoption reporting, as well as their concerns with placing multiple children with medical needs into the same home. This is still a viable program for the majority of families, and the need is still very great.

If you have any questions about how this will affect your adoption, or if you still qualify for the program, please contact your coordinator.

Here is the update from the CCCWA:

June 30,2017

Relevant government departments and adoption agencies in receiving states,

In order to further promote the scientific and standardized level of inter- country adoption, and implement our working principle “everything for the children”, we have refined and improved the review points for deciding the eligibility of foreigners adopting from China, in accordance with the Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption, and Measures for Registration of Adoption of Children by Foreigners in the People’s Republic of China, as well as the practice of paper review of CCCWA.

I. Age

1. The prospective adoptive parents (PAPs) should reach the age of 30, and the age difference between the PAP and the adoptee should be not more than 50 years.

2. When a couple adopts together, the age difference should be counted based on the age of the younger party.

II. Marital Status

1. The PAP(s) should be a couple of one male and one female, or a single female with no homosexual tendency.

2. In the adoption by a couple (couple adoption), the PAPs should have a stable marital status, either party should have not more than 2 divorces. If one party has no divorce history or 1 divorce, their current marriage should last not less than 2 years. If one party has 2 divorces, their current marriage should last not less than 5 years.

3. In calculating the marriage lasting time for PAPs, the time living together before their marriage can be included. When calculating the number of divorces, widow and remarriage after divorce are not included.

III. Health Conditions

The PAPs should be physically and mentally fit, with the ability to raise and educate the adoptee, but without any of the following conditions:

(1) Intellectual disability;

(2) HIV positive, or infectious disease that is actively contagious;

(3) Schizophrenia;

(4) Mental disorder including mania, depression, bipolar affective disorder, anxiety and phobia, etc. PAP(s) with minor symptoms and are under good control by taking medicine, assessed by a psychological professional as having no effects on their normal work and life and fit to care and educate the adoptee, will be exempt from this limitation;

(5) Binocular blindness, binocular low vision or monocular blindness with no ocular prosthesis;

(6) Severe facial deformation;

(7) Binaural hearing loss or language function loss; PAPs who adopt children with identical conditions, or with one party of a couple healthy will be exempt from this limitation;

(8) Non-function or dysfunction of limbs or trunk caused by impairment, incomplete limb, paralysis or deformation;

(9) Diseases that require long-term treatment, and have bad prognosis which will affect PAPs’ child care ability such as lupus, nephrosis, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, etc.; In a couple adoption, if one party is completely healthy and the other suffers any of such diseases but is under good control after treatment, they will be exempt from this limitation if they can provide a doctor’s note to attest that the illness has no effects on their normal work and life and fit for caring the adoptee;

(10) Skin cancer, thyroid cancer, breast cancer and testicular cancer that has been cured for less than 3 years; other kinds of cancer or malignant tumor that has been cured less than 5 years;

(11) Vital organ transplant within 10 years; In a couple adoption, if one party is healthy and the other party had organ transplant within 10 years but has recovered to live a normal life, they will be exempt from this limitation;

(12) BMI (BMI=weight (kg)/ height2 (m2) )≥40;

(13) Short stature or dwarfism; PAPs who adopt children with identical conditions will be exempt from this limitation.

IV Educational background

The PAPs should have received senior high school education or above, or vocational and technical skills education of the same level. V. Family Financial Conditions

1. The PAPs (at least one party of a couple in a couple adoption) should have stable occupation and income. The per-capita annual income of a family including the prospective adoptee should reach 10,000 USD; When calculating the family per-capita annual income in an adoption by a single parent, the number of family members should be one more than the actual family member number after adoption

2. Couple adoption’s family net worth should reach 80,000 USD, and single adoption’s family net worth should reach 100,000 USD.

3. Welfare allowance such as relief fund, pension, disability benefits, adoption subsidy, foster care subsidy and disabled child subsidy, etc. are not included in the family annual income.

4. Proper relaxation can be granted to foreigners living in China on the aspects of family annual income and net worth.

VI Moral Characters

The PAPs should have no record of criminal penalties, have good moral characters, honorable behaviors and abide by laws and regulations, without any of the following circumstances:

(1) a history of domestic violence, sex abuse, abandonment/abuse of children (even if they were not arrested or convicted);

(2) a history of taking drugs including opium, morphine, marijuana, cocaine, heroin, smokable methamphetamine and etc;

(3) a history of alcohol abuse and have stopped drinking for less than 10 years.

Adoption application will be given due consideration when the PAPs have had no more than 3 criminal records with minor violations and no severe outcomes, and the time for correction has reached 10 years; or have had no more than 5 records of traffic law violation with no severe outcomes.

VII Children in the House

1. The adoption of orphans, disable children, or abandoned infants and children whose parents cannot be ascertained or found, are not subject to the requirement that the adopter should be childless.

2. The PAPs should have enough time and energy to take care of the minors in the house including the prospective adoptee. In a couple adoption, the number of minors living in the house of the PAPs should be not more than 5; in a single adoption, the number of minors in the house of the PAPs should be not more than 2.

3. The youngest child in the house should reach 3 years old.

VIII Adoption Frequency and Numbers

1. Adopters should submit post placement reports as required after the adoption; There should be a 1 year interval between the second adoption application and the previous one (from the registration date of the previous adoption to the current adoption application date).

2. In principle, the PAPs should adopt 1 child from China at a time.

3. In a couple adoption, if adoptee is a twin or multiple births or have siblings, the adoption will be exempt from the limitation of item 2.

VIII Others

1. The PAPs should receive pre-adoption training to have a correct cognition and understanding of the possible risks of inter-country adoption, be fully prepared for the adoption and care of the adoptee. The PAPs should promise in the inter-country adoption application letter that they will not abandon or maltreat the child to be adopted, and will submit post placement reports as required.

2. As for PAPs residing in countries other than their birth country, if they intend to apply to adopt from China, they should reside in countries which have cooperative relationship with China in inter-country adoption, or in contracting states of the Hague Convention.

3. This document does not apply to stepchild adoptions. As for the adoption of a child belonging to a collateral relative by blood of the same generation and up to the third degree of kinship, relaxation will be granted properly.

4. Time or age is calculated based on the adoption application dossier’s log-in-date at CCCWA.

5. This document shall enter into force as of the date of issuance. In the event of any inconsistency between this document and previous CCCWA regulations or notices, the review points of this document shall apply.

China Center for Children’s Welfare and Adoption

The Importance of the Post Adoption Report

At least when the adoption is done, I won’t have any more paperwork!

Wait…there’s more???!!!

By the time adoptive parents are granted legal custody of their child, they have completed pages and pages—and what seems like books—of paperwork. Contracts, medicals, financial statements, letters of intent, employment documents, picture pages, THE HOMESTUDY, and so, so, so much more. Whole reams of paper, pens of ink and cartridges of toner are committed to the adoption process. It seems like a never ending battle to get that one last document finished. By the time the adoption is done, you are ready to just move on with life and never, EVER do another piece of paperwork as long as you live (or at least until your next adoption).

However, the point of adoption is actually the beginning of a whole other set of paperwork for many adoptions and especially so for those who internationally adopt. Most countries require at least one post-adoption report with many requiring multiple reports over the span of time. In most cases, the country has a set amount of required reports as determined by the country, but some cases may require more reports, especially in countries where a birth parent is involved in the process. Some countries even require reports until the child is 18 years old (that’s a lot of reports for kids who are adopted as babies or toddlers!). Even if the country does not require post-adoption reports, most placing agencies or at least home-study agencies require reports per agency or state policies.

Post-adoption reports are an important part of a country’s decision to move forward with their adoption program. Reports allow a country to measure the success of the program and the outcomes for children. It also allows them to know that the children are alive and still in the original adopted home, or in the case that they are not, where they are and whether the new adoption/placement was done correctly. (Note: post-adoption reports need to be honest and never cover up any issues. No one expects everything to be perfect and even knowledge of issues can be enlightening for change.) In some countries, birth parents/family and/or the orphanage that cared for the child have the right to review the reports in order to maintain knowledge of the child’s well-being.

At the onset of an adoption, parents are informed about the expected post-adoption reports (to the best of the agency’s ability as things do change over time), and parents sign documentation stating they understand the requirements and will abide by them. In addition, most countries require the adoptive family and/or placing agency to submit documentation as part of the dossier stating they will complete the reports as required. Unfortunately, not all parents fulfill this obligation to their child’s country and adoption agency. When that happens, there can be dire consequences for the children remaining in the country and/or for the children that could be placed by the agency in the future.

The Department of State recently published the 2016 Annual Report on Intercountry Adoptions. DOS reports that it met with 30 countries in 2016 regarding intercountry adoption. In these meetings, three main concerns were presented by countries as concerns—prominent among them was post-adoption report compliance. “Even after adoption, countries maintain a strong interest in knowing how children from their countries fare. Officials become concerned when they receive no reports about a child after adoption, often fearing that the adoption has disrupted or dissolved, or that the child has been harmed. When parents fail to fulfill the obligation they agreed to, it reflects badly on U.S. adoptions and may impact the country’s willingness to continue to engage and partner with the United States.” Countries have shut down over non-compliance in the past (for example, Ukraine closed for some time in October 2005 due to missing reports— link ) which hurts remaining orphans and potential parents in the short-and-long-run. “Several countries have conditioned the resumption of intercountry adoptions on receiving post adoption reports from parents who previously adopted children from that country.” (Quotes taken from the above mentioned report.)

The Department of State has since issued further notices regarding the importance post-adoption reporting. A May 8, 2017 notice states “Missing or delinquent post-adoption reports can negatively impact adoption service providers seeking authorization in affected countries, as well as U.S. citizen parents seeking to adopt in the future. The consequences of failure to comply with post-adoption reporting requirements are significant, particularly for thousands of children in need of permanency who would be adversely impacted if intercountry adoption programs are suspended or closed.” ( https://travel.state.gov/content/adoptionsabroad/en/about-us/newsroom/Post-AdoptionReportingOverview.html .)

It’s understandable that parents get busy and life moves on. In addition, it is clear to agencies that the vast majority of adoptive parents are devoted to the cause of the orphan and to the orphans and vulnerable children that remain in their child’s country. Agencies often see parents fundraise for or even create projects of humanitarian aid in their child’s country of origin. It is important for agencies and even countries to recognize these efforts made on behalf of the children. However, it is also important for adoptive families to realize that one of the most important things an adoptive parent can do to help orphans in their child’s country is to complete post-adoption reports on time and encourage others to do the same.

If you are an adoptive parent who has fallen behind on your reports, please contact your placing agency today to find out how you can help adoption remain a viable option for children in your child’s country of origin by catching up on missing reports. Please share this article and/or the Department of State’s notices in any way you can to encourage other adoptive families to do the same. If you have adopted a child after the dissolution of an international adoption, please contact your child’s original placing agency regarding reports as the countries still require them even if you are not legally bound to provide them. If your placing agency has closed, please contact the Department of State’s Office of Children’s Issues for information on how to comply with reporting.

Little Zi waiting for her forever family!

For those of us who are lucky enough to have a loving Father, we know the feeling of love and protection. Little Zi knows this love…and misses it.

In all my years of working as an international adoption specialist, I have heard and seen a multitude of children’s stories—some sadder than others. Yet in all my days, no story has left me wanting a family for a child so badly as I want one for precious 8-year-old Zi.

When Zi was born, her birth mother left her father and much older sister to remarry. When many fathers might choose otherwise, her father raised her and her sister as best he could. In June 2014, the family got into a car accident that left Zi paralyzed from the waist down. Still, even as poor as they were, her father cared for her. Tragically, her father found out that December that he had liver cancer and died the next month. Zi and her sister went to live with a blind uncle while officials contacted their mother who once again refused to care for them. The children were then admitted to an orphanage. Her sister is now 18—too young to care for her and too old to be adopted with her.

When Zi came into care, she was in poor physical condition and would not speak. After being in the care of the orphanage, she is active and cute again, ready to smile, and has a good spirit. The orphanage personnel say she is very smart and cute, introverted and shy, can have a temper, and usually helps the nurturer look after the younger children. She likes writing, drawing, listening to music, watching TV and chatting. Her life is fulfill and happy with the exception of one important aspect—a family.

While single women can adopt from China, International Adoption Net feels this child needs both a mother and a father so she can once again have a Daddy . Could this little girl wrap your fatherly hand around her finger?

Contact Angela regarding this little girl, angela@ internationaladoptionnet.org .

Important Adoption Announcement

Important Adoption Update!!

ast month we were informed by the State Department that they would be enacting yet another round of heavy regulations for international adoptions. We were given only 42 days to process and respond to these new laws that will forever effect all adoption programs. The adoption world is still coming to grasps with the limiting regulations of the UAA regulations that went into effect in 2014. Due to those regulations, the TOTAL number of adoptions to the US last year was 5,647. That is an incredibly low number considering the amount of children living in institutions around the world, or worse. These are not just infant adoptions. Existing laws have already limited the options for relative adoptions, and older child adoptions. In 2015, just 6% of intercountry adoptions were infants, and 72% of intercountry adoptions were children over the age of three. Perhaps most telling is that 13% of intercountry adoptions in 2015 were of children aged 12 or older! Our government should be supporting the permanent placement of older children with approved US families, however now we are faced with another round of overreaching and crippling laws that could result in the mass shut down of even more agencies. The concerns around adoption do not justify this over regulation, and children and waiting families are the ones who will pay the cost. We ask that you help us advocate against these new laws, which are being hidden from the public and put into effect before anyone can realize what is happening. Agencies are working together to get the word out to families who may never get the chance to adopt if these go into effect next year so that you can help us advocate for children in need! Please visit http://saveadoptions.org/ to learn more about how these new rules could impact your ability to adopt, and sign the petition. The State Department can enact these new rules with no oversight, warning or accountability thanks to special allowances given to them by Congress years ago. That means just a few people are deciding these laws and there is no direct representation of the American people, no voting, no popular approval. We ask that you educate yourself and call your Senators and Representatives to stop this unnecessary over reach by the Office of Children’s Issues. Please share with your family and friends and help us save adoption!

India Waiting Kids: Special Need Spotlight on Ambiguous genitalia

This Blog post is written by one of our Adoption Coordinators, Angela.

As an experienced international adoption specialist for 11 years, I’ve seen a variety of medical conditions with children available for adoption with various international programs. However, a recent agency change has opened my eyes to a country I had always been interested in, but never had the opportunity to serve through adoption: India.

As I search the waiting child list issued by India, I am amazed and perplexed at the number of children available with conditions that are either correctable or manageable. Some of the conditions are even sought after in other countries as a humanitarian choice in adoption. Babies, toddlers, young children and older children with HIV, club foot, cleft palate and/or lip, heart defects, limb differences and other such conditions have waited years for families on the India list. One condition I had not previously seen appears quite often on the India list: ambiguous genitalia or other gender disorders. Of the 82 children ages 0-2 currently listed on the India waiting child list, at least three have some type of gender condition. The Mayo Clinic defines ambiguous genitalia as-

“Ambiguous genitalia is a rare condition in which an infant’s external genitals don’t appear to be clearly either male or female. In a baby with ambiguous genitalia, the genitals may not be well-formed or the baby may have characteristics of both sexes. The external sex organs may not match the internal sex organs or genetic sex.Ambiguous genitalia isn’t a disease. It’s a sign of a condition that affects sexual development, and it’s referred to as a disorder of sexual development.” http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/ambiguous-genitalia/basics/definition/con-20026345

More information about ambiguous genitalia, including causes and treatment, can be found at the above referred-to link. There are many options for corrective treatment for a child born with ambiguous genitalia, all that is needed is the right family that is able to care for the child. With the medical resources in the USA, many children with this condition get proper treatment, and thrive with their families. In India, where conditions like this carry heavily negative social stigmas, these children may never get the care or love they deserve, and for many is the sole reason why they are in the orphange.

Due to privacy regulations, India does not allow children to be photolisted on such sites as RainbowKids. While I understand the reasons for the privacy of the children, these limitations can decrease the chances that these beautiful children will find homes, simply because they do not have the exposure as children with other programs may have. However, if more people knew about the India program and the wonderful children that are available, more people would open their hearts and homes so these little ones would be orphans no more.

To adopt from India, parents must be physically, mentally, and emotionally stable with no threatening medical conditions, as well as be financially stable. Married couples must have been married at least two years. Single women can adopt children of either gender, while single males are only allowed to adopt boys. India does impose age limits as follows:

Families are not allowed to already have more than four children in the home. As always, USCIS and state regulations also apply with regard to qualifications of adoptive parents.

Families must first complete their adoption paperwork and obtain USCIS approval before being eligible to be matched with a child. However, once a family’s paperwork is complete, their agency can immediately start searching the waiting child list for a child that meets the family’s desired and approved criteria. The more open a family is with regard to age, gender and special needs, the more likely they are to be matched with a child quickly and start the official adoption process.

To find out more about this program, please contact International Adoption Net, info@internationaladoptionnet.org , or by calling 1-877-672-2971 .

Child in the photo is a stock photo and not available for adoption. International Adoption Net suggests all families talk to a licensed pediatrician for all medical advice and information when considering a child for adoption. Families are approved for children with medical conditions on a case by case basis after reviewing the family’s qualifications as best determined by the placement agency.

5 Questions to Ask If You Are Considering Adoption

/contact/ This is a guest post from our partner Diane Hogan. She is an adoptive parent twice over, adoption and education expert, and President of A Step Ahead Adoption Services.

Are you a family who want to start or build your family and don’t know if adoption is right for you? If so, you have probably been on the Internet looking at all the choices, options and decisions you would need to make to just take the first step into adoption. Hopefully this article will help you understand your choices, fine tune your options and guide your decision-making process.

There are 3 primary paths to adopting a child – domestic (US) adoption, international adoption and/or foster-to-adoption. How do you know which path is best for you? Consider the child you see coming into your home and ask yourself these 5 simple questions:

1) What age is this child? Most domestic adoptions are newborn-to-1 year of age placements; most international adoptions are toddler-thru-school aged; most foster-to-adoption placements are 1-year to 18-years of age (after 18, most children “age out” of the foster care system).

2) What race or races of child can you consider? In domestic adoption, you have children of all colors of the rainbow and racial combinations; however, the least placed race (in the US) is Asian. For foster-to-adoption, again all the possible racial combinations of children are eagerly awaiting their forever families. International adoptions, you have to be country-specific, thus you will be defining race(s) upon selecting a country. To get an overview of options in this area, see: https://travel.state.gov/content/adoptionsabroad/en/adoption-process.html

3) What timeframe are you considering? Most domestic (US) adoptions can occur in 1-year or less unless you are gender-specific and then that could take up to 2 years. International adoptions are country-specific and will be dependent on how well your US agency or attorney is connected with the foreign country’s embassy, orphanages and laws. Generally speaking allow a minimum of 2 years for the process. For foster-to-adoption, you would need to be able and willing to foster a child until they are eligible for the adoption rolls. That process is often 1-2 years depending on your county’s policy for a birth parents time to attempt reunification – the goal of the foster system.

4) Are you gender-specific? If so, then focus more on international or foster-to-adoption because it is much easier to select a boy or girl, or both! In domestic adoption, you become dependent on a gender-defining ultra sound or waiting for a born baby.

5) Do you have a budget defined? Most domestic and international adoptions are running $30,000 -$50,000 for the cost of preparing, adopting and traveling. Foster-to-adoption is more affordable as you may only be asked to pay for legal fees and travel. Remember, we currently do have an adoption tax credit that may assist you after you adopt. For more information, see: https://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc607.html

Still confused? Feel free to send us an email or give us a call. We provide adoption education, guidance, support and resource referrals for many various aspects of adoption. If you are a family desiring a domestic adoption or adoption education, we have consultants across the US to talk with you and discuss the process of domestic adoption. If you are considering an international or foster program, we can connect you with agencies speializing in the programs you are interested in.

Diane Hogan is an adoptive mom of two “babies” (now respectively 21 years of age and 18 years of age). Along with her husband she adopted domestically and has two open adoptions. She hold BS and MA degrees in education. Worked for 20 years in public education (classroom teacher, curriculum developer, program specialist, teacher trainer). Besides her two children, she is most proud of her 2-years or remission from Hodgkins’ Lymphoma! Diane now owns/operates A Step Ahead Adoption Services for the last 16 years from Colorado Springs, CO. A Step Ahead Adoption Services (ASA), in the big picture, is a consulting services designed to help adoptive parents seeking a domestic adoption through an agency or attorney in the US. We educate, guide, support our client families who are seeking a domestic or international adoption. ASA also provides education for agencies and law firms that work in adoption. They can offer 1:1 classes, workshops and seminars. They have an extensive online adoption & parenting library for client families (over 80 documents), a prerecorded 20-minute class on the domestic adoption procedure and 45 short vignettes of interviews with adoptees, adoptive parents and an occupational therapist. Our ASA clients have access to all of those educational materials. ASA contracts with consultants who work for us across the US to support adoptive families and agencies. If you prefer to go international or foster-to-adopt, we will happily refer you to professionals in your area. ASA website is: www.astepaheadadoption.com .

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