Adoption Choices: Why International Adoption?
I’ve received some questions about why we chose what we chose when we decided to adopt. The number of decisions you have to make in the adoption world is borderline insane. As Mr. MPB and I are very practical and pragmatic, each decision was made with countless hours of thought and analysis. I plan to write about each of these decisions as independent posts in the coming days. Please note that I have no intention of defending our decisions, instead I am just stating the basics of the decisions we made. Others trying to grow their families are likely to make different decisions in respect to adoption, IVF treatments, number of losses and even good old fashioned sex positions. I fully respect that there are many paths to building a family. This is our path and I’m proud of the decisions we’ve made out of love and respect for all involved in our family.
So, the three big possible decisions we were faced with early in the adoption process were:
- Open vs Closed
- Infant vs Older Child
- International vs Domestic
These decisions have to be made very early in the process as you have to select which agency you will use, and depending on each choice, your agency/process change. It’s complicated to say the least. An example is that all foster adoptions are closed so, if you want an open adoption you have to choose a different agency. Another example is that almost all open adoptions are infant, so if you want to adopt an older child the open adoption system wouldn’t be for you.
Anyways, the choices we made were:
As Canadians the combination of our decisions mean that our only choice country was/is the United States.
So, why did we choose to adopt from the USA and not within Canada?
We have six main reasons for choosing to go to the USA
- Full medical report and self-report family history from birth mom. We do not get this information if we adopt locally. It is our understanding that we get a self-report but not the details.
- Drug and alcohol testing of birth mom while pregnant or of infant if it’s an instant placement. Of course, there are no guarantees since some substances leave the system within a short time period, but it’s still a pretty good indicator. Proof regarding substance exposure is not something we can have access to locally.
- Ability to say no, this match isn’t for us. While we could say no locally, it is frowned upon without sufficient reason. In fact, it almost never happens. We wanted the ability to not feel pressured to say yes should we have reservations for some unforseen reason.
- Distance. We fully believe in open adoption, but we wanted space. We want to be in full control of visits – when they happen, how long they last and where they happen. Considering the international boarder that separates us, we are fairly confident that there will be no impromptu surprise visits.
- Respect of our privacy. In the USA details like our home town, last names, address, exact income are all kept private. Locally, these details are shared by our agency with multiple birth mom’s. We were never comfortable with this level of detail being shared with more then the one who chose us. It felt like an invasion of our privacy
- Time. Infant open adoption from within the USA is typically within a year or so. Infant open adoption locally is a minimum of 3 years. So clearly by leaving Canada we are able to drastically speed up the process.
But, here’s the catch. While not the point of this post, something I need to mention. By choosing open infant international adoption our costs are about 5 times higher (not including travel). And travel costs will include 2-3 weeks of living in hotels and multiple flights around the USA for us and adoption agency representatives, so that’s not going to be a cheap extra.
When we first started this a year ago we were told international bills would be 25-40K USD + travel (34-54K CAD + travel).
We are now a year in and being provided with real bills. Using approximate numbers only as I’ve stopped tracking to the penny, the numbers are going to add up to about 60K USD + travel ($81,000.00 CAD + travel). This is about 50% higher then expected. And coming up with an extra $80K + travel costs in the span of 1 year is nearly impossible for Mr. MPB and I (and probably most people for that matter).
It’s not an ideal situation, but it is what it is. And now and we are just holding on until we stop bleeding green.
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