Monday, March 06, 2006

Why Not the U.S.?

This morning my mother-in-law called. It seems that Eric's Grandpa had run into someone associated with our local emergency intake shelter for children who need foster care placement. Grandpa mentioned to this woman that Eric and I were adopting and (from what I gather) this woman began to question Grandpa about why we chose to adopt from a "foreign country" when there are so many children in the US that need homes. She told grandpa about all of the babies who were currently at the shelter, as if they were there just waiting for loving arms to rescue them and love them forever. I so wish that were true!

Before deciding to adopt from Liberia Eric and I researched all of our options. We knew that the Lord was leading us to adopt a child of African decent, but there are TONS of kids in the US that fit that description! So we checked out both private infant adoption and adoption through foster care. The reality with foster-adoption here in the United States is that it is a very long and hard road to parenthood. I really admire those who are able to endure the ups and downs of the foster-adopt process. I think they are the strong of the strong where adoptive parents are concerned. For those of you who may be wondering why we chose to adopt internationally again rather than domestic here is some information:
  • Private Adoption: Eric and I felt uncomfortable at the thought of "competing" with other parents in hopes that we would be chosen to parent a child.
  • Private Adoption: The costs associated with private adoption include money paid to the birthmother for such things as her rent, her grocery bill, etc. It seems a bit like paying a birthmother for her child (to us).
  • Private Adoption: Most all private adoptions in the US are with newborns (just a few days old). Eric and I would rather adopt a slightly older baby (6-12 months old).
  • Foster-Adopt: It is very difficult to get an infant placement through the foster care system, and if you do the children are oftentimes part of a large sibling group, have been drug exposed, or have a variety of other special needs.
  • Foster-Adopt: There is no guarantee that a child placed with you through the foster care system will end up being your child forever. The process can take YEARS to finalize and in that time the child can be removed from your custody at any time. Eric and I aren't prepared for that kind of heartbreak.
  • Foster-Adopt: When you seek a child through foster care they are "all up in your business!" Every facet of your life is are not allowed to discipline the child however you feel are obligated to answer to the foster care system until the adoption is final (which again, can be years). Eric felt really uncomfortable at the thought of being under a microscope for so long--not because we have anything to hide, but just because it is so excessive!

So, are the above points why we are adopting internationally? Nope. We're adopting internationally because that is what the Lord called our family to. Yes, there are tons of children in the US who need loving homes. Yes, we congratulate and admire those who seek adoptive placements through the foster care system. But our family was called to Liberia. Children in the US aren't dying as they wait for families. Children in the US have medical care available to them. Children in the US have enough food to eat each day. Liberian children awaiting adoption do not have these assurances.

If the Lord ever calls our family to adopt either privately or through the foster care system here in the US, we will humbly obey. In the meantime though, we look forward to the adoption of our Liberian children! :)


Linda 2:05 PM  

Oh Anita, WE are STILL so very ON THE SAME PAGE!!!! My brother and sister in law have three sons adopted through Michigan foster care and the hoops and roller coaster rides they have taken defy definition! However, this is the path God led them to walk and I am thankful. When Charlie and I began to discuss adoption (many years befroe we ever began) it was in both of our hearts to pursue the international process. You articulated MY OWN heart so well, I felt like I was reading my own explanations all over again! God bless you and your WHOLE family, those home and those coming!

Anonymous 9:58 AM  

Anita, this is the first time I've seen your website and I have to tell you, you are awsome. You said everything about adopting internationally that we to have been saying. Before our third son was born we looked into Foster-adoption. We went to meetings and were considering the process until I realized I just couldn't bank on our third child being yanked from us, to go back to his real mom and then have to start all over again. I've had a heart for Liberia for a long time and the more I've seen and heard about Liberia the more I knew we were in the right place. We haven't got much support from my family regarding our adoption so it has been a little hard. They to felt like we should have adopted a child here in the U.S., but since we had gone to meetings and looked into doing it the other way we had first hand experiance (I guess) as to why we didn't go domesticly. God has us both where he wants us.
Love You.
In Christ