So how did we finally decide on pursuing an adoption from China? That answer was a little more difficult. As I have mentioned in previous blogs, we have known for quite a while that we wanted to adopt, but my heart was all over the place when it came to actually choosing a country.
My first desire was, of course, Zambia. I had been there several times, I had been inside and held babies in their orphanages, and a couple from our Church had adopted from Zambia. But, we quickly learned, after a lot of research, that many of the African countries are just very difficult to adopt from. That doesn't mean it isn't possible, many families do and I wouldn't doubt if the Lord opens that door in the future for us! Right now, even countries like Ethiopia, which over the past decade has seen a huge rise in international adoptions, has become more strict and changed their regulations.
Every country is different in their "requirements" to adopt. And these requirements can change at any time. Ethiopia for example has recently changed their requirements. Sometimes these changes are absolutely necessary to prevent child trafficking, and sometimes the hold-ups and difficulties of adoption are brought upon for ridiculous reasons. There are currently hundreds of children within the Democratic Republic of the Congo that are "stuck". Though they have been legally adopted by American families, the DRC just stopped issuing exit visas.
So in addition to meeting requirements to adopt, there are also issues with country stability, child trafficking, cost, length of travel to get your child etc.
We thought and prayed about several African countries, but it just kept having closed doors. Then we looked at Haiti. They also recently became part of the Hague convention, which is in place to prevent child trafficking, and they had some changes in their requirements. We thought after looking over these changes that this would be a good fit for our family. But earlier in 2015, that door seemed to close also, because there were many families now waiting to adopt from Haiti and the length of time to bring them home was very uncertain. One particular agency I had been watching and interested in, stopped accepting applications to Haiti and that was the final door shut for me.
China and South Korea...honestly I had ruled both out. Again, they had specific requirements, that we did not meet, so I hadn't done a lot of research. If you have read some of my earlier blogs, you might know that depression and anxiety have ailed me at times, and there is quite a stigma around depression and anxiety within China and South Korea. Basically, with my history, I did not meet their "medical requirements."
But, God must have had something else planned. Ironically, the week I heard that the Haiti program I had been looking at was no longer accepting applications, I also get an email that China has changed their requirements! After speaking with the staff at different agencies and researching it some more, it seems, that as long as you have a medical letter from a physician stating your overall health and well being, that China would consider you. Yippee!!!! I was, and still am pretty nervous to see if we have any hold-ups along the way...but for me...that was an OPEN door, when another door was shut!
China. I started researching. The only thing I knew about Chinese adoptions was the "One-Child" policy that led to lots and lots of girls sitting within Chinese orphanages. Well, come to find out, that policy slowly started phasing out a while back and actually is no longer in effect as of this past fall. 10 years ago, the orphanages were full of healthy little girls, waiting for a family. That image is long gone. Now, Chinese orphanages, which are still overflowing, are filled with special medical needs children who have been abandoned in hospitals, on sidewalks and in front of orphanages. Why are they abandoned? Either because of the stigma of having a child with a special need and/or the financial burden that a medical need is to an already struggling family. So, children, without mommies and daddies, who by society may be viewed as imperfect, but in God's eyes...they are perfect...fearfully and wonderfully made.
Here is an excellent blog that details the changing face of Chinese adoptions.
So, again, after much prayer, this is where we are being called! China...here we come!!