Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Internation Adoption - For the first time in my life I wish I lived in the United States

When Nic and I started looking into adoption the first place we started was international adoption.  We travel to enough impoverished countries that we know there are children all over the world who desperately need homes.  We knew the wait to adopt a young child in Ontario privately would be a long one and there were also major parts of the private adoption process that had turned us off.

As I have already mentioned the wait to adopt privately in Ontario is entirely unpredictable.  This is the fist reason we thought international adoption might be easier.  Some of the first websites we looked at had outlines of each countries requirements as well as approximate time lines.  There seemed to be so many countries to choose from and so many children out there.  The children would not be newborns but it looked like it was possible to adopt children as young as 6-12 months. 

The second reason international looked good was because there was a process that you had to follow and once it was completed you were in line for a child.  It removed allot of the doubts I had about dealing with birth parents.  I was having nightmares about interviews with pregnant 16 year olds, who could not decide between their top three candidates.

Also when you adopt internationally you usually have to spend some time in the country or make a few trips.  This would be costly and time consuming but at least once we had our child on the plane with us, he or she would be ours.  No return policy! Where domestically the baby has to be alive for 7 days before the parents can sign him/her over to you.  Then from the day the papers are signed they have 21 days where they can change their mind and take the baby back.  We have now found out this does not happen often, it is still a very scary thought.

Lastly was the fact that we could keep our adoption private until we brought our child home.  Not that we would not want the support of our family and close friends, we would.  It is just with private adoption you are encourage to tell  everyone and anyone that you want to adopt.  The more people that know you want to adopt the more likely it is you will be able to connect with a child.  Talking to your family doctor, your old high school guidance counsellor, leaving business cards at clinics, etc, are all ways to get the word out.  The idea that essentially we should "advertise" ourselves was hard to take.

So for all these reasons we looked further into international adoption.  The first thing I learned was that there are many countries out there who are participating in international adoption but not necessarily with Canada.  In Canada you have to work with an adoption agency or Licensee who is authorized to handle adoptions for that country.  If there is no agency dealing with the country that you are interested in then you can not adopt from there. The list of agencies at first seemed plentiful but when I looked closer at the countries available I realized how limited we are. 

In the United States there are many agencies that deal with almost all countries available.  They still have very strict rules regarding how international adoptions are preformed, but they have more connections than Canadian agencies do.  I found out later that the U.S. gives allot of money to government agencies and non-profits in these countries which opens more doors for American citizens.

With regards to choosing a country, Nic and I were drawn to Latin America right away and predominately focused on Honduras.  We have travelled there and love the country and people.  There was even an agency in Ontario that was running a trial adoption program.  The agency is Terre des Hommes (TDH) Ontario, and according to there newsletter they still had some spots available for Ontario applicants.

My mistake here was that I hit the internet and a few different chat rooms gathering information.  I spoke with a few people in the States who were currently in the process of adopting from Honduras and it got my hopes up.  One women had been on the list for only 9 months and had just received a referral for a 16 month old little girl.  So right away I was thinking that it was possible to adopt a child under two and in a short amount of time. 

I first spoke with a women by the name of Emi at TDH via e-mail to find out more information about the program.  The first thing she told me was that it was virtually impossible to adopt children under two and that if I wanted more info we should talk on the phone.  The phone conversation I had with her was extremely disappointing.  She basically told me that even though they had 3 or 4 of the 10 spots in the program open she would not accept us.  She gave a long list of reasons, but the main one was that we wanted a younger child.  She said that our application could take years and would hold up the spot.  She would rather keep the spots open for people willing to take older or special needs children. 

I looked and looked for a loop hole to get around her or find another way to adopt from Honduras but there just is not one.  In the U.S. you can hire a lawyer locally and one in the country and basically facilitate your own adoption.  You just have to get the government or a licensed agency to sponsor your application.  Obviously TDH would not sponsor our application and The Ministry of Children and Youth Services (the only government agency that could possible sponsor the application) does not do it.  You have to go through a licensed agency. 

The only other Latin America country that have agencies currently working in Canada is Colombia.  Both agencies are only taking Colombian nationals as applicants.  So it appears that the door to international adoption may be closed for us, but I have learned that international adoption changes all the time.  There are always new agencies becoming licensed and countries closing their doors while others are opening them.  Changes may happen in the future that will get us to revisit it. 

Although it was not our first choice and we think it will be a long, emotional road, we are going to focus on private/public adoption.  We are still going to complete our homestudy with International adoption in mind but not the central focus.  Although I have not necessarily changed my view on private adoption.  The issues that bothered me before, still do now.  I know that Nic and I are in this together and that we can handle the emotional burden it could potentially put on us.

No comments:

Post a Comment