Friday, August 3, 2012

Q & A time...Part I

We have been researching adoption from Ethiopia since last December. I feel that we have become pretty knowledgeable about the process (we are in no way experts!). Toward the end of our "research" I was beginning to become frustrated because I just wanted to start the process! We needed to wait for the one-year minimum marriage length requirement (some agencies require 2 or 3 years).  We could not officially begin until July, although we did begin our home study process in June. Looking back, I believe this was a good thing because it allowed us to learn a lot about Ethiopia and the whole process. I have noticed that people have several of the same questions related to our adoption. We welcome others' questions and please feel free to ask away, but I thought I could clear up a few questions right here:

1. Why Ethiopia?
There are several reasons we have chosen Ethiopia. When we first began looking into international adoption programs, I reached out to a few agencies to obtain info. The first agency we spoke to informed us that we were eligible to adopt from Bulgaria and Ethiopia (out of the programs that they had). After researching these countries, I was immediately drawn to the beautiful country of Ethiopia. We are not eligible to adopt from many countries for several reasons. For example, to adopt from China, you have to married for at least 2 years and you can't be on the medicine that I take for anxiety. S. Korea requires couples to be married for 3 years and Haiti, 10 years! We also began to learn about the orphan crisis. There are 5 million orphans in this country and we feel that we would be able to provide an orphaned child with a loving home.

2. Can we have our "own" children?
First off, the child we adopt will be our own child. I understand people are referring to biological children when they ask this question. As far as we know we are both able to have children. We have chosen to adopt first. We may adopt again or we may have a biological child. We will have to see...

3. Doesn't it cost a lot of money to adopt?
It definitely is not cheap! To me, it is all relative. I don't think you can put a price on a human life so to us, it doesn't really matter. When we look back on our lives, we know that we will not regret this. When you break down the total costs, it really isn't all that expensive. There are a lot of different people and agencies working to ensure that your child gets home safely and that your adoption is ethical. Once again, you can't put a price on that. Plus, those that know us well also know we are pretty practical with our money. We don't go on fancy vacations, wear expensive clothes, or drive fancy cars. Luckily, the fees are due over time, at different points in the process, so that allows this process to be a little more affordable.

4. Why don't you just adopt from the U.S.?
We are not against domestic adoption at all. It just isn't the best choice for us (at this time).The situation in our country is very different from the situations in other countries. Our idea of poverty is different than the poverty that exists in some areas of the world. I came across a statistic recently that said there are 20 couples for every American child who is adopted. Personally, I would feel guilty if we were chosen to be the adoptive parents over another couple who has experienced infertility or loss. There are plenty of couples (and individuals) who are willing to adopt in our country. There are 5 million orphans in Ethiopia and I have read estimates between 143-147 million orphans worldwide. 

5. How long does the whole process take?
It really depends on several factors. We are in the beginning stages now, and at this time I am estimating that we could be arriving home with our child in late 2013/early 2014. There were changes to the adoption process in Ethiopia that have slowed down the entire process. From reading others' blogs and from talking to agencies, it appears that things are beginning to pick up again. We will have to wait and see. We are open to adopting a boy or a girl, and we have a 3 year age range. We have been told this flexibility may make our referral wait time shorter. Only time will tell.

6. Will you keep his/her name?
The answer to this is "most likely," but once again it will depend. If we adopted a 2-3 year old, we probably would not change his/her name, whereas it may be different if we adopt an infant. I know what it is like to have a name that everyone spells/pronounces incorrectly and I do not want my child to have to deal with that. On the other hand, our child's name is part of who he/she is and we want our child to be proud of his/her Ethiopian heritage. My husband suggested we keep our child's birth name his/her middle name (if we were to change it). That way, he/she could choose to be called by his/her Ethiopian name.

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