Tuesday, August 23, 2011

International vs Domestic (I'm not talking cheese or wine or deli ham)

I've heard much debate as to whether, if you're going to adopt, you should go domestic or international. Or even if folks should be adopting at all.

When I first looked into adopting,
what's it been now, 8+ years?
I decided on international.

There were a few reasons. I was, quite frankly, scared of some of the horror stories I had heard about adopting a kid "from the system". I wanted a process that would be a clean cut so that once it was done, it was done. No continued visitations with birth relations, etc, etc.

And I was extremely happy about how it all went. All except for the debt it left us with.

Next adoption? International again, but of course. Not because of any informed decision-making, but because we were adopting a specific child that we had met at our first adoption (and his sister). He lived in Kazakhstan, ergo we went to Kazakhstan.

So three adoptions under my belt, and international every one of them. One would think I am a dyed-in-the-wool international advocate, yes?

Not neccessarily.

I think I'm done growing my family, but I'm not certain. This book is not closed. Well, it's closed, but the pages are marked with a bookmark.

If I ever decide to add more children to my family, perhaps it would be a good idea for me to compare international and domestic adoptions in a pros and cons format to see which comes out on top.

Let's see what we got......

International
Kids are in orphanages.
They don't do well in orphanages.
There are institutional delays and attachment difficulties and poor supervision.
Sometimes kids don't get the medical treatment they need.
Sometimes kids die.

Domestic
Kids are in foster homes.
They don't do well in foster homes.
There are delays and attachment difficulties and poor supervision.
Sometimes kids don't get the medical treatment they need.
Sometimes kids die.


International
The kids usually have histories that include abuse, abandonment, neglect, trauma.

Domestic
The kids usually have histories that include abuse, abandonment, neglect, trauma.


International
When you bring your child home from overseas, the ties are cut. The only relatives the parents need concern themselves with are Aunt Becky and Grampa Joe.
This is both a pro and a con. For no matter how much we embrace our child's birth culture, his biological family is generally gone forever, leaving the child with a pit in his heart that all the culture camps in the world could never hope to fill.

Domestic
When you adopt domestically, you may or may not have obligations to allow the child visitations with biological relatives.
This is both a pro and a con. While it's great in theory for the child to keep ties with relatives and keep connected to her former life, it can be a an emotional rollercoaster for her to visit back and forth with the father that just got out of jail, the maternal grandmother who whispers in her ear that she will come to get her and bring her back.


International
Sometimes? The child is placed for adoption for the wrong reasons.
Sometimes? The child ends up in a situation less desirable than his birth family. Less desirable than the orphanage.

Domestic
Sometimes? The child is placed for adoption for the wrong reasons.
Sometimes? The child ends up in a situation less desirable than her birth family. Less desirable than the foster home.



International
There are many costs associated with adopting a child from overseas.


Domestic
There are many costs associated with adopting an infant from the US. There are few costs associated with adopting a child from the foster care system.

Any and all adoption costs are but a drop in the bucket when compared with the costs of raising a child.


International
The child's culture, ethnicity, and possibly race may be different than that of the adoptive parents. Could the parents ever truly love such a child?

Domestic
The child's culture, ethnicity, and possibly race may be different than that of the adoptive parents. Could the parents ever truly love such a child?

Having experienced parenting children both born to me and adopted, I can say without reservation that parents can and do love children equally, whether blood related or not, whether the child has almond-shaped eyes or brown skin or speaks a different language. The only people who even suggest that parents could not love an adopted child "as their own" are people who have never adopted. The thought, to me, to any adoptive parent, is preposterous.


International
If adopted, the child could...
Be raised in a family.
Love.
Be loved.
Stop wondering what's wrong with them, stop questioning why no one wants them.
Reach their potential.
Have hope.
Feel comfort.
Feel the tenderness of a parent's embrace warm their soul.

Domestic
If adopted, the child could...
Be raised in a family.
Love.
Be loved.
Stop wondering what's wrong with them, stop questioning why no one wants them.
Reach their potential.
Have hope.
Feel comfort.
Feel the tenderness of a parent's embrace warm their soul.


So as to the questions:
International?
Domestic?
Adopt?
Foster?













I don't know. I don't have all the answers. Or even most of them.

The only answer I have is that if I end up adopting another child, be he from China or Kazakhstan or the good ol' U S of A, whether her skin is black or brown or white, whether she have 10 fingers and 10 toes or 8 fingers and 9 toes or an elbow coming out of her ear, I will love her. I will cherish her. I will make her feel like she matters.

And isn't THAT... all that matters?






No matter where you stand on the issue of international vs domestic adoption vs no adoptions at all, I still value your vote either way. Thanks for dropping by, thanks for clicking ths button.
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6 comments:

Kelly said...

Great post. We adopted from foster care and I have a heart and burden for foster children and any and all children we ever adopt will be from foster care. BUT I love international adoption too. Adoption is adoption. Giving love and family to a child who otherwise would not have that.

It doesn't matter the details surrounding the adoption the end results are the same... Unconditional love for a child not born of your flesh. Nothing could be more beautiful and fulfilling than that.

farmbeachgal said...

Thanks Kelly. I will definitely be fostering someday. Sadly, I have to wait till my oldest is 18, but that's only a year and a half away at this point. Have you ever read Hope's Boy?

Miss Meg said...

I was wondering if I could use your international vs domestic chart for an upcoming info meeting that I'm trying to put together. Of course, I'd reference you and the blog!! Not sure exactly when it's going to go down, but I can give you more details via email if you'd like. I just thought you put it together really well!!

farmbeachgal said...

Absolutely, Meg. Hope it's helpful for you!

Miss Meg said...

You rock! Thanks! As an adoption counselor, adoptee, AND foster parent recruiter, this international vs domestic thing is something I talk about all. the. time. But, you talked about it much better :) We (one of my adoptive families and I) are putting together an info meeting for those families at the VERY beginning of deciding which path they want to take. Thanks for sharing your list with them!

farmbeachgal said...

No Meg, YOU rock! You are connecting families with the children who need them. What could be more important than that? Glad I can play a small part. Btw, I just realized you had a blog and it's awesome! I added it to my blog list.

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