Sunday, February 10, 2013

Choosing a Country for our International Adoption

We knew we needed to choose the country before the agency, since not all agencies work in all countries. For us, it was very important that we feel an affinity to the culture and environment of the country.

We want it to be a place that we would like to travel in, and one we would go back to. This way we could make the culture a part of our child’s life, because it is very important to  maintain a connection to one’s identity and heritage. So, after a lot of thought and discussion, we shortlisted the countries we were most interested in, which for the most part consisted of Latin American countries, or Asian countries.

My husband is most interested in adopting from Latin America, as he really likes the cultures, language, and environment there. Probably due to my experience as a child, when I was friends with a little girl adopted from Korea, I would like to adopt from somewhere in Asia.

However, many countries in Asia are closed right now, such as Thailand, Vietnam and Nepal. And other countries are closed to us due to application requirements, such as Haiti requires we be married 10 years but we were married in 2009. So, slowly, these barriers cut the list down for us until just three countries remained: 1) Ecuador, 2) El Salvador, 3) Taiwan.

We have contacted over 20 agencies now. Not all work with expats living abroad. We also called each one the phone to speak with them and interview them. We wanted to get a feel for their professionalism, as we know this may be one of the most important relationships of our lives! Our agency will either make or break our entire experience. It is a bit like going on a blind-date. You call this stranger and begin to ask questions, and soon feel the need to make a run for the door. With one agency, we felt we were talking to a 16 year old valley girl “Oh my God! Yes, you can totally, like, adopt a kiddo from there."

Cut.

So, slowly we cut the list down and down until just two agencies were left standing: 1) Illien Adoptions International, and 2) HeartSent Adoptions. Illien has a program in both El Salvador and Ecuador, and HeartSent has one in Taiwan. They both are very responsive by email (an important factor for us), seem professional, and didn’t just tell us what we wanted to hear but told us the facts.

So, now to choose amongst these…

Image CC licence from Flickr: Some rights reserved by grbenching

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