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International adoption into a non-vax family...medical records...small home...

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

I have been browsing some related threads here but can't find exactly what I'm looking for so I'm hoping I can get some help with this by just asking directly.  Sorry if some of these are silly questions!  Bear with me, I'm very new to this all!!!


My husband and I have been praying about adoption.  We've always been very open to it but it's really been on our hearts lately so we are just beginning looking into it more.  Of course, we can't afford it on our own.  We have looked into several adoption aid programs, but are there any that people here have experience with and/or recommend?


My big question though is that because we are a non-vax'ing family (none for my children, I was fully vaxed until college, and DH is *mostly* up to date, being a paramedic), will that hurt our chances?  (and the other way around, will it put us on some sort of radar since the US isn't very friendly toward non-vax families??)  I understand we may be required to vax and continue vax'ing our adopted child.  While I hate that, I feel like I would rather proceed with the vaccinations if it means being able to offer the child a safe, loving family in a healthy home.  That said, though, even if we're required to continue vax'ing, is it possible to override that with a medical exemption of sorts? (I'm not even sure of the validity of "exemptions" for adoption so sorry if that's a dumb question!)  While we rarely go to an actual doctor (each of my children have only been once or twice, and only for the paper trail...more on that in a second), she is very much against blanket vaccinations and said that if we ever needed a medical exemption, she could absolutely find a reason for one.  I'm assuming she could do the same for our adopted child (and for all I know, there may really be a serious medical need to delay/avoid vax's for the child who comes home with us), but do "they" even allow that?


And  on that note, as far as medical stuff, even when needed we don't "see" a doctor.  My FIL is an MD (and my MIL an RN turned naturopath) and they live across the road from us, so if we ever need anything we just go straight to them.  Will our lack of medical records harm our chances?  Is there anything health-related I should be aware of?


Lastly, unrelated to the medical aspect, we live in a fairly small farm house. (no indoor pets though)  Tons of outdoor space (34 acres of it LOL) but our house is only 1200 sq ft- 3br 1bath.  I obviously haven't looked into this much, but how much does that play into the picture?  Right now we only use 2 rooms for sleeping and they are small (about 12x12), the other is an office/schoolroom. (ack...while I'm on that note, there isn't any issue with homeschooling adopted children, is there?  My aunt has done it for years but I've never given it much thought until I just wrote that)  Anyway, our 3 children "share" one bedroom though they co-sleep a lot.  Would we have to utilize every room as a "bedroom" in order to meet requirements?  Pretty sure our state is 4 children per room (so 2 bunk beds works perfectly, actually).  Do they go by that?


Thanks to anyone who took the time to read this and a HUGE thanks to anyone who takes the time to answer! LOL  Again, I apologize if my questions are redundant or just plain dumb. ;)  We have only JUST begun looking into this stuff and it's sort of overwhelming, and a lot of my specific concerns aren't mainstream enough to make easily accessible info!!

Edited by 1babysmom - 11/3/12 at 4:51pm
post #2 of 15

The vast majority of adoptive parents I know homeschool.



Rooms vary by state for legal requirements and your caseworker for your homestudy will determine how many children you would be approved for.


Would love to hear more about the vax issue as well.  I know that there are a couple of countries that require you to be vaxxed against certain things, I think it was South Africa and somewhere in the middle east, which neither is where we would go to anyway. 

post #3 of 15

We have a similar situation, homeschool, delayed limited vaxing, bigger home, but you have to remember that people in 900 sqf apartments adopt... some social workers might say no based on their personal judgment, but honestly, as long as you have a stable home, meet qualifications federally for your income it is very unlikely you wouldn't be able to adopt.


As for bedrooms it might be different in your state, but in ours they only require that the adopted child have a "bed" of their own stated in the homestudy. Our social worker asked at our latest meeting if they all still had their own bed... (yes)... when I asked what would happen if we co-slept she said that it didn't matter and would be out of her hands, but she likes to make note of it as that is what our state would require to show that they had a space of their own in our home. Does that make sense? Feel like I can't clarify that well... but we could have x amount of children in one room... as long as they all had their own beds... 


You just have to find the agency that is willing to work with you.


Additionally at the embassy (to get our kids visas) we had to sign a form saying we'd continue appropriate vax's but I think once your child is fully adopted by you they are your's in all senses... you can make those choices for them to your best judgment and preference. What are they going to do if we didn't vax? They are legally our child. 


There really is very few true limitations or requirements to adopt... mainly that you are above poverty line by I think 125%... (is that right?), that your background is clear of any criminal issues (or that they are in your past)... and that you are healthy.

post #4 of 15

Oh (parental vaxes) ... We traveled to an area known for  deadly diseases... we only vaxed for Yellow Fever and took malaria meds while there... but some people don't even do that, depending on like a pregnancy or something... they take other procautions... but I think most other nations don't even have required travel vaxes that a parent would have to get. 

Best wishes! 

post #5 of 15

Here are the income requirements and they do include assets as part of your income... http://reecesrainbow.org/new-family/income-requirements


China has their own income requirements.

post #6 of 15
There are lots of children right here in the US who need homes. Plucking a child from his/her homeland if you speak with adoptees who are living these scenarios is very difficult as they lose the connection to their culture, and the years of separation from it make it impossible for them to integrate back into it. The language is lost, the family is lost and they are forever caught in a life of 'in between'. Here is a link for all the children in TX that are waiting for much needed homes. http://corsicanadailysun.com/news/x1501146821/Kids-awaiting-adoption-hope-parents-can-see-beyond-one-abandoned-infant

Here is a link to help open your eyes to the corruption of the international adoptions in just one country....google the country you were looking for to get the full disclosure of what international adoption is doing to these countries. It is very sad.

Your intentions are good, don't let the industry pull the wool over you eyes for them to make a buck, or really....a LOT of bucks.
post #7 of 15

Oh, I missed your original question about fundraising. There is a book called Adopting without Debt that is supposed to be good.


If you are open to children with special needs you could take a look at Reece's Rainbow. (Some of these children's "culture" consists of wasting away all day in cribs and no domestic family has been found for them.)


If you are looking for Christian resources, pm me and I'll let you know what we've found so far. 

post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone!  You have no idea how much I appreciate all of this info!!

Yes, we are definitely looking for Christian resources!!

And we are open to adopting from the U.S. as well, but my husband has really just been feeling called to looking into it internationally, and I trust that God has a reason for that. :)  We'd love to give ANY child a safe, loving family.  It doesn't matter where they are from.  But I'm just following his lead on this for right now. :)  I will gladly check out your links, though!! 


Ideally, we'd love to adopt more than one child over the course of time.  We've always known we'd adopt at some point but it's just really been on our hearts lately, sooner than we'd expected. :)

post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 

Oh, and that income list is great- exactly what we were wondering.  We don't make a ton of money, but we do meet that...though not by much. (DH is raising his cert's this next year though, so we should make a little more after that)  But we have no consumer debt, either (just finishing paying off my emergency medical bills, but we don't buy things unless we can afford them right then and there).  And our families are amazing and would be thrilled to help us with this process.

post #10 of 15

We just got back from picking up our daughter in Th@#land.  We have also adopted domestically.  We have two biological children, homeschool, co-sleep and selectively vaccinate.  You will have no problem adopting.  Go for it!  We have been so blessed by adoption!  Just research until you find the right agency and country for your family.  All have different requirements.  You will have to get everyone physicals but can't your FIL sign off on those?  They just have to be done by an MD.  Don't volunteer the vaccinating info unless they ask and only go with a homestudy agency who doesn't care about it.  They vary greatly in their requirments regardless of the countries requirements. 


We did our international adoption through: http://www.adoptionadvocates.org/  We recommend them highly and their fees are so much more reasonable than most.


Our domestic adoption was done through a local Christian agency that we highly recommend but you have to live in our state to use them.


I would also adopt through http://holtinternational.org/


Let me know if you would like a link and password to our blog of our travels to our daughter. 

post #11 of 15

Don't write off international adoption.  All children need homes.  I was just in country and our daughter had no future where she was.  Please go with your heart!  All children need homes regardless of where they are.  Do your research carefully!

post #12 of 15

The minimum standards for adoptive parents are listed here for each country: http://adoption.state.gov/ They each have different rules about income, age, number of children, adoptive parents health/disability, etc. (The min. standards for adopting from fostercare are here: http://www.adoptuskids.org/for-families/who-can-foster-and-adopt )


Specifically regarding vaccinations... it may or may not be an issue. If it is an issue, it's only until the child is legally adopted. After adoption, the child is legally your child and whatever laws apply to natural-born children also apply to adopted children. What I'm saying is that you will likely need to let them vaccinate the child you seek to adopt and you may have to provide documentation that either your current children are vaxed or that they have immunity to specific diseases, but after the adoption is finalized you can go back to whatever vax status you want.


I love you you wrote: "I understand we may be required to vax and continue vax'ing our adopted child. While I hate that, I feel like I would rather proceed with the vaccinations if it means being able to offer the child a safe, loving family in a healthy home."

I think that's a very mature and healthy way to approach the issue. Whatever your perceived risk of vaccination, it's unlikely to be as risky to a child as the circumstances that made them adoptable. Except in the cases of domestic infant adoptions, adoptable children (either in the US or abroad) face many more risks if left in orphanages, group homes, or foster homes. These children are harmed physically and emotionally everyday they don't have permanency.


About ethics: At the website I listed above you can also find out which countries are part of the Hague Convention. I suggest that you only adopt from countries that have agreed to the Hague Convention. That will help avoid some of the ethical problems Lynn mentioned. Again, you will also want to do more research. I'd also suggest that you refuse to work with any adoption agency that isn't Hague accredited.


Here is another resource about ethical adoption: http://www.ethicanet.org/ They have closed but the website is still up with tons of valuable information. Check it out.


About the size of your house: that will likely be a factor. Different rules apply for different situations but generally speaking, each child must have his or her own bed and dresser. The rooms must have window or way of escaping from fire. They can share a room but should only share with the same gender, generally speaking. Those are just rough guidelines. You will need to talk to the agency about specifics for the adoption you're considering.


About your health: You probably just need to visit a doctor once or twice to get a physical exam and be declared "fit". Unless you have serious medical conditions, there shouldn't be an issue with this.


 You will likely need to travel to the country yourself in person and in that case you may want to vaccinate yourself. In industialized contries with good healthcare and hygeine we needn't fear most vaccine-preventable diseases and so choosing not to vax is not a huge risk. But many of the countries that you'd likely consider adopting a child from are not like that. In those places, a vaccine could literally save your life. Do just do the research about the country you're interested in adopting from.


About schooling: Whatever you choose should not be aproblem so long as you have proper documentation. If you're following the law for your natural-born children then you probably won't have anything to worry about in regards to an international adoption. And just as in the case of vaccinations, after adoption the children are legally the same as natural-born children. So even if there's a school requirement in place before adoption that requirement won't stay put after adoption. The only requirements after adoption are that you follow the same laws you have to follow for your natural-born children. Say for instance you chose to adopt from fostercare and you want to foster the child before adoption, you'd probably have to put/keep them in brick and mortar school until the adoption was finalized. But after that, you could homeschool.


You may want to start teaching yourself and your other children the native language for your chosen country. Many adoptive families learn the language of the country they adopt from in order to preserve some of the adopted child's culture and also to make the transition easier for the adopted child.


About money: There are lots of ways to fundraise for an adoption. There was just recently a new book on the subject called Adoption Without Debt. You may also want to search these forums because the topic has come up before.


Alternatively, remember that adoption from US fostercare is usually very inexpensive or free.


Good luck on your journey and keep us posted!

post #13 of 15

Having just been through this process, I can tell you that a lot depends on which state you live in and from which country you will be adopting.  I can only tell you about our experience, but I will try to answer your questions.  We do not vax at all, however, we adopted an older child from atrocious conditions in an Eastern European orphanage.  She was given some vaccinations before adoption, and we continue them at home because she was malnourished and neglected.  I feel comfortable not vaxing my bio daughter because she was exclusively breastfed until she was 9 months old, and then continued to BF until she was 2 and a half.  She has a strong natural immune system.  Our adopted daughter was not so lucky, so I feel confident vaccination is best for her.


Cost:  We adopted through Reece's Rainbow.  You must be open to some level of special need, since that is who they list, but often the special needs are much less than what is written in their file.  For instance, our daughter was listed as having Cerebral Palsy.   That is not true at all. 


Adopting internationally versus domestically:  follow your heart.


Size of home:  The size of the home doesn't matter, but you must be able to show that an adopted child would not share a room with a child of the opposite gender.  Homeschooling is fine.


Doctor's visits:  For our country we (parents) had to have blood tests that prove we do not have HIV.  We also had to have a signed, notarized letter from our insurance provider stating that we currently had health insurance and any adopted children would be covered under our policy.  (Funnily enough, after providing that letter our insurance company sent a letter stating our rates would go up.  Coincidence?  Not likely!!)


As far as continuing the culture of our daughter's homeland -- we try.  However, all she experienced of her "homeland" was one building, with drab walls, porridge for meals 3 times a day, and no books in the entire orphanage. They never celebrated any national holidays.  So we are not KEEPING her in touch with her heritage, we are CREATING it for her.


Most of all, she is dearly loved. 

post #14 of 15
Love the thought that you are creating a cultural heritage for you child! It is true.

I know many people who have aged out of an orphanage who struggle to even greater degrees with identity issues... (We know several.) Most of them feel just as lost culturally, in the culture they reside in. Why? They don't have a family, who creates and defines culture for them. Some post orphanage stats state that a majority of young adults either commit suicide, are incarcerated or that girls have a baby on her own or enter prostitution with in two years of leaving an orphanage.

One of our dear friends works with a post institutional program for young adults who have aged out, the biggest need that they have is basic skills, learning things most of our 7 yos know like how to make your own food. One young man he worked with went to "driver school" and graduated never even having sat behind a wheel... He taught him how to drive, like a dad would.

I think it is very easy to have a rosy view of institutional life, or to just see the negatives in IA... It is a hard road, but these kids will have a hard road, no matter which they walk on.

I never know what to do with those that say that international adoption isn't ok because a child has loss of heratage... family is really one of the only things that creates and carries on cultural traditions. What is culture with out family?

I agree that IA must be THE last resort... And should never be done for anything but the child's needs... But to say all IA are flawed and harmful for a child is forgetting the primary need and right of every child to be raised by an adult/family who will love, care and provide for them, first I their birth culture and then outside it if need be.
Edited by Marcimama - 11/8/12 at 12:40pm
post #15 of 15

Marcimama-I completely agree.  Orphanage culture is not their countries culture, even at the best of orphanages.

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