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#1 of 27 Old 02-23-2003, 08:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Dh and I always said that if were going to have children we would adopt. Well, we had Tracy. So, I've been bugging him about wanting another baby. It's not so much about literally having them but its having another baby in the house. A sibling for Tracy and a person to bring our family together. (ya know what I mean) We are in no position to adopt any time soon. But I'm still dreaming about the time we are able to. I guess I've realized in the last couple days that its having a baby and it doens't matter how that baby gets here.

What was your experience like with adoption? Was it through an agency? How is the best way to go about getting started? Tell me whatever info you feel like typing!

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#2 of 27 Old 02-24-2003, 10:55 AM
 
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Um...it's really hard to answer a vague post like this. What kind of adoption are you thinking of - domestic or international? Are you thinking of an older child or a toddler or an infant? How many years from now are you planning this?

I will tell you my experience: I have a daughter, now 2 1/2, that DH and I adopted from Vietnam, and we are in process to adopt another child from China. The process for Vietnam was relatively quick - within 6 months of submitting our paperwork to the Vietnamese authorities, we were home with a beautiful 3-month-old baby girl in our arms. Vietnam adoptions to the U.S. and Canada have pretty much stopped right now but will probably restart within the year.

The process for China is quite a bit longer and our child will be much older when she comes home. The process takes about 14-16 months from submitting paperwork and our child will probably be 10-12 months old. We'll only have to stay in China for 2 weeks, however. And, as most people know, there are many more girls than boys available for adoption in China, due to cultural reasons.

Although we chose to build our family through international adoption, there are many children available through private domestic adoption (this gets you a newborn) and foster care (usually gets you a toddler or older child). There are many options out there. Your best bet is to start thinking about what you really want and start researching your options to narrow it down a little. Try www.adoption.com or www.adopting.com to get started.
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#3 of 27 Old 02-24-2003, 12:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I know the post was vague...sorry. It was vague cause I wasn't sure what to ask. I'm not really sure about the process or options or anything. Thats why I neede info. I have cousins adopted from Korea. But they arrived as 5 or 6 month olds and are now 17 and 14. So, I don't think the process is still the same.

We haven't started talking about domestic or international. I guess we have a lot of "work" cut out for us

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#4 of 27 Old 02-24-2003, 01:25 PM
 
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In general, the process goes something like this: you decide what you are interested in: domestic/international, transracial/same race as you and Dh, boy/girl, infant/older, etc. It sounds a bit like a shopping list, but you have to decide what you can handle and what kind of child is best for your family. Where is your heart calling you? Are you drawn to the children in foster care in your own country, or to the children in orphanages in a foreign country? This is where surfing the adoption sites online comes in very handy - you'll get a chance to learn about the different options available.

Once you have a reasonable idea of what you want - maybe not narrowed down to country or a specific child, but at least to know whether you want domestic or international, infant or older child - then you contact an agency and they'll help walk you through the next steps. There will be a homestudy, where a social worker conducts some interviews to determine if you and DH are fit parents, if you have the income and living space to accommodate another child, etc. This can be more or less rigorous, depending on where you live. The homestudy will also (hopefully) walk you through issues such as, do you want to be a transracial family? Can you cope with a child who has experienced abuse or institutionalization? Then you pay agencies and lawyers and INS a bunch of money, and settle down to wait for the phone call that your child is waiting for you.

That's a simplified version, but you get the idea.
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#5 of 27 Old 02-24-2003, 01:29 PM
 
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Like Dragon, we also adopted internationally. We have a five year old and a two year old, both from China.

I agree with Dragon, you need to do a little basic research about what type of adoption you want to do. They are all different, with different pros and cons.

Pick up a copy or two of Adoptive Families magazine at your local bookstore. That's a good way to start familiarizing yourself with some of the issues.

If you decide that you want to look into international adoption, the first "biggie" is deciding on the country you wish to adopt from. They all have different requirements. Some countries have driteria on adoptive parents ages, incomes, religions, marital status, number of prior marriages, health, etc., so you need to find a country where you'll be qualified. I would recommend getting a copy of the Report on International Adoptions, from ICC. http://www.iccadopt.org/order.php
It is inexpensive, and it lists most of the agencies with international programs, agency restrictions, costs, etc. Also be aware that international adoption can change very quickly--programs open and shut, speed up or slow down, etc.
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#6 of 27 Old 02-24-2003, 01:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks ladies! At least now I know how to start. I told dh we would talk about it again in abotu 6 months. That way he can decide how he feels. In the meantime I'll do the research so I can give him more specific information. I think the biggest thing for us is going to be able to afford it. Which is sad but still a big issue.

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#7 of 27 Old 02-24-2003, 02:27 PM
 
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its_our_family,

If you adopt through the foster care system, it can be free or nearly free (depending on your local system). You can also be eligible for a subsidy if your child will need ongoing medical treatment or therapy. If you are interested in doing this type of adoption, your local department of child and family services can tell you about the costs in your area.

International adoptions and private adoptions are obviously much more expensive. I'll speak to international costs, since that's what I know best. Some countries are much less expensive than others. Adoption from Haiti is relatively inexpensive--under $10,000, while other countries are much more. Some countries allow independent adoption (no agency) which can be cheaper, but you need to do lots of research. There are many people involved in providing required services for international adoptions, social workers, homestudy providers, agency personnel etc., who need to be paid. There are also travel costs, INS fees, paperwork costs, orphanage fees and the like.

The good news is that there is an adoption tax credit of $10,000 that you can take once the adoption is finalized, but of course, you do have to have the money to put out in the first place.

If this is something your family truly is committed to do, you'll find a way to make it happen.
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#8 of 27 Old 02-24-2003, 02:29 PM
 
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Things might be way different now, but my parents adopted my sister 16 years ago and the governement subsidized the costs. Basically, my parents paid on a sliding scale based on their income, and the government picked up the rest of the bill. The requirement was that they adopt a child/baby with "special needs." At that time, biracial children were all but impossible to place, so my sister was considered "special needs" because her biological father was black and her bio.mother was white. Seemed kind of sad, I know. But the result was that my wonderful sister was added to my family as an infant and it cost my parents about $1K our of pocket.

If you are interested, they went through a Christian agency called "Bethany Christian Services" located in Annapolis, MD. That is not too far from you, I don't think.
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#9 of 27 Old 02-24-2003, 03:08 PM
 
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We looked into doing a private (agency) domestic transracial adoption. It certainly would not hve been free or low cost. The advantage is that there was a somewhat shorter waiting period than if we were looking to adopt a caucasian infant through a private adoption.

There are not a lot of healthy infants of any race being placed for adoption these days. The infants that are placed tend to be born drug addicted or have other genuine special needs.

One thing I would stress--use a lot of care when selecting an agency. Many of them will give you information when you casually inquire, or hold free introductory seminars. Those are often good places to start. But don't sign anything until you've really investigated the agency and talked to a lot of their clients and not just the names they supply.
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#10 of 27 Old 02-24-2003, 03:12 PM
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IOF, what about talking with your parents and their adoption of Russian orphans? Sounds like they are super knowledgable and maybe it could be awesome if you all adopted from the orphanage!

At least you'd be able to get to know the orphan before you decided one way or another.

Good luck!
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#11 of 27 Old 02-24-2003, 04:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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They are still looking into the adoption thing. I'm not exactly sure where they are in it though. I should probably ask. As far as I know they are still doing it. I hope they do......

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#12 of 27 Old 02-24-2003, 05:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just talked to my mom. She said that the agency stopped placing children at the end of the year. I asked if they were going to look into it anyway through a different agency but I haven't heard back from her.

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#13 of 27 Old 02-24-2003, 05:26 PM
 
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As an adoptive mother and adoption advocate I wanted to say a few things that are different than some of the other posters.

One if you are looking into doing a domestic private or agency adoption it could be quite difficult if you do not suffer from infertility. There are thousands of waiting couples who cannot physically have children waiting for a child. You already have a biological child, during the homestudy they will question your motives about wanting to adopt since you have no infertility issues and already have a bio child. For the record, saying you want to save a child that needs a home is not a good answer to most social workers.
When you adopt, they look up your butt crack. They will ask you all about your parenting. Some social workers frown upon cosleeping, homeschooling, and if you dont vaccinate -- well that could be a legal issue. We actually had to sign a form saying we would vaccinate our child with any necessary vaccinations. I also had to "shop" for agencies with social workers who did not frown upon cosleeping and homeschooling not to mention adoptive breastfeeding.
Adoption can be wonderful, but adoption is about loss. The child and birthparents lose each other. There are many issues that will continue for that childs entire life about that loss, whether this be a domestic or international adoption.
Frankly, unless you are going to do a foster to adopt adoption you shuold just have another biological child if you are able. Adoption is a long roller coaster of emotions and finances, for domestic or international. Its not something to be done because you think its cool, think you are going to save a child, or just because it seems like the right thing to do.
I'm not saying these things to discourage you, but to give you a brief reality into the process.
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#14 of 27 Old 02-24-2003, 05:33 PM
 
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I wanted to say something about adopting children from Russia. Before adopting a child from Russia you need to ask yourself some serious questions. Are you able to parent a child that can have serious long term special needs? The majority of the children coming out of Russia have fetal alcohol effects or fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, not to mention RAD. Many of these special needs are invisible. A child may look healthy but their brains are messed up.
I am parenting a child who has fetal alchohol effects and it has not been easy. Its not like parenting a normal child. He has violent temper tantrums, tries to hurt himself, not to mention an array of other problems. I wouldnt trade him for the world, he is a beautiful healthy and smart child. However some kids with FAS/FAE are not so lucky and have severe learning disabilities and mental retardation. I speak at adoption meetings and conventions and talk to parents all over the US, many adopt from Russia because they want white children -- they often get a rude awakening to see many of the toddlers they adopt have attachment disorders and suffere from FASD. Women in Russia drink like fishes, even while pregnant, this is a sad truth. Also many Russian orphans are not being cared for in the best way.
Russian orphans need homes, however most couples adopting from there are not made aware of the potential problems these children have or they are sugar coated. This does everyone an injustice.
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#15 of 27 Old 02-24-2003, 05:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My parents had already been given the run down of such things. But now the agency is closed. So, I don't know what they are going to do.

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#16 of 27 Old 02-24-2003, 06:58 PM
 
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It's_our_framiliy, there are a million agencies that do Russian adoptions, so if your parents are really interested in adopting, they should have no problem finding another agency.

I've read a lot of research about Russian adoptions, and I've never heard anything that would support the notion that "the majority" of the children adopted from Russia have FAE or FAS or RAD. Certainly these disorders exist and should be investigated, but there are also many, many children who do not have these problems, and there are many parents who are happy with the outcomes of their adoptions. I know dozens of them.

There are many places where you can get a feel for the health of children adopted from Russia. If you have local international adoption support group, I'm sure they would welcome questions. Check out the discussion boards at Families for Russian and Ukrainian Adoption (www.frua.org) or join the Eastern European Adoption Coalition http://eeadopt.org/ Get in touch with as many people who have actually adopted from Russia as you can so you can see the spectrum of experiences that people have had.

I disagree with the advice that you should just forget about adoption unless you are infertile. Adoption is another way to form a family and you do not have to be infertile to adopt. I know lots of families with both biological and adopted children, with fertile parents who have chosen adoption over additional births.

I do agree with OnTheFence about some things--you aren't likely to do a private domestic adoption if you aren't infertile. And the homestudy process is a pain, and it's intrusive. You will want to shop around to find a homestudy social worker who is a good fit for you--there's nothing wrong with that. Adoption is absolutely not about "saving a child." And yes, there will be "issues" that you and your child will have to deal with surrounding the adoption. However, it can be immeasurably enriching and rewarding. I am infertile. I honestly thank God every day for my infertility as it brought me my two incredible daughters.
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#17 of 27 Old 02-24-2003, 08:29 PM
 
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<<There are many places where you can get a feel for the health of children adopted from Russia. If you have local international adoption support group, I'm sure they would welcome questions. Check out the discussion boards at Families for Russian and Ukrainian Adoption (www.frua.org) or join the Eastern European Adoption Coalition http://eeadopt.org/ Get in touch with as many people who have actually adopted from Russia as you can so you can see the spectrum of experiences that people have had.>>

90% of the women in Russia drink while pregnant. 90%. That is a huge number. The alchohol they drink is far stronger than what we drink here in the US. I also know people who are happy with their Russian adoptions, but this doesnt dismiss that the majority of the children are coming out of there with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. This can range from ADD and ADHD to something more severe. ADHD is one of the secondary effect to FASD, most people are uneducated are unaware of that, however most children adopted out of the Ukraine and Russia have ADD/ADHD and show signs of autism spectrum disorder. Unfortunately parents who adopt these children are in the complete dark about their child's medical and prenatal background, and once they are home they see any of the above problems in "normal" children and dismiss it as having nothing to do with anything else (FASD. RAD)
<<I disagree with the advice that you should just forget about adoption unless you are infertile. Adoption is another way to form a family and you do not have to be infertile to adopt. I know lots of families with both biological and adopted children, with fertile parents who have chosen adoption over additional births.>>

I didnt mean it that way at all. I have a mixed family of bio and an adopted child. Adoption is a way to create a family but when you are not infertile that does goes against you in adoption, especially private or agency adoptions. I know it can even go against you for some international adoptions (though at this time I cannot recall which countries). Adoption is also costly, far more costly than having a biological child.(minus adopting through the state) Even with the tax credit you are not even touching the expenses. Most social workers would question why you would spend thousands and thousands of dollars to adopt when you could make a baby the old fashion way, and with good reason in my opinion. Adopting through social services is something totally different, those children are in NEED of homes and dont have thousands of couples waiting to adopt them.
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#18 of 27 Old 02-24-2003, 08:31 PM
 
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Efmom,

I am currently reading Adoption Nation. Have you read this? Its an excellent book and an adoption board I am on is discussing it. It talks about some of the things we are discussing here.
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#19 of 27 Old 02-24-2003, 11:05 PM
 
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I'm on a huge e-list for people who have adopted from China. Obviously, with thousands of people on the list, issues like RAD and ADHD come up, although thankfully, alcohol abuse is still pretty rare among rural women in China, so FAE isn't much of an issue.

There are a handful of families on this list who have had serious problems with their children, such as RAD. These people are convinced that most, if not all, children adopted from China have attachment problems. They will flatly tell anyone who states that their child is fine that they are "in denial," just haven't had the problem manifest itself yet, or are liars. They are very angry and very militant about it. I think that if you are struggling with such a serious issue yourself, it is very hard not to generalize your family's situation to everyone else's.

Certainly alcoholism is much more common in Eastern European countries and I agree that many birthmothers drink during pregnancy. While I don't advocate drinking during pregnancy, I'm old enough to remember the days when doctors didn't tell pg women here to stop drinking.

Not all children born of women who drink have FAE/FAS. As an example, I'm one of six children, whose mother drank and smoked during all of her pregnancies. All six of us are college graduates, with four of us having advanced degrees. FAE/FAS are real and they are devastating. I've just never seen any evidence that MOST kids adopted from EE have it. But, there are plenty of places that people who are interested in adoption can go to form their own opinions, without getting panicked about it.

Children who are living in orphanages in Russia, China, India, Ukraine, Kaz, or any other country are every bit as deserving of having a loving home as children who are in state care in the US. While it might be costly and difficult to adopt them, they can bring an untold amount of joy to the right families.

I have read Adoption Nation, shortly after it first came out. My youngest had just arrived, so my reading was limited to about 2 pages a week. My retention of anything I read during that time is spotty at best!
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#20 of 27 Old 02-25-2003, 02:06 AM
 
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I have to agree with OnThe Fence. It woud probably be easiest and less expensive to do a foster to adopt or international adoption, than agency or private domestic adoption. That said, if you go domestic I suggest an open adoption. We are in contact with dd's birthmom regularly and we'll be going over to her bm's ex's to play with her sister tomorrow. We feel very lucky to have her bm in our lives, in spite of different lifestyles. She loves knowing that her daughter is indeed in a loving home, with tree-huggers like herself.

Since no one else mentioned the adoptive breastfeeding website, I suggest you check it out. Breastfeeding is best for adopted kiddos too! Adoptive Breastfeeding Resource Website
There's info there on foster to adopt breastfeeding also. Good luck on your journey.

BTW Our social worker was very pro-bf'ing, co-sleeping, no vaxing...it depends on who you get. We did an agency (Open Adoption) adoption here in Oregon.
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#21 of 27 Old 02-25-2003, 04:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I was wondering about the bfing issue too. I'm bfing ds and probably will be for a couple more yrs...

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#22 of 27 Old 02-25-2003, 04:22 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by HotMama
I have to agree with OnThe Fence. It woud probably be easiest and less expensive to do a foster to adopt or international adoption, than agency or private domestic adoption. That said, if you go domestic I suggest an open adoption. We are in contact with dd's birthmom regularly and we'll be going over to her bm's ex's to play with her sister tomorrow. We feel very lucky to have her bm in our lives, in spite of different lifestyles. She loves knowing that her daughter is indeed in a loving home, with tree-huggers like herself.


Yes, we are in a totally open adoption but there are no visits at this time. I highly recommend it and think that it is best for the child involved. I wouldnt do it anyother way. I have enjoyed the contact, even at times strained, and have gotten much insight from my sons birthmother.]
I also breastfed Dylan, but due to the FAE it became difficult and I quit when he was 8 weeks old. There is some great information at preciouskids.org on adoptive breastfeeding as well. I was lucky to have a very supportive SW who also was an AP parent.
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#23 of 27 Old 02-25-2003, 05:01 PM
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I have learned a ton from this thread! Thank you, OnTheFence, Hotmama, EF - the issues you all raise are so enlightening and make so much sense. I had not considered the infertility thing before and it totally is reasonable to think that so many families want to adopt and have infertility - why would a family who can have bio children be considered worthy before those families? I think infertile couples need to be given special consideration when compared with families who can just have another baby.

Unless, of course, it social services we're talking about.

Thanks so much for pointing all this out so eloquently. Really interesting stuff. My relatives just adopted a girl from China. They are infertile. It took three years for the entire adoption process to be complete.
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#24 of 27 Old 02-25-2003, 06:24 PM
 
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Originally posted by frogertgrl
I have learned a ton from this thread! Thank you, OnTheFence, Hotmama, EF - the issues you all raise are so enlightening and make so much sense. I had not considered the infertility thing before and it totally is reasonable to think that so many families want to adopt and have infertility - why would a family who can have bio children be considered worthy before those families? I think infertile couples need to be given special consideration when compared with families who can just have another baby.

I think many couples just look at adoption as something you just do, instead of a process that takes great commitment. I would say adoption was a much bigger commitment than any pregnancy I had and much more emotional. Having someone hand you a baby they just gave birth to ripped my gut out, it was a bitter sweet moment.
I am of the thought that infertile couples should get preference when adopting babies. Now having three children, two bio children, it would be extremely difficult for us to do a domestic adoption like the one we did two and a half years ago. I am in no way against international adoption and in fact would love to adopt from China, but I think many people dont realize the need we have for families to adopt right out of our state foster care system. The process can be difficult at times but it is free and those children are just as in need of homes as those children in other lands. Unfortunately the media makes adopting from the state look horrific and terrible, instead of a great way to create a family.
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#25 of 27 Old 02-25-2003, 06:30 PM
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I hear you, OnTheFence. I had the same question for my relatives in their adoption process, but I never asked it as that would be rude. But I wondered alot about why they didn't adopt domestically and could only come up with 1. it's very popular to adopt girls from China, especially among Xian couples in my relatives' church and 2. the DH of my relative has a sex conviction, which probably would come up in a domestic adoption investigation.

Thanks again for your amazing knowledge.
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#26 of 27 Old 02-25-2003, 08:28 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by frogertgrl
I hear you, OnTheFence. I had the same question for my relatives in their adoption process, but I never asked it as that would be rude. But I wondered alot about why they didn't adopt domestically and could only come up with 1. it's very popular to adopt girls from China, especially among Xian couples in my relatives' church and 2. the DH of my relative has a sex conviction, which probably would come up in a domestic adoption investigation.

Thanks again for your amazing knowledge.
Christian no christian, domestic or not domestic, having a sex conviction should have caused them to fail the homestudy. In fact China has some strict policies and had they been aware of this they would not have adopted a child from a known sex offender. I am shocked that this did not turn up for criminal background checks, which are required for all adoptions. This scares the hell out of me that something went by the supposed watchful eyes of a social worker.
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#27 of 27 Old 02-25-2003, 11:29 PM
 
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Re the sex offender relative, I am also shocked. There are several points along the way where this should have been caught. As part of the homestudy, all adults living in the household are required to be fingerprinted (an FBI check) and have a child abuse registry check done. In many localities both of these steps have to happen more than once! We had to have it done multiple times, for the homestudy, for the agency, and for our local court approval. In addition, as part of the homestudy that is submitted to the INS, the social worker has to ask you point blank if you have ever been involved in child abuse, and has to record your answer verbatim. If this part is omitted, you won't get INS approval and thus will not be able to adopt.

I am baffled as to how your relative passed the FBI fingerprint check. Things turn up that people do not expect. Juvenile offenses show up even though records are supposedly sealed or expunged. China does have extremely strict standards about who can adopt their children. A 20 year old DUI, for example, can make it impossible to adopt. Even something like being arrested at a protest march can make it difficult, if not impossible. The Chinese don't give a rat's behind if you are Christian or any other religion or none at all. But they do take a dim view of a criminal record.
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