Resolve.org is sponsoring a “Bust a Myth” blog session for national infertility week. They have several different topics they’d like infertiles to blog about, and I thought I’d try to end some myths about international adoption over the next few days.
Myth #1 It’s easier than domestic adoption
I don’t even know what that means. It. Is. Hard. There is nothing easy about this process. I really could stop there. This affects every aspect of my life. Here are just a few ways:
It is financially difficult
I am lucky to have had a well paying job and to be married to a man who has an even better paying job. We have also lived well within our means for years, but that doesn’t make coming up with close to $40,000 easy. We don’t go out much and we’ve put off some nonessential home improvements so we can save every spare dime possible. There are grants and loans available for people out there, but many of them come with the stipulation that you belong to a specific Christian sect to receive them. Since my husband and I do not belong to a church these resources are not available to us. I realized what I was getting into when we started this process, but that doesn’t make it any easier.
It is emotionally taxing
The thought of my future children currently sitting in an orphanage in tattered clothes without enough food or love kills me every day. I’m on the verge of tears right now thinking about it. Letting strangers in to your house and life to snoop around and decide if you are worthy of being a parent sucks. Getting fingerprinted half a dozen times and then waiting for the results can make a person crazy. Seriously insane. I have been mad at the mail man more in the last two weeks than in my entire life. Like “hold my earrings, Imma fight a man” angry. It’s not his fault that immigration hasn’t gotten back to me, but that doesn’t matter. I am at the end of my rope.
It is time consuming
We started this process last October and we’re still not done. I have completed things as fast as bureaucraticly possible, and it has still taken more than seven months. And that’s just the paperwork on my end. That doesn’t take into account waiting for Ukraine to get its act together and give us a referral. It doesn’t include traveling, court dates, or working with the embassy in Kyiv. Ukraine doesn’t even have close to the longest or most involved adoption process, either. It can take four years just to get on a waiting list for China.
It is more stressful than IVF
Seriously. When we tried IVF the entire thing was over in a month. Yes, it was a terrible month, but a drop in the bucket compared to international adoption. During IVF, I knew well in advance what was to be expected of me every single day. I knew what meds to take and when. I knew when to go to the doctor. I knew when I was having a pregnancy test. I knew that the desired outcome was a baby. I have no idea how old or how many kids I will be getting from Ukraine, let alone when. The process isn’t even over and Ukraine has completely changed the way they do things three times already. There will probably be dozens of other changes between now and bringing my boys home.
So, if by easy, people mean that you don’t have to deal with a birth family, then I guess that is easier, for about two weeks. Neither you nor your child may ever know where they came from or about the trauma that could haunt their dreams and affect their relationships for the rest of their lives. With an international adoption you are not getting a newborn who a birth mother lovingly decided would be better in your care than hers. You are adopting a child who, at least, has spent months in an institution. A child who was probably forcibly removed from his birth family due to abuse or neglect or possibly abandoned at a hospital by a young mother who had no other option. Those things take a toll on a person, no matter how young he is when they happen or how much you love him after adoption.
I’m not trying to discourage international adoption. Obviously, I think this is an amazing, beautiful way to build our family. There really are a lot of children in the world (especially over the age of four) who need stable, loving homes. International adoption is not for the feint of heart, however. It’s for parents who don’t give a rat’s about biology and enjoy filling out senseless paperwork while putting hexes on the mailman.