What i want you to know about adopting from China

What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here. Today’s guest posts is by Carrie.

My husband and I started the process to adopt a child from China in January of 2006. At that time, we were expected to wait about 8-12 months for a referral. While we were getting our paperwork together, the process slowed down. We had no idea, 6 years later, we would still be waiting.

In the beginning, the slow down was listed as a minor hiccup, not to worry. It will pick up again soon. Ok, just a year from now. That's all. No big deal. Just hang in there and it will happen. Not to worry. Just one more year. Just one more year. Just one more year. So, we waited and waited, and waited. We diligently filled out paperwork and did a new home study every 18 months. And paid more money.

Over time, our first agency went bankrupt and we were switched to a new agency. The rules for both China and the US have both changed since we started and everyone I talk to about the topic of what to do next has a different opinion. No one can agree on anything.

Now, the latest is that the US will not allow us to be grandfathered into the old system any more. We've used up our last renewal. Which means if we don't go to China and get home before our INS approval runs out, we can't adopt from China. After all this time. After all this stress. After all this money. And we are tentatively slated to finally be matched in the spring of 2012. In all likelihood, we will miss the deadline by a few short months. After waiting 6 years.

However, I also have to admit, that after 6 years, I'm not so sure I want to adopt from China any more. In the interim, we have been blessed with 2 children through domestic adoption. We have always said we'd like 2, maybe 3 children. So, should we stick with just our 2 darling children or expand to include a lovely Chinese child too? I feel guilty about wanting this child sooo much in 2006 and now I'm not sure. Life has changed a lot in the last 6 years. I'm not worried that a child will go without a home as there are so many people waiting, she'll just find a home some place else.

People have asked us over the years why we haven't switched to the China special needs program? Why are we still waiting? Why haven't we moved on?

Initially, we just believed that our referral was "just around the corner". So we stayed in line. Also, we didn't know we could switch to the special needs program until about 2 years ago. By that time, we had our son and we figured that it didn't hurt to stay in line, so we'd just stay where we were. And after much discussion, we just didn't feel that the special needs program was for us. This doesn't mean that I think the program is wrong or bad, it just didn't meet our needs. We didn't make this decision lightly.

I want you to understand that waiting for 6 years just kind of happens. It wasn't something we planned or ever wanted. Time just passed while we were doing other things.

I also want you to understand that I respect everyone's decision related to adoption. Several times we, as a couple, have sat down and discussed what kind of child we would like to adopt. This is a weird conversation and you both have to be honest. What do you feel like you can handle as person, as a couple, as a family? Don't feel guilty if you don't feel you can accept a certain kind of child. It is ok. I would never, ever tell someone to adopt a certain type of child. It is a very personal decision. We have done what we feel is right for our family.

Lastly, I hope that you understand why I sometimes hope that INS won't renew our documents. After 6 years, I am not sure I can take on the child that I have dreamed about for so long. I'm not sure if I can be a good mommy to 3 children. I'm not sure we can afford 3 children. And I'm not sure that I want to pay all the money that we still need to pay so that we can have 3 children. Life has changed. We are in a different place. We are unsure of what to do, but ultimately, we will do what we feel is right for our family.

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