A friend of mine asked me about adoption. I wanted to write something about the special needs process. All 3 of our adopted kids were found on special needs waiting lists. I don't have any experience with the "normal" adoption process. I don't think I would ever really want to sign up with an agency and wait for that agency to give me a referral for a child. Juergen and I both preferred to look at lists of kids and choose a child based on what we felt was right for our family at the time (let me explain that statement). When we adopted Philip, we wanted a boy who was as young as possible. We already had two daughters. His SN was 2 holes in his heart (ASD and VSD). He already had surgery to correct his heart condition. Jessica also had heart surgery when she was a baby, so the heart thing didn't bother us or scare us. When we adopted Thomas, we wanted a Thai brother for Philip. We had already met Thomas in Thailand. His SN had also been corrected in Thailand. This is why we adopted Thomas. Sarah was adopted because I had always wanted to adopt from China, we wanted a girl and we didn't want a baby. Her SN is minor and we felt her strong personality would fit well into our family (and it now does). My point is, we choose them. The Special needs process is generally shorter then the regular process. Some times the SN process is less expensive. Also nearly 80% of the kids now waiting in orphanages are considered SN kids. Most have very small SN's, many have already been corrected. The SN places them in the category of being harder to place. So many of them will never find a family. We figured most people only want the healthy young babies. We are use to handling more (because Jessica has autism), we might as well go for the harder to place kids. To be honest with you, boys are the hardest to place of all kids. Even "healthy and normal" boys never get adopted just because most people only want a girl. I personally think girls are easier. I think Sarah's transition was the hardest, but the boys are harder to raise. Still, I love them all so much! I'm so happy we have our boys and our girl!
When you adopt internationally you generally don't have much information about the child's family. Some people find this a good thing because you don't face birth parents trying to come and take the child back. Right now Philip is having some real hard challenges learning. Some background about his birth and family history would be nice to have. Jessica my fist born daughter is very disabled. I did everything "perfectly". No smoking, drugs, or alcohol. I never missed a Doctors appointment. She had a safe birth. She had every advantage, but still she was very sick. I figure there are no guarantees with birth children, or adopted kids. Some birth children get sick, and some adopted kids get sick. Some birth kids have learning problems, and some adopted kids do too. Having kids is risky business. The real question is will you be willing to fight for your children.
If you adopt, your life needs to be an open book. You lay your finance’s, health records, and relationships down in writing for a social worker to read. You put up with a small mountain of paper work, and you pay a pretty pile of change (between $10,000 and $30,000). You wait, and once you get your child you may need to work to earn their trust and love. It is no small mater. But being blessed to raise a child you did not physically have is also no small matter. Sometimes I'm overwhelmed by the gift I have been given. Everything I've gone through to actually get my kids and even the difficult transition I had with Sarah (and it really was difficult) seem small to me. They call me Mom, and I'm blessed beyond reason to be their Mom! Right now Philip is having some real problems learning. It's breaking my heart. I think we have to send him to a special school for learning disabled kids in the fall. We are also spending a great deal of time researching what may be the cause for his problems. We are seeing allot of Doctors. My Dad asked me over the phone if I regretted adopting Philip. I said no, no way. He is my son. I love him. I'm just worried about him. I'm fighting for his future. There are millions of kids in orphanages around the world. Someone needs to step forward and fight for them. Sometimes it is easy, and sometimes it isn't! But someone needs to fight for them. I'm so glad God has given me the honor of being their Mom! It is a calling, and they are a gift! I guess the real question is "can you fight"?
I like to look at Photo lists because it makes me really aware of the fact that there are hundreds of kids waiting for families. Especially for our first adoption, when I was afraid I might not be good enough to be allowed to adopt, the fact that there were waiting kids gave me the courage to try to adopt. If the kid was on a list and he did not have 100 families competing to be their parent, maybe we might be considered “good enough”. Here are a few addresses to photo lists of waiting kids. Other agencies allow you to look at their lists of waiting kids if you fill out a short application. I warn you, photo lists can be harmful…and could lead to an adoption! You may find yourself looking into the eyes of a child you will never be able to forget! As Sebastian the crab in the movie “the little mermaid” once said, “looking leads to wanting, and that leads to trouble”! Americans are allowed to select a child from a photo list. German families are not allowed to choose a child from a list. Germans have to wait for a referral. I don't know the process in Canada or any other country. We went through the US process for all 3 of our adoptions.
Adoption Advocates International
AAI does not photo list, but if you fill out an application you can see their waiting list, and they are my favorite agency.
Harrah's Adoption International Mission
I think you need to join their yahoo group to see the photo list.
Lifeline Children's Services
you have to fill out application to see their photo list.
Chinese Children Adoption International
you need a password to see their list
Children's Home Society of Minnesota
you e-mail them for the pass word to see their list
I think you just need to ask for their password
Children's House International
You need to fill out a small application to look at their list.