To add to the thought process about domestic adoption, my cyber friend TG forwarded an email from her placement agency saying that there were more children in need of homes in Haiti than families for them. I met TG through the Ethiopia program, but given all the delays she decided to move away from Ethiopia toward Haiti, a difficult decision for her and one she did not make lightly, but one she knew in her heart was the right one as she builds her family.
The Haiti process is very different from most international countries. Once your application and home study are in, you receive a referral for your child. You then have 90 days to complete all the paperwork for the dossier and then the adoption process begins in-country. From that point, you can expect to bring your child home within 11 to 14 months. You get monthly updates and photos of your child, and can send photos and letters for the nurses to share with your child.
When I first learned about the Haiti process -- and even subsequent times when it has come up -- I was not keen on this process. You have this child, a photo you can look at, and you can't bring him home for a year. Isn't it better to just have the abstract notion of a child for the long wait? Isn't it torture to have this child matched with you and not be able to do anything?
But as TG shared the photo from her referral of her son, and then another on his first birthday, I started to look at things differently.
Let's say all things moves forward with Ethiopia as I had anticipated, and a year from now, I am matched with a 15-month-old. There's the wait for court, and then I fly over, meet him and fly home. And then six or so weeks later, I go back for Embassy and bring him home. He's probably closing in on 20 months or so by now. And I have this baby, nearly two, and until the moment of referral, I knew nothing about him, only what's in his file.
On the flip side, in the next few months, let's say I am matched with a 9-month-old from Haiti (I would be able to request 0-12 months at referral). And for the next year, I receive monthly updates and photos. I know who is caring for him. I know they are telling him about me and showing my picture. I even get to go visit him as often as I am able to afford. And then a year or so later, I get to bring a 20-month-old home.
And even though I wasn't caring for him, I know his story. I know when he took his first steps, and got his first tooth. I have those things to tell him, to share with him, to document for him.
There is no perfect solution. No perfect answer. There will be heartache in waiting and angst as I move forward. No matter what. Ethiopia. United States. Haiti.
Waiting. Wondering. Hoping for a quicker outcome. Doing all I can, which I will always think is not enough.