One night, Albert* and his wife sat in their family room watching television, when the discussion turned to adoption. They had been unsuccessful having biological children. They knew people who had tried IVF and felt that process wasn’t for them. They started looking into various forms of adoption – public, private, international. They knew people who had adopted from China and spoke very highly of the process. After a great deal of discussion and soul-searching, they decided to pursue an international adoption through China.
Albert looked at various agencies and for adoption practitioners to help them with all of the paperwork. The couple attended information sessions and heard from parents who had adopted from China. Little girls were paraded in front of them – it made their hearts melt. They were so excited.
Albert and his wife went full steam ahead. They were so eager and started the process right away. A whirlwind of activity began – preparing financial statements, having their home inspected for safety, having criminal record checks and fingerprinting, obtaining character references, and undergoing medicals. They felt the process was rather intrusive but were motivated by the thought that they were going have a child at the end of the process. Their home study was written and sent to China.
All of this cost thousands of dollars, but the couple didn’t care. This was an opportunity to start their family – so they thought. Then everything came to a screeching halt. There were articles in Macleans and in other news sources about the growing wait times for Chinese adoptions, and the integrity of adoption agencies was being questioned. Albert and his wife received a letter from their agency telling them not to worry, things would pick up.
They were told the wait times were getting longer and could be up to two years, but not to worry because the Olympics were coming to China, and things would pick up after it was over. They were told that it would be bad form for Canadians to question the Chinese government about the process. The couple was told, ‘’be patient’’.
The next piece of news the couple received was that the adoption agency needed to raise funds. Awaiting adopters were being charged file maintenance fees because the agency needed money. No discussion – everyone was just expected to pay. At the four year point, Albert and his wife walked away. They grieved the loss of the child they would never have and forced themselves to move on. They believed that, if they stayed committed to this adoption process, they would still be waiting.
Many families look to international adoption as a more sure way to adopt after hearing discouraging comments and stories about wait times with domestic adoption. Unfortunately International adoption can also be riddled with unexpected changes and roadblocks due to
laws within and between countries.
*A pseudonym has been used in this story
Disclaimer "These stories are the perspectives of awaiting parents. Adopt4Life aims to give parents a voice, and as such stories remain unchanged even if they may appear controversial. It is the hope of Adopt4Life that by bringing awareness to the thoughts and feelings of families, together we can work to bring change that benefits everyone."