Monthly Archives: September 2016

Adopting An Older Child

img_5463The definition of an “older child” can vary, but I am going to focus on the age range of 10-13, the time period where a child is close to “aging out” in China. If you inquire with your agency about adopting an older child, they will probably want to ask a few questions about your family. Generally, the older the agency the more likely they are to stick with what are called “best social work practices.”  Some of best social work practices involving older child adoption would be that the parents have parented past the age of the child, that the child be adopted as the youngest child in the family, or that there not be any siblings close in age to the child. Some agencies will stick very closely to these guidelines while others, knowing how difficult it can be to place older children, will approve nearly any family to adopt an older child.

Why any agencies not allow a particular family to adopt an older child? Because agencies which have been around for decades have seen a lot of failed adoptions and older children are at higher risk of adoption disruption or dissolution. I spoke with a representative of an agency often characterized as being “conservative” and “having a lot of rules.” I was told that their top priority was finding the right family for a child. They wanted to make sure that the adoption was successful and they didn’t want to risk the child’s placement by matching them with a family with the potential for disruption.  Please take the time to read my post on adoption disruption for a longer discussion on why you need to keep this possibility in mind as you decide whether or not adopting an older child is right for your family.

China does not allow children to be adopted past their 14th birthday. There are no exceptions to this rule, even if a parent is in the process of adopting a child. For this reason you will often see advocates publicizing children who are close to aging out. “URGENT! This is the child’s LAST CHANCE for a family!!!” This tugs at your heart, is this something that your family should consider? Here are some things to consider when making this decision. Despite the pressure tactics that the deadline for adoption can bring, adopting an older child is not something which should be done on a whim. Please take the time to educate yourself.

Are you thinking of doing this because you want to save the child? I have seen many instances where people have been told that an orphanage kicks a child out onto the street on their 14th birthday. As far as I am aware, this is not the case. While a child is no longer eligible to be adopted after they turn 14, they will remain in state care until age 18. When we visited our son’s orphanage I asked the director what happened to children who aged out. She said that those who could live independently would be given some education or vocational training and they would try to find them a job. Those who cannot live independently will live there for life. While children who have aged out will face many challenges in their life, it is not necessarily so dire as being kicked out onto the street. Organizations such as Love Without Boundaries are working to give these children more educational opportunities and at least one agency has a similar program as well. Yes, adoption will give these children more opportunities, and most importantly a lifelong family. However, it is important to understand the challenges before you take this step and not rush in to “save” someone expecting that happy ending.

IMG_1414Do you think that this child is eagerly waiting for a family? Many older children in China have lived a long time with the same foster family. Others are content with their friends at their orphanage. Some have a boyfriend or girlfriend at the orphanage. They are well entrenched in their life and not at an age where they can understand the benefits of a permanent family in a foreign country. At the age of ten, the child must also consent to the adoption and sometimes they say no thanks, I’d rather stay here. Other times a child will be coerced into agreeing to the adoption by their orphanage employees or other adults. I personally know two families who adopted a child over age 10 who was coerced into agreeing to be adopted when the child did not want to be. Both blamed the adoptive family for taking them away from their “real” family and acted out so much that eventually the adoptive families dissolved the adoptions. I know another family in the same circumstance who is committed to sticking it out, but they assume the moment their son turns 18, he will leave them and never come back. He tells them all the time that he hates them and wishes they had never taken him from China. There are so many older kids who truly want families but you have to proceed with caution. It can be difficult to know in advance how the child you hope to adopt feels about the adoption. Further complicating matters, some orphanages still do not tell the child they are being adopted until the day of the adoption or only a few days prior so they have little time to prepare for this major life decision. Have your agency advocate for your family to be able to have some Skype sessions with the child in the time leading up to the adoption.

Why China rather than the US foster system? Since I adopted from China and I wrote an entire post defending people who adopt internationally rather than from foster care, you might wonder why I ask this question. I support both adoption systems and I think that you need to find the best fit for your family. But if you are considering adopting in the 10-13 year old range, this is an age where there are many children available here in the US. Sometimes people have the mistaken idea that a 13 year old from China won’t have any baggage, unlike a teenager in the US foster system. If you are feeling called to adopting an older child from China you need to make sure you understand that there will be challenges including additional challenges specific to international adoption.

  • Care varies widely in China. Older children have lived over a decade with their family, with a foster family, in an orphanage, or any combination thereof. They could come to you having experienced malnutrition, a lack of necessary medical care, neglect, and physical or sexual abuse.
  • If you have other children in the home, you need to educate yourself on sexual abuse and prepare a sexual safety plan for your home. You should assume that your child has been sexually abused regardless of what information is in their file or what their care situation was. Your social worker can be a great resource in helping you to know what to look for and how to develop a sexual safety plan.
  • You child may have years worth of ingrained orphanage behaviors.
  • Related to orphanage behaviors, you should expect your child to be immature for their age and act several years younger than their age. Are you prepared to parent a twelve year old who acts like a seven year old?
  • The information in their files might be incorrect, and not just medical information. You might your child is older or younger (but usually it’s older) than you thought. Or they might have siblings you didn’t know about until you got to China.
  • It is much more difficult to learn a new language after puberty, even if you are immersed in it.
  • Your child may have received little or no formal education. Mixed with the language issue, this means that they may not ever achieve reading fluency. Adopting older children will bring many educational challenges.
  • They may have unrealistic expectations of their own. Children are often told that everyone in America is rich and they will be given anything they want. Or they may be fearful of you because they were told that you are only adopting them to sell their organs.
  • They may not even understand what adoption is. Love Without Boundaries interviewed older children in orphanages and they struggled to come up with answers to questions about what adoption is, why a foreign couple would want to adopt a Chinese child, or what they think life would be like after adoption. Watch the video.

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Parenting a child adopted at an older age requires an understanding of how difficult it can be to leave behind everything you know. You should be prepared and willing to provide large amount of familiar food from home. How would you like to give up bacon and eggs for congee every morning? It just wouldn’t seem like breakfast, would it?

It is important to many parents to choose a new English name for their child. You should be open to the idea that your child might not want to give up the name they have been called all  of their life. You need to be willing to provide translation for the first few months and hire a private tutor to help with the language transition. Immersion is not a magic cure at an older age. Many schools will not adequately prepared for helping your child become fluent in English and catch up to grade level work. You need to become aware of resources and Chinese community activities in your area. Learn to be okay with being one of the few caucasians at these gatherings. It’s what you’re asking of your child in reverse.

Here are a few additional resources I recommend:

Financial considerations– No one wants a child to lose their chance for a family because of finances. For this reason you will find that there are many generous grants available for older children who are reaching the end of their opportunity for adoption. Sometimes a particular child will be offered a large grant by a private donor which is independent of an agency. Some agencies will reduce their agency fee by a significant amount in addition to offering a grant. Finally, many of the orphanages in China will reduce or waive the required orphanage donation in an effort to help these kids find a family. While no one should consider adopting an aging out child because it is cheaper, if you are interested in adopting a child who is close to aging out you should be aware of all of these available resources.

Time– Because the adoption must be completed by the child’s 14th birthday, time is often a major concern. Be sure to ask if your agency has experience with expediting the adoption of an aging out child. There are many things which can be done to make sure the adoption is complete in time. I have known people who adopted an aging out child in under 3 months from start to finish, barely making it across the finish line by finalizing the adoption in China before the Travel Authorization had been issued. Most agencies will transfer the files of aging out children so if an agency is skeptical that they could complete the adoption in time then you could see if they would transfer the file to another agency which is more experienced with the expedite procedures. If the agency is unwilling to transfer, or is offering a generous grant which you can find support on Facebook to walk your agency through the process. If you send me a message, I will put you in contact with a woman who serves as mentor to families expediting the adoption of an aging out child.

IMG_0796Finally, if you are considering adopting an older child from China it important to know that this is an area where child trafficking occurs. Unfortunately, some people bring home older children only to find that they have families back in China. There are many older kids in China who need homes, and you want to make sure that you make one of them a part of your family rather than someone who has been coerced into coming to America with you. While most of these false orphans come from one particular orphanage, the problem isn’t limited only to that orphanage. There are often red flags that will help you spot these kids. Allow me to break out the bullet points one more time.

  • Abandoned at an older age under fishy circumstances. Found wandering the streets at 10 or 12 but can’t remember their name, parents names, or address.
  • Came into state care at an older age because their entire family was tragically wiped out; often comes with fake death certificates to aid the story.
  • Looks older than 12 or 13. Many of these kids are closer to 17, so if your son has a 5 o’clock shadow in his pictures, beware.
  • Not only are completely healthy, but excel academically. Often are accomplished at playing a sport or instrument.
  • For more information google “China aging out fraud.”

I don’t want to leave you on that negative note, especially since this post has been focused on the negative more than usual. I have already linked to the Seriously Blessed blog in this post but I wanted to highlight the story of Jasmine. The Lisa and her husband decided rather last minute to adopt Jasmine even though they had previously discussed older child adoption and said it was something they would never consider. When they arrived in China to adopt Jasmine, they realized she had muscular dystrophy rather than spina bifida, meaning her special need was a much worse diagnosis than they had been prepared for. Despite this they completed the adoption.

As Jasmine grew comfortable enough to begin sharing her story they learned that she had been mistreated by both her father and her orphanage nannies. She was abandoned by her grandmother, the only relative who had treated her with kindness. She hadn’t received any education in her orphanage, and had been told that the American couple coming for her would surely mistreat her or abandon her in America. This sounds like everything I’ve been warning you about, right? But Jasmine is thriving in a loving family. She is so appreciative of “simple” things like hot showers and receiving an education. This is why some families will educate themselves about all of the negative aspects of older child adoption and decide to go ahead anyway. Because it’s worth it, and it makes all the difference in the world to kids like Jasmine.

 

If you are just beginning your adoption journey and found this post helpful, you might consider buying my book which has all of this information and more, including several chapters on travel.

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Adopting two unrelated children at once

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Note: As of June 30, 2017 adopting two unrelated at once is no longer an option in the China program.

Many people who are in process of adopting from China join social media groups where they see that other people are adopting two unrelated children at the same time. This option is very interesting to couples and “Tell me about adopting two at once” is a frequent discussion opener in China related adoption groups. Some agencies mention this to families as a possibility, others only discuss it upon request, and a few don’t allow it at all. You might assume that if China allows a practice, such as adopting two unrelated children at once, your agency will allow you to do so. This is not the case. All placing agencies determine their own guidelines for adoptive families. Sometimes even when a placing agency will allow something, the social worker who writes your homestudy might not approve your family for that situation. For example, a placing agency might not have a problem with you adopting two at once but if your social worker opposes it she might refuse to approve you for two in your homestudy.

You mean agencies or social workers think their rules are more important than finding these kids a family!? I’m going to choose an agency that understands that each family knows what is best and what they can handle!

Before I discuss these situations, we need to understand the reason behind these rules. Generally, the older the agency the more likely they are to stick with what are called “best social work practices.”  These are things such as only adopting one unrelated child at a time, keeping birth order, avoiding “artificial twinning” (ending up with two children of the same age), etc. In most other countries these practices are not allowed but our American independent streak rebels at those sort of absolute guidelines. However, many agencies now are allowing these practices, at least in some situations.

Why would any agencies not allow these things? Because agencies which have been around for decades have seen a lot of failed adoptions. I spoke with a representative of an agency often characterized as being “conservative” and “having a lot of rules.” I was told that their top priority was finding the right family for a child. They wanted to make sure that the adoption was successful and they didn’t want to risk the child’s placement by matching them with a family with the potential for disruption.  Please take the time to read my post on adoption disruption for a longer discussion on why you need to keep this possibility in mind as you decide whether or not these special adoption situations are right for your family. What does disruption have to do with adopting two at once? Well, if you adopt two at once and one is unexpectedly difficult, it can be easier (though not necessarily easy) for the parents to say “We’ll leave this one and just take the other one home.”

IMG_5483As I mentioned in my post on When You’re Asking the Internet About Adoption, when you ask online about people’s experiences with adopting two at once please remember that these groups are full of people who are happy with their experience, and so you will most likely not hear from people who would tell you that they adopted and had a bad experience.  People will tell you how amazing it was for their family but that does not help you to know what YOUR families experience will be like.  You are a different family, adopting a different child or children.  That doesn’t mean I’m trying to talk you out of it, I’m trying to make sure that you’ve seriously considered all aspects of the situation.  Thinking about the hard aspects of adoption will only give you more tools to succeed.  Educated and informed families are the best families for children.  

Adoption involves a huge amount of stress and upheaval for a child. When you adopt two at once, the theory is that you cannot give each child the amount of attention that they need to bond with your family. Because China’s adoption program involves special needs, you need to consider that you will also be dealing with double the amount of doctor’s visits. I am sometimes concerned that there can be a subtle form of peer pressure to adopt two at once on adoption forums with many people asking “Are you going to go for two?!” Deciding to adopt two unrelated children at once should involve careful consideration. Here are some questions you should ask yourself before pursuing this option:

  • How much parenting experience do you have?
  • How much adoptive parenting experience? I do not recommend adopting two at once for your first adoption.
  • Do you have a plan for the medical care the two children will need? What if one or both needs an extended hospitalization?
  • How much of a local support network do you have?
  • Have you thought through what you will do if one or both is much more delayed than expected or has major behavioral needs?
  • Can you afford to double the fees? Most likely spend three weeks in China instead of two?
  • Have you thought through the worst case scenario? What if one or both have unexpectedly worse medical issues? What if they are both having attachment issues?
  • Be aware that you might be tempted to favor one child over the other. Children react differently to the adoption experience. If you have one who is seamlessly attaching to your family while the other is acting out and constantly causing stress in your family it can be easy to unconsciously favor the “easy” child. As much as you know that you shouldn’t compare the two children, it is almost unavoidable especially if they are close in age.
  • Are you doing this because you think it will be cheaper or make your life easier? I have seen multiple people actually say “I’m not going to go through all of this trouble twice. I’m just going to get two at once and get it over with all at the same time.”  I’m going to be completely blunt here and point out that you need to consider the impact this will have on the children involved and not your convenience.

Many people do adopt two successfully and find it works well for their family. In my book, you can find a fuller discussion of this topic including considerations on choosing special needs when you adopt two at once, how to decide which ages, and what the adoption trip looks like when you are adopting two children rather than one.

Here are some additional resources and experiences for you if you are considering this option. I’m including links to family blogs where you can read personal experiences, each from families who were experienced parents and had adopted prior to adopting two children at once.

Guest Post: Adopting Two at Once

The next few weeks, I will be updating my post on Adopting out of birth order, two at once, or an older child. It is consistently one of my most viewed posts but is now a year old. I’m going to break it up into two separate posts. Today, I am sharing a guest post from Elizabeth who is sharing her experience adopting two unrelated children at the same time.

IMG_5391Funny things happen on your way to adopt. We had decided on one minor needs girl and ended up with two not so minor needs girls.  Why did we adopt two? We knew we wanted more than one child and thought it would:

A) Give the kids someone to go through the experience with (good for mental health?)

B) Save money 

C) Save time    

D) All the stories of adopting two were rainbows, glitter and the things fairy tales made of.

E) It seemed like a good idea at the time.

We saw a girl on an advocacy list in October of 2014 and for some reason this kid just stuck with me. Mind you, there are oodles of kids on the lists and we looked at files of several kiddos. We had decided her needs were too big and scary for our family (severe heart issues). So we continued to search. Then on December 1st I saw a little girl with albinism and vision impairment. I called them and asked for the file. The agency said there were 7 families in front of us. I asked to be on the list anyway, because anything is possible. I continued my search. On December 15th we got that file along with a couple others. I sent two to the IA doc for review. We sent our agency application and the fee in via Fed Ex December 19th. We sent LOI right away.

I was still watching that little one with the big heart issues. I read every update, saw that several families had reviewed and declined her file. I watched every video and questioned her advocate. She was at a different agency. I don’t know why I was so stuck on this kid, I had dreams about her at night. Finally my husband said “If something happens to her, will you blame yourself?” I said yes, so he told me to see if the agency would transfer her to our agency. It was a real rollercoaster. They did not transfer (Even though the time was just about up and they had nothing but declines after families viewed the file). Her file was pulled by the CCCWA and we lost her for weeks. My agency found her one night in January and snatched her from the shared list. We wrote LOI the next day.

Our adoption was expedited due to the severity of my then 2 year olds heart.

As background we have three (much) older kids, I worked with kids for years and have an Early IMG_5401Childhood background as well as a medical background. Earlier on I had custody of newborn twins and prior to that a sibling set with behavioral issues. So I was not a new parent or new to special needs/medical issues. We were confident we could handle this with no issue, we did the classes (which are useless and do not prepare you to adopt a gerbil let alone a child with significant trauma). It does not give you a good picture of the reality of life with a trauma kiddo.

We adopted Izzy with Albinism (“19 months” at pick up) which is seen as an “easy need”, then we adopted Gabby (33 month old) with TOF/PA (not sure if she would be operable).

People say “HARD” this is the understatement of the century. Brutal is more accurate. You have just no idea “who” you are picking up until you arrive. Izzy was in a Half the Sky program in her orphanage but she was suffering far more than our child with oxygen in the 60’s. Since we both had read the book the founder of HTS wrote, we were foolishly not very worried about her.  We were really worried about the heart baby in an orphanage with no NGO.

As a first time adoptive parent we had no idea what condition the kids would be in. Everyone says the kids may act crazy, bite, hit, kick, scream etc. They rock and have lots of repetitive behaviors. Emotionally they often shut down. Some are really sick, so we had no idea what condition our kids would be in, if they would need immediate medical attention in China or when we landed in the US. When we brought Izzy to the hotel room that first day she looked blind and autistic to me. I thought “What did we get ourselves into??” You have 24 hours (the Harmonious Period) to decide, we signed and left the next day (expedited) to get daughter #2 from another province. I have read a million stories from other adoptive parents with the same sort of story but most of those kids came home and did well, they caught up and are on track.

Gabby is neuro typical and wants to play with her sister but Izzy routinely attacked her with scratching, hitting, biting. This took at least 6 months to ease up at all. Every morning I’d need to play referee as Izzy swiped at Gabby. Izzy had been SEVERELY abused and neglected, she was malnourished and her files were a flat out lie. She could not even bang two blocks together. She was non-verbal, could not walk, eat solid food… nothing. The nanny was contacted from the HTS program (by the orphanage rep who was the only one to show up that day) and she had said she let “Izzy do her own thing”.  It turns out she left her in a small area (as evidenced by her vision test and how her vision is testing now) the majority of the time.

IMG_5410Kids in an orphanage are pretty regimented and do not “free play” much, so as a consequence they have no idea how to play independently. It took MONTHS before I was able to get dinners made with any regularity. They are very needy. There is NEVER enough of you. I felt (and still feel) like I was failing miserably, things could have gone much better with only one so they could soak up the attention rather than always trying to split my attention between the two. Then do a boomerang adoption when we were ready. My husband even had paternity leave and was home for 4 months, it was still really rough with both of us there. Attachment probably took longer because we were not able to pour everything into one child. They both want to be held, they both want your attention, they both need your attention.

Our 3 year old needed heart surgery, we did it in November. Gabby was very sick and we lived in the hospital for a month trying to juggle the girls. One of us would spend the night with Gabby and the other would go home with Izzy, then come the next day at lunch time. It was hard on everyone but especially hard on Izzy. We were really drowning for a very long time. The orphanage behaviors are pretty rough. This was NOTHING like my bio kids. Please don’t be fooled, I know you will hear a lot of rainbow and unicorn stories (I did too) there have been precious few rainbows here I tell you.

Because Izzy was so mistreated our life is nothing close to normal. If we go to the zoo for instance we will pay for three days straight with tons of screaming (even though she has been worn). A family BBQ or visiting relatives (who do not pick her up) cause a huge upset and 2-3 days of screaming. This is great when you have more than one child. Izzy will be 24/7 care forever and will never be independent. We were not prepared for that. We did therapy 6-8 appointments a week for the two girls (1-2 for Gabby and the rest for Izzy), some weeks even more. I was not prepared for how isolated you are when you cocoon, or how much I would really miss my husband while he was right there. The kids suck up every moment, every ounce of energy.

It is far more work than it seems like it will be. Ask yourself: What will you do if they hate each other? What if you have one like I do with severe cognitive/sensory/behavioral issues? Many problems are not even apparent until the kids have been home for a while. What if one is a bully to the other?

I have a lot of regrets about this adoption

Three Years Home

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Labor Day weekend marked 3 years since Leo became part of our family. I don’t write as many personal posts on the blog now that it has transitioned from a travel blog for family and friends to a public blog for those considering adoption from China. However, I thought I would take the opportunity to reflect on what I have learned through this three years of adoptive parenting.

Yes, you can love the children you adopted as much as the children you gave birth to. More and more families are adopting after having biological children. A frequent concern is that it might feel different. People always laugh when I say this, but despite having 6 kids, I don’t actually like little kids that much. I’ve never wanted to be a kindergarten teacher, so you can understand how this was a big concern for me. While adoption might seem at first like babysitting the neighbor’s kid, I was surprised by how very quickly each of my sons felt right in my arms. I think the months of paperwork with seeing pictures and getting updates serves as the “paper pregnancy” preparing your heart. No it isn’t instant, but for most families their adopted children are simply their children, whether they also have biological children or not.

july4thSpecial Needs adoption does not require you to be a super parent. So many people are intimidated by the “special needs” label. We were already parenting children with special needs before we adopted–they needed glasses and braces. In the China program, you can choose which medical needs to accept and only receive referrals meeting that criteria. Sure, Leo’s weekly speech therapy, quarterly ENT nurse visit, bi-yearly ENT visit, and annual cleft clinic visit takes up a few more squares on the calendar, but not any more than squeezing in piano or baseball between the pediatrican-dentist-optometrist-orthodontist. August’s limb difference is going to require some intensive surgery this year, but after the initial correction his need will be less time intensive than Leo’s. Yes, these things take time and money, but you do it because it’s your child. We now know these waiting children aren’t “special needs kids.” They’re simply children whose biggest need is a family.

The other kids will be fine! Another common concern we had was how adopting IMG_2256might effect the children already in our family. Were we going to ruin their lives? However, from the very beginning our children embraced the idea of adopting a sibling. It opened their eyes to the fact that there were children who didn’t have a family. While we in no way approached adoption as a charity project, through our many conversations on the hows and whys they have become more interested in ways they could help children in need. Several of our children sponsor a child to help preserve a family, and two of our older children have written papers on adoption for school. I was so impressed by how understanding they were in the early days with grieving or tantrums because they understood what a huge scary change in was in the life of their brothers. Our children have become more caring and compassionate. Adoption changed the lives of all of our children for the better.

Don’t let fear hold you back. Many people consider adoption but few actually adopt. I don’t know what it is that makes some people take that step forward but I know exactly what it is that holds so many people back. Fear. It took us so long to decide to adopt, but before we had come home from China we knew we’d be going back. It changes you that quickly. Less than a year earlier, we had sincerely explained to our social worker that we would be adopting exactly oneimg_0823 child to complete our family. She was skeptical. As many have said before, adoption is hard to start but harder to stop. When you plan your biological family, you ask yourselves many of the same questions–does everyone have enough time and attention, can we afford another child, do we have another bed and seat in the van–but somehow there’s a greater urgency to the question when you’ve seen all those little faces. When you hold a child in your arms while the orphanage director says “This child needs a family.” After you’ve made that trip, it’s easier to understand why some families adopt over and over. (The children in this photo are home with families now. However, one of the little boys we met on this trip had a limb difference. Meeting him caused us to check the limb difference box during our second adoption, which led to August becoming part of our family.)

At this time, we feel our family is complete and have no plans to adopt again. (Famous last words, I know.) But I still remember how it felt to be trying to make the initial decision. How we went back and forth asking if we should or if we shouldn’t. We had so many fears. What I have learned from saying yes is that if you let fear make you say no, you’re saying no to letting your life change in a wonderful way. Saying no won’t prevent bad things from happening in your life. That happens to everyone. Saying yes WILL cause changes in your life. You’ll learn that you’re stronger than you think, what’s really important in life, and your family will be enriched beyond measure by the children that you didn’t know you had until you saw them in a photo.

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Mine In China at your library!

Screen Shot 2016-03-12 at 8.36.21 PMMine In China became available in paperback in July but it is now available for public libraries to order through their catalog. I would like to take a moment to encourage you to request your library order a copy the next time you are there even if you have no interest in adopting from China. Let me tell you why.

As I shared in the book introduction, when we first considered adopting one of the first places I stopped was at our public library. I found several books on adopting from China but all were 20 years out of date, detailing how to adopt a healthy infant girl. One of my motivations to write my book was to make available a comprehensive resource to adopt from China’s current program.

A bigger reason for you to request your library order a copy, even if you know you will never adopt or if you are done adopting, is for it to be there for people considering adoption. International adoption is at an all time low in the United States. While it’s wonderful that foster adoption numbers are up, the reality is that fewer people are adopting in general. Cost is the biggest reason tossed around, I feel that the real culprit is that adoption is no longer the “healthy infant girl” as described in those out-of-date library books. For some reason, adopting a 3 year-old is much more intimidating than adopting a 3 month-old. If you don’t believe me, join an adoption community on Facebook where questions such as “What is the difference in attachment issues if I decide to be open to a 24 month-old instead of an 18 month-old?” are routine.

Also, the phrase “special needs” is a huge deal breaker for most families. There was a time, as China’s program was transitioning from non-special needs to special needs, when people frequently choose to wait additional years for a referral because they couldn’t handle any special needs at all, needs like repaired cleft lip, a large birthmark, or a heart murmur, which are now often referred to the non-special needs people. I worked really hard to tackle these topics in my book, so that people will see that adopting an “older” 3 year-old or a child with medical needs is a viable option for most families. (Yes, I do also spend a lot of time going over the hard aspects of adoption.)

There are thousands of wonderful children in China waiting for families. Please consider requesting your library order a copy as a way of promoting adoption among families in your community. In the interest of full disclosure, I receive all of 37 cents when a library orders my book.

Just as a reminder, if you want to order a personal copy (or one to donate to your library), you can use the link on the sidebar to order either the ebook or paperback through Amazon, or even better, search for it using the Love Without Boundaries affiliate link. I do not have an Amazon affiliate account because I feel that LWB would benefit more from a couple of dimes than I would.