One of my dear friends adopted a little girl from China a few years ago, around the same time I was pregnant with Maisie. I remember her stories about orphans and orphanages … 1,000,000 orphans in China alone … even in the best orphanages, no heat or hot water in winter, so kids aren’t bathed for months at a time and are instead bundled up in layer upon layer of clothes … shift workers trying their best (or not) to care for allll of these kids, but at the end of the day, they just want them quiet and easily managed. They’re not moms to snuggle them close, not dads to toss them in the air; there’s no comfort or hope or unconditional love.
International adoption is expensive at best, and crazy expensive at worst. Different countries have different requirements of adoptive parents, with many of them requiring two trips ($$) including one that’s often a few weeks long. We like that China has one trip of roughly 2 weeks, that the adoption is basically final when you go (no going to court and hoping they approve!), that the likelihood of adopted kids having been trafficked into adoption is small. Our agency (CCAI) is headquartered a mile from our house, which is handy, and has some of the lowest costs in international adoption. They’ve been placing kids since the 80’s – upwards of 12,000 kids brought into families! – and have a good reputation with the Chinese government of doing their job well. They also work to improve conditions and care for kids still in orphanage care in China, which is so important.
When it all comes down, the Why for adoption for us is largely emotional: it breaks my heart that there are kids who need a mom/dad/brother/sister, who don’t cry when sad because they won’t receive comfort. Our Why for China is largely practical: cost, travel time.