Saturday, January 10, 2009

Full Day of Adoption Talk

I was immersed today in all things adoption. First, I took the last class my agency has to offer me, Babies in Hotels. Honestly, I've learned so much from reading so many blogs that I could teach all these classes now, but it's fun to be with other waiting parents.

The rest of the day was spent at a special seminar put on by my local FCC chapter. FCC stands for Families with Children from China. The topic was Enduring the Wait. Representatives from several different local adoption agencies presented different topics, the main China topic was the special needs program. Apparently, right now, the number of special needs adoptions is half that of non-special needs and the number is growing. Here are some other interesting things I learned from one agency's China case worker who is Chinese and frequently travels to China:

1. The Hague certification requires that countries try placing their children domestically first. Thus, the number of domestic adoptions in China has climbed dramatically in one year, from roughly less than 10,000 to over 35,000. This took 25,000 children out of the international adoption program.

2. China's economy in the cities is thriving so families are willing to pay the penalty fees for having more than one child.

3. It is believed by this agency employee that in the far future, China may only allow special needs kids to be adopted internationally. Please note that this is only this person's opinion.

4. Most special needs kids listed at minor, have virtually no special need. Meaning, the thing called a special need is either completely surgically fixed or is considered a super easy fix here in the U.S. Or, it's strictly cosmetic, like a scar or birth mark.

5. The agency rep also believes that the wait will increase to 4-5 years.

On the positive side, no other agency believed that the wait will grow that long or stay that way. They do think it will hit three years, which is logical given that it's currently at 34 months. As I stated in a previous post, though, CCAA is contacting SWI directors and encouraging them to make more children paper-ready for international adoption.

All agencies with a special needs and waiting child program encouraged all waiting parents to consider switching to special needs if they felt they could accept a child with a special need. They stressed that the common special needs in China are considered very minor here and even had a few kids there today and had their parents speak about it.

We also had agency reps present information on domestic adoption. Again, currently, there are more expecting moms than there are families to adopt the children these moms want to relinquish. They discussed the fact that there are many myths surround domestic adoption, the main one being that birth moms commonly change their minds and take the kids back. This is actually rare and all but a couple of states have strict laws as to the time-frames when birth moms can change their minds.

An interesting fact, you can change agencies without having to lose your I-600H status. You simply renew with the new agency's name on the form when you renew it normally, as long as you haven't let it expire.

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