I was talking to a friend the other day about our plans to domestically adopt an African American infant. Our choice to do this involves many issues, one of which is the greater need for families to adopt these babies. Another is to racially balance our family a little. Another is due to the network of friends (and now family) that we have who have adopted transracially. However, during our conversation, we were discussing the adoptions of children from foreign countries - specifically African countries. My sister is currently adopting a little baby boy (less than one year old) from Africa. One of the lures of this particular country is the relative cost and speed of the adoption, and the age of available children, relative to other international adoptions. And this friend made a comment that really made me think. She asked if I thought that there were more people willing to adopt from Africa than there were willing to adopt African American children. And I think there are. Then I got to thinking about why that might be. It's all very interesting to me. I commented to my cousin just today about this. I know people will think I'm making a judgment call on those who choose to adopt internationally (specifically from Africa) rather than domestsically. That's not the case. I just think it's INTERESTING.
Everyone has different reasons to adopt. Usually the reasons we have going into adoption are partially altruistic, and partially selfish. We want to do something "nice" and "good." But we also want to get something out of it, too.
For my sister and her family, they feel that it is God's calling on their life to adopt a child from Africa. They met their son for the first time yesterday, and will be bringing him home to the US on Father's Day. They have three biological children of her own. It has been interesting to share in her adoption journey. It is not the same as mine. But then again, each adoption is unique.
As for me and my husband, we cannot have biological children. We were foster parents for 8 years. We had ten foster children - some part-time, some long term. We adopted our first son through foster care. Then we left foster care and are in the process of adopting our second son (age 6) from the statewide adoption network. Currently, our hope is for our next child to be a domestic infant adoption of an African American child. We have never had an infant. We'd like very much to have the opportunity to experience that stage of life and all the "not so grand" things that go with it (sleepless nights, bottles, diapers, etc.) We have lost our innocence about parenting along the way, I think. We know that babies don't last forever and all too soon you have the very real task of discipline and later hormones (this last point is one of the reasons why my vote is currently for another boy - not to mention the fact that we're much more "set up" with boy stuff). The thought of getting a child from the hospital - or shortly thereafter - excites us. We couldn't do this internationally. But we can do this locally.
So we're no "better" for deciding to form our family locally. We're no worse, either. It's just our choice that has worked for our family at the particular moment in time when each child came into our lives. There have been times when we have considered international adoption. Indeed, we were approved for a country on the same day we got the call that we were being considered for Kani. And we had to make a very real decision about the trade-offs of adopting in this manner. Ultimately, we took the risk of another rejection to go for the child who we had chosen - from a picture and from a short biography - that made us believe he was a child who was meant to be a part of our family.
I tease my husband and say that maybe we'll just do one of each: adoption through foster care, adoption from the statewide adoption network, domestic infant adoption, and international adoption. Really, I don't know what's going to happen. But I do know this. There are a lot of children in our WORLD - towns, states, country, AND in our world - that need a home. They don't need perfect families. They're not perfect children. But they do need someone to love them, to accept them, and to be willing to let them into their homes and their lives as a member of their family.
So, I guess the real question is, what are YOU willing to do for the children who need a home?