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Single Parent International Child Adoption

page two

Adoption Versus Foster Care

The reason I adopted a child from a different culture and a different country was because I tried for five years to adopt a child here in foster care and every child that came into my care went back to her family of origin. After five years of trying to adopt through foster care I believed it wasn't going to happen and so I looked for other alternatives. Also, you can adopt children in the United States, but they are usually babies, white babies, and I didn't want a baby. I wanted an older child. The older children tend to be in foster care. The goal of foster care is to reunite the child with his or biological parents and therefore very difficult. Or, at least, it was in Rockland County, where I lived at the time in the 1980s. I decided to look for alternatives and international adoption is relatively cheaper than any other kind of adoption, so that was one reason. I really didn't care about the ethnicity of the child.

I just researched different agencies. There are hundreds of adoption agencies out there, and I found this agency, New Beginnings in Mineola, New York. Mrs. Pooja Park, the Director, was very straightforward. I told her I was a single parent wanting to adopt an older child. Can you help me? She was very positive and said, Yes, we have many children. In fact we just started a new program in Vietnam. Do you care about the race of the child? I said, No, I don't.

No Problems For Single Parents

There was another agency, called Child World, in Washington, D. C., which was also very positive, like New Beginnings. They had many children, and were receptive to single parent adoption. The price was about the same and so I had to make a decision. Since New Beginnings was closer to me, in Mineola, that that would probably be easier. Both had no stigma against me as a single parent. New Beginnings is very non-judgmental. In fact, in their recent mission statement they even have a clause stating that they don't discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.

Generally people want to adopt younger children, so as the children age out in the orphanage, their chances of getting adopted become slim. Most people want to adopt age three and under so as the children get older it becomes more difficult to place them.

My second daughter was passed over by 14 families simply because of her age. The trend lately has been for single parents to adopt older children. I believe it's because as single parents you don't have the support systems that two parents have, so you tend to look for older children because they will be a little bit more independent. They can go into school, and you don't have to deal with the baby years.

A Child's Age Can Make A Difference

Some single parents still prefer younger children . In the group that I was with, I adopted the oldest child. She was actually 10 at the time. Even though the other people in my group were older than me, they wanted young children. They wanted children three, four, five years of age. It is very difficult for the older children to find homes. In Vietnam, children have been adopted up until about the age of 13. It depends on finding a person who is willing to take a child that age.

New Beginnings tends to work on that. They to try to match the older children with families. I have to say also that, at least in the case of Vietnam, the children tend to be smaller for their age than their Western counterparts. So my daughter, who was represented to be seven years old, was actually almost 11 when I adopted her.

It could have been any other country, but that was the particular program that New Beginnings was highlighting at that time.

Some Countries Are Harder To Deal With

However, generally speaking, people who adopt prefer adopting from South America rather than from Asia because most people perceive those children as being more white with Caucasian features. Therefore, South American adoptions are generally more difficult. Very often parents have to go there several times to arrange things, and these countries are usually twice as expensive. Any adoption agency, at any given time, utilizes several countries. But countries change their rules from time to time. New Beginnings, for instance, sponsors children from Vietnam, China, Russia, South America. Vietnam was closed to United States adoptions until about 1995, because of the war. If it's a country that's having turmoil, or revolution, or civil war, then the adoption process will probably be closed.

Multiple Race Agencies

In the US market, agencies providing white children make more money and find adoptive parents more easily. There weren't a lot of white adoptions going on until maybe four or five years ago when Russia opened up and now that's the big thing. Everybody wants Russian children because they are white children. Unfortunately, many of these children will have disabilities like fetal alcohol syndrome, due to the high rate of alcoholism in Russia.

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