With China now out of the picture, when then switched our focus to a Russian adoption, but only briefly. Please understand that I do not wish to discourage anyone from pursuing an international adoption; I simply want to make people aware of the challenges involved with an international adoption and some of the pitfalls we endured in hopes that others can take and use this information in order to avoid some of the headaches.
We only briefly looked in the Russian adoption because after reviewing the program documentation again with our adoption agency, we realized that the length of stay in country for Russian adoptions was not going to be possible for us. Also the process of picking out a child, as it was explained to us, was something I knew we could endure. As it was explained to us, the first trip to Russia would be to pick out the child that we wanted to adopt. The picture that I had in my mind was some sort of line-up where the children would be paraded in front of us and we would have to choose only one child. I knew immediately that I would not be able to do this. With my new found love of children, I knew that if ten children were shown that I would have to adopt them all. Additionally, once the adoptive parents had chosen their child, they would be forced to leave Russia and only be able to return several months later for the second trip. This second trip to Russia required a very lengthy stay of almost one month for at least one parent. After reviewing their requirements, and with a very heavy heart, we chose not to proceed with an adoption from Russia.
A few years later the Russian government would further crack down on international adoptions which grossly affected many potential parents who were already in the program – some who had most likely already had their first trip. Overnight, the government put a complete stop to all adoptions to parents from the United States. No government should ever be involved with anything relating to adoptions. When a country’s government gets in the way, it is the children in those orphanage who suffer the most.
After nearly quitting from the frustration of two failures, our adoption agency showed us the program for the Philippines and this country seemed at first to be a better fit for us. We switched over to the Philippines adoption program and our spirits were running higher than ever. We soon however found out that the Philippines required additional medical tests as well as some additional physiological evaluations. As frustration was settling in yet again, we proceeded to make the necessary appointments with our doctors. We continued through the process and finally submitted all of our paper work to the adoption agency. The Philippines also wanted to know our financial history so again we had to provide more and more personal details on our life.
Several months went by without hearing anything on our adoption application to the Philippines until one day we received a call from our local agency. There was a problem with my psychological evaluation relating to my past mental state that I was in after losing both of my parents. Additionally, they had concerns with my health relating to my prostrate surgery. We were told that I would need to go back to the psychologist again for further evaluations and also to my doctor for further paper work. Obviously this frustrated us even further and we started to doubt if what we were doing was in God’s plans for us. We continued to see setback after setback only to be disappointed yet again by these additional trips to the doctor’s offices. And to make matters even worse, on our last trip to the doctor’s office to get one more paper signed, my doctor said that this would need to be the last time since he could no longer continue to provide further documentation.
We submitted everything again to the adoption agency who then forwarded this onto the Philippines. More and more months went by and as those days went by, so did our excitement. It was starting to settle in that maybe children were not in God’s plan for us. While we were waiting, a colleague of Tammy’s approached her one day.
“Tammy, are you and Jackie still trying to adopt?”, she asked.
Tammy replied with, “Yes, we are trying to adopt a child from the Philippians but the process is taking a while”
“Well! I am friends with a young girl who is sixteen years old and pregnant. She may be interested in adoption”, replied Tammy’s coworker.
After speaking with her colleague some more, we learned of the young girls troubled childhood and that what she really needed was a Christian couple to love on her and provide some guidance. So from the beginning, we went in with the mindset of providing her with some Christian counseling. We were cautiously optimistic of the adoption prospects but since we were in the Philippines, a domestic adoption was not our first thoughts. We had never really discussed a domestic adoption before and given that this would be an Open Adoption, to be quite honest, the thought was scary to us.
An Open Adoption, as opposed to a closed one, means that the birth parents have all the information necessary to contact the adoptive parents. These types of adoptions open the doors for more face-to-face visits with the biological parents. And even though the adoptive parents hold all of the legal rights as parents of the child, the birth parents can ask for additional contacts to be made and to ask for the child to be told of their relationship to the child. Of course the adoptive parents also have a say in how often the visits occur and to what length the connection goes between the two sets of parents, there are still many challenges with an Open Adoption. This also means that a certain level of trust must be worked out between the two sets of parents. And given that we were meeting with the birth mother before she would give birth to the child, this could really only be an Open Adoption.
After Tammy’s conversation with her colleague from work, she immediately called me with the news. We set up a date and time to meet with the young girl and the mutual friend from Tammy’s work place.