Once we decided on adopting internationally, we had to choose a country. While looking at all the pamphlets outlining each country’s adoption program, we felt like we would never be able to make a decision. But, as we started looking through the details of each program, some naturally eliminated themselves, which narrowed our choices a bit.
For instance, Guatemala’s program had just closed because of claims of corruption, so that was no longer an option. Some of the other South American and Caribbean programs required us to live in country for several weeks, also not an option for us. The Eastern European programs and the higher incidence of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome really freaked me out (for lack of a better term). We had friends who had adopted from South Korea and highly recommended that program, but we found out that South Korea made contracts with individual states (such as the state of Illinois) and not with individual adoption agencies (which may serve people in many different states or countries). For us, that meant we would not be able to adopt from South Korea if we were to move overseas.
The choices that remained were Ethiopia and China. At the time we starting our paperwork, Ethiopia was beginning to require families to visit the country twice to finalize the adoption. We were uncertain if we could find childcare for our two daughters, not once, but possible twice (we did toss around the idea of taking them with us) while we traveled to Africa. If the grandma and grandpa are in the US, we’re living in Europe (which is where we thought we might be) and baby is in Africa, it presented a lot of logistical challenges. We were also a little daunted by the fact we could be matched and travel to Africa very soon after we had moved overseas.
That left us with China! Truthfully, Jamie and I had been rooting for China all along, but we wanted to give all the options a fair chance. It had been China and the article I read in Newsweek when I was in high school that had originally piqued my interest. Jamie has also had a huge interest and appreciation for Asian culture and had already been to China with his M.B.A. program. On a tearful night as we were deciding whether or not to start this crazy/wonderful journey, I told Jamie that when I closed my eyes and imagined our family, it was a child from China that was in our family portrait.
We began our paperwork for the adoption in Spring 2010; it arrived in China and was “logged-in” with their central agency on March 1, 2011. The next day, March 2, 2011 Jamie came home and said he had been thrown a “curve ball” at work that day. (I remember the conversation very clearly.) My first thought was, my goodness what did he do to get fired! He reassured me that he had a job and in fact the company wanted to send us to...China!
(To read more of our roller-coaster year before moving to China and why I chose the name "Table for Five" for our family's blog, click HERE. Warning: I've been told that is has caused a few people to shed some tears.)
Our move to China has been an amazing gift to our family. I had anticipated celebrating Chinese customs with our new family member out of respect for his/her culture, but now I want to because they are part of our story, too. Learning the language, soaking in the people, and enjoying the food just tops it off! Once we moved to China, my prayer got a little more specific in that I began asking that our child would be from the same province where we are living. Whether or not that prayer is answer is yet to be determined.
So, back to how we chose China, it turned out that China had chosen us.
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