I figured I'd break the monotony of healing project posts with a bit of an update on our adoption journey. You might recall that we announced our intention to adopt a child last year, before our wedding.
Things have progressed since then, but not by much. This will be a constant theme throughout this journey, but it certainly doesn't dull our excitment surrounding the fact that the process has officially started for us now. I actually feel giddy just typing that.
Since our last post, we have narrowed our list of prospective intercountry options down to three; Hong Kong, South Africa or Thailand. These are the top three countries whose selection criteria match our home and family situation the best, and offer us the best possible chance of being matched with a child. We have also decided that we will apply for domestic adoption in addition to intercountry adoption, despite the chances of placement within Australia being very slim. We have no preference for intercountry over domestic adoption, we simply want to maximise our odds of a placement by applying to every avenue available to us.
We passed the preliminary government eligibility test & we are booked into our first compulsory information session with the department of Child Protection & Family Services in early March. After that session, we will then be signed up for 3 compulsory education sessions spread out over a number of months.
Basically, the first year or so of the process is simply attending mandatory sessions and training. And paperwork. Oh, the paperwork.
Only after we've attended these 4 seminars can we officially lodge our expression of interest with the government, which is followed by lodging a formal application. Then, and only then does the real wait for a child begin.
In the meantime, we've made the decision to book a holiday to Thailand to immerse ourself in the culture and check out one of the countries where our future child might come from. It is not that we have a preference for Thailand over the other countries at this stage; its merely that it is the closest country to us and I had two weeks annual leave up my sleeve, so we figured, why not!? Its certainly a beautiful place to explore for two weeks. We'll be spending our first few days bunked up at a healing buddhist retreat in Koh Samui, and then going where the wind takes us in terms of getting to know Thailand, Thai language and Thai culture (god knows we've already got the Thai food part down pat. Yum).
There has also been another development born out of our desire to provide a loving home to a child in need. Fosterhood as fallen across the table several times over the past year, and is something that has sat at the forefront of our minds for the last few weeks.
We've been in touch with MacKillop Family Services who are in desperate need of WA based carers and have appraised us as ideal candidates, We've indicated that we'd like to provide care for newborns or infants only to begin with; especially those with high needs due to drug dependency or withdrawal. At this stage, all we need to do is hit the trigger on that process. However, there are a few considerations that still need to be made; such as an examining of my current work load and the flexibility of my contract, the readiness of our new home to accomodate a baby, as well as the long term impact on any foster, adoptive or biological children if we attempt all 3 processes at once.
More on that as it happens.
To end, I thought I'd do a secondary Q&A as to where we stand with the process right now. You can read the initial Q&A here.
Did your miscarriage effect your decision to adopt or foster?
Yes and no. We had plans to adopt long before I miscarried. The loss of my last pregnancy simply highlighted how ready we are and how much love we have to give.
Do you still want to try to have biological children?
Yes. We do. We will try again for a biological child when the time is right for us, and we will fit the adoption process around that as required. Adoption has always been part of our family plan.
Isn't fostering hard?
Yes. Nothing worth doing is easy. Bring it on. We feel the rewards will far outweigh the risks.
Why are you only willing to foster infants?
Because this is the age group we both have the most experience with, and those early years are formative. Babies thrive on love and nurturing, and we know we can do that. We are not yet experienced enough to handle the complex behavioural issues that older children in need of fostering may present; but feel far better equipped to meet the physical and emotional demands of high care infants. If we enjoy being foster parents, we hope to expand our skill sets to welcome older kids into our home eventually.
Will you visit orphanages in Thailand?
No. We can't be sure they are not simply products of poverty-tourism. It is also not good for the emotional well being of the children in those facilities to have strangers coming in and out of their lives for short periods all the time. We are arranging our adoption through the relevant government agencies within Australia and the home countries to make sure it is 100% ethical and complies with the UN charter of the rights of the child. I encourage anyone thinking of visiting orphanages in foreign countries to do their research, as it can be problematic in some places.
Will you visit Hong Kong and South Africa as well?
That would be nice! But its hard to say. Finances, time off work and schedules all need to be considered. We have no immediate plans to travel there just yet, but never say never. We'll certainly be learning as much about those cultures as we can in the meantime.