I've contemplated this post for while and since we have now been home a month I thought I would try to get it done.
Every adoption is different. Every country is different. Every story is unique. Each persons answers would be different. These are the my answers to our frequently asked questions about our adoption. I am more than happy to talk to anyone anytime about adoption. Please ask anything.
Does she speak English?
By far the number one most asked question and in a word - No. In our case, Sarah was not really speaking Chinese either but she understood Cantonese and a very localized dialect. She is understanding more and more English but no words yet. A few older children, or ones from American run foster homes may speak a little English. Other than that, they speak Chinese.
Do you know anything about her birth parents?
Each country is different and in some cases you may get to meet the birth mother. China is not one of those countries. China has a one child policy. In some cases you can have two. What happens when you get pregnant with number three? It is against the law in China to place a child for adoption. Against the law to have too many children. Therefore the children are abandoned. It's an ugly, ugly word. However, it is often done in love. Done to give a chance at life, under threat of punishment. I truly believe it is a situation our very American minds can not truly understand or appreciate. It is heartbreaking on all levels.
How much did it cost?
I won't throw out a number, because my Daddy taught me that was rude, but a quick google search will give you a rough estimate. It does however break down into three basic categories.
*Agency Costs: For us this meant fees to our agency for all the work they do including working specifically with Sarah's orphanage. It includes immigration fees, courier fees for document authentication and other things like that.
*Official in Country costs: Before we traveled we wired an specific amount of money to China. This covered all out official costs for notaries, her passport,etc. It also included a required donation to the orphanage. It costs the orphanages a significant amount of money to get a child paper ready for adoption. This is in essence paying them back. I am thankful they got her paper ready and was more than happy to donate the money.
*Travel costs: Plane tickets, hotel, etc.
There are other costs of course. Our passports, our visas, care packages and chocolate to make it through the rough days.
How many times did you have to go over there?
The China program has many positive things about it. One being it is a one trip country. One two week trip completes the adoption. She is a US citizen as soon as the plane touches down.
Boy your adoption was fast! I have a friend of a friend who waited XXX number of years. Why was yours so fast?
Our adoption was almost 11 months to the day. The day we had our consulate appointment there was a family there who was adopting through the non special needs program. They had waited 8 years. Why was ours "quick." First, we were adopting through the special needs program. Very few people are starting China adoptions in the non special needs program anymore. They are processing dossiers submitted 8 years ago. That's crazy. Secondly, there are some things you can control and some you can't. The things we could control we did as quick as possible. We somehow avoided the long LOA waits this year and had a relatively short 42 day wait. We did not wait for a match. We found Sarah on our agencies waiting child list. I also truly believe that many things clicked along because the Lord knew she needed out of there. All of things combined for just under a year for us.
On a side note: "Things seem to be moving really fast." or "Boy that was quick" could possibly be filed under "things not to say to your friend that is adopting." I know it was relatively fast. I know it was "not that much longer than a pregnancy ." However, when you are pregnant you know where your baby is. She is safe inside you. You can feel her move. You can take care of her by taking care of yourself. When you are adopting you get pictures of her in wet pants or with a green runny nose nobody bothered to wipe and with a constant bruise on her wrists that you wonder how it got there and why it is always there. It is not the same experience and everyday is long. Some days are unbearable.
These are just a few of the questions we get asked to the most. Adoption is hard work both during and after. Adoption is also beyond a blessing. The Lord has a deep love for the fatherless. He walks before you and beside you in this sometimes maddening process. I am more than happy to answer any question you have about adoption. Please ask.