New Adoption Plan!
Change course, surrender, redirect our energy, accept defeat. Whatever spin you want to put on it, the bottom line is that we are no longer attempting to adopt from Thailand. All our efforts and all our money has led to nothing but thicker skin, lessons learned, and a new confidence that adoption in some form will work out.
Adoption in Thailand:
Ultimately, our decision to stop pursuing adoption from Thailand came down to time and the unwillingness to risk splitting our current family. The process we were pursuing was a “Hague” adoption process. Under this scenario the country from which you adopt and the US agency must both follow specific guidelines set forth in an international agreement, then be approved by both US Customs and Immigration (USCIS) and the Consular office at the US Embassy in the country from which you are adopting. Our insurmountable problem came when Thailand refused to provide us a letter specifically stating they abided by the Hague regulations. They told us that because we lived in Thailand we could not get such a letter. Despite the fact that we showed them two examples from people who lived in Thailand and received such a letter, they refused to budge, stating, “Those other people’s letters were mistakes.” Even more heartbreakingly we were told there was a perfectly healthy little girl who was ready to be adopted if we were just willing to take her. We fought and researched options with every US agency for the next 2 weeks, but ultimately we realized we were out of time.
Even in the best case scenario, the Thai authorities would have needed 8 weeks to translate all the documents and prepare the girl for adoption. Once that was done we would have needed to provide those documents to the US, adding another 2-4 weeks. After that we need a minimum of 6 months to complete the adoption in Thailand. It just wasn’t going to work out for us before we moved even if there was a solution…and there wasn’t.
Some of you who are very knowledgeable in adoption may wonder why we didn’t go with the non-hague process using the IR3 Visa. We considered this for a long time, but for this process to work we would have had to keep the adoptive child out of the country for a full 2 years after the adoption was finalized. While we could have done this and hoped for an overseas assignment, after talking it over we realized that it simply wasn’t worth trusting the Air Force to make that happen. In addition, anything unforeseen circumstances such as sickness or accident would have required a return to the US for the family. Our little girl couldn’t have come with us. It just wasn’t worth it; we decided that while we were not giving up on finding our little girl, we could not continue to pursue adoption in Thailand.
When you decide to change direction in adoption it’s not a simple process. Much of what you have done will be wasted. For us, that amounted to about a year of time spent navigating the Thai and US system, learning the intricacies of the Immigration process, and making contacts both here and in the states. For us that also meant blowing through a lot of money that we will never see again. I know it’s taboo to talk about money and use actual dollar amounts, but I’m willing to share with you. We lost over 10,000 dollars in various fees and payments! This is not an insignificant amount for our family, but we are really just more disappointed that it makes the next step more difficult. We will find a way to earn the money back. It won’t be easy, but we are more worried about the time that we will never get back.
That being said, we are in a good position to save time on the next process thanks to our home study social worker. She feels so bad that this has happened to us, that she is willing to make the required changes to the home study free of charge. She just needs to know what we’re going to do. I’m sure you’re curious as well.
We’ve decided to go with a domestic adoption. This will involve a shorter, yet more costly process than other options. It is also a more sure thing. Most consultants (those who match Prospective Adoptive Parents (PAPs) with birth mothers say their average time is less than 6 months. With our move coming up in the summer, this short timeline is ideal for us. Our only hang-up is that we are not fulfilling our commitment to help the Thai people that we have come to know and love. We are working on a way to do this, and have a few ideas, and we’ll get back to you, our friends and loyal readers once we have a good plan.
Ultimately, we are still excited and motivated for adoption. We know the need to help children is great both in the US and abroad. We know we have the means and the love to add to our family. Thank you for joining us and following this journey. Knowing you’re out there thinking about us and praying for us and our little girl makes a huge difference.