View Full Version : Where do I start?

mom_to_zach_n _brady
05-20-2004, 05:27 PM
Hello everyone. My name is Paige and I am considering adoption. My husband and I would like to have a daughter (we have 2 amazing boys, 5 years and 18 months). We both don't feel like our family is complete yet.

I have a few questions. Please pardon my rambling, but this is all just so new and overwhelming.

1. Where do I start? Are there good websites to provide background/basics on dealing with adoption? An overview basically. I am assuming we will have to do international adoption but maybe not (??). I want to research all the variables before pursuing adoption. Does anyone have any input on countries that allow adoption?

2. Are we able to choose the gender? Will we be looked down upon for wanting a girl?

3. Is the 20 months/$20,000 rule of thumb true?

Am I overlooking anything? Thank you in advance for any advice you can offer.


05-20-2004, 05:43 PM
I had a wonderful link on how to get started in Ukraine...it took forever to do, and I did it for folks such as you, everytime I found a great link I would run over here and update my thread.

For some reason, right when I have now started the process my thread is gone, disappeared...and I have not idea why...

It is the second time a thread of mine that has taken forever has disappeared....

I know I don't have the energy or time to do it again but maybe an email to the Fields will help us locate it IF Ukriane interest you.
Only a bit of the info was something that will benefit other countires, it was pretty Ukraine specific....

There are two chat boards that come to mind for Ukriane...I will find them and post back here it is where I started...

I would pin point down what areas interest you and maybe start from there...

Congrats!!!! :)
AKA "mama2be"-forgot password
and Baby Boy Tristan born @UNC
Feb 25, 2003
Brother to 3 pups "gees" and 2 kitties

05-20-2004, 06:02 PM
Hi Paige,

International is certainly an option, but I don't know that it's your only option. I'd suggest looking in your library for some basic books like Adoption for Dummies. The information will be out-of-date (even if it was published in the last year or so). But, it would give you a general feel for how adoption works, domestic vs. international and so on.

I would also suggest attending adoption agency informational meetings. They usually hand out information packets with program-specific requirements and so on.

Also, if you know people who have adopted, they can be a great resource.

I haven't worked with the numbers lately, but I'm pretty sure our adoption from China will cost over $20,000--but under $25,000. Our process started in Jan. 2003 and we expect to travel to China and adopt our child this summer--most likely August. But about 2 months of that is attributable solely to our own paperwork snafus. And about 11 weeks of it to the Arlington BCIS (formerly INS, now CIS). So, your mileage would vary. And every country is a different and domestic is a quite different process.

Hope this helps a little!

05-20-2004, 09:03 PM
We adopted a girl from Guatemala in 2001 using Small Miracles Internation in OK. We are now in the process of adopting another little girl from China using FTIA in IN. Visit www.ftia.org. FTIA has a wonderful website which gives lots of basic information on different international programs. Costs, timelines, dossier info, and other things are all compared so you can make an informed decision. Other agencies also have great websites like Children's Hope International and Holt. Start with those. A good resourse is Adoptive Families Magazine and the Complete Adoption Book.

You may email me privately for more information.

05-20-2004, 09:57 PM

Here's your thread I think:



05-20-2004, 10:08 PM
It's not showing up on the boards unless I am really overlooking out of two pages...
Did you find it archived????
...anyway thank you, but would love to know what happened to it...this is the second thread that has disappeared regarding Ukraine, one was filled with folks who wanted to help me collect items and now this one, both probably being the most important threads I have ever written, or been apart of to me...I am so confused why they are no longer here...
AKA "mama2be"-forgot password
and Baby Boy Tristan born @UNC
Feb 25, 2003
Brother to 3 pups "gees" and 2 kitties

05-20-2004, 11:41 PM
No, I saw it. I'll bump it to the top for you.

The other post was in the Lounge though, right? It may have been archived. I'll try and find it, but if its archived, then I don't think there's a way to get to it without contacting the Fields.

05-21-2004, 12:11 AM
Here's the other thread I think you mean:


05-21-2004, 12:55 AM
It seems a lot of your questions have already been answered. Just to let you know - you are able to request gender and you won't be looked down on for asking a girl. Worldwide, more people wish to adopt girls than boys (statistically - I don't know why that it is but it's not a large difference, 60/40, I think). So, some countries may have requirements about adopting a girl, but it is usually if you already have boys, which you do.

I think you'll find that most people tend to be experts on the particular country they adopted from and know only a little about the other countries. I'm pretty sure I've seen listed in this forum people who have adopted domestically, from China, Korea, Guatemala, Columbia, looking into Romania (Neve - I don't balme you for being upset that post disappeared - it was very comprehensive - I wonder if a link to the post could be pinned to the top?) - I'm sure I've missed some countries - sorry to whomever I missed.

Edited to say: Oh, Neve's post is back. Forget it.

05-21-2004, 01:44 AM
Hi Paige,

Based on our experience, I'll try to answer your questions...

>1. Where do I start? Are there good websites to provide
>background/basics on dealing with adoption? An overview
>basically. I am assuming we will have to do international
>adoption but maybe not (??). I want to research all the
>variables before pursuing adoption. Does anyone have any
>input on countries that allow adoption?

The websites mentioned already are good places to start. We (I) researched about a year before deciding which adoption road to take. If you're interested in domestic open adoption, this agency has some good generic info on open adoption experiences (this is not the agency we used, but I got a lot of the basics off their site). They also have a good suggested reading list.

>2. Are we able to choose the gender? Will we be looked down
>upon for wanting a girl?

I don't think you'll be looked down upon, especially since you alreay have 2 boys. I was surprised to find that in my research most Americans prefer to adopt girls. (Not sure why) Internationally, some countries have more girls available (China is almost always girls) and others have mostly boys. So your country choice in international adoption may be limited by your desire to have a girl. I know that Korea allows you to choose a girl if you already have a boy. In domestic adoption, the time you would wait for a placement may be longer if you want a girl vs. being open to either gender.

>3. Is the 20 months/$20,000 rule of thumb true?
Our experience was 9 months/$15,000--It is a lot of money, but we will get most of our adoption expenses back after my company's adoption assitance and the state and federal tax credit. Also, if you adopt domestically you can start claiming your adoption fees on your Federal taxes BEFORE your adoption is finalized, which can help tremendously in covering adoption expenses.

>Am I overlooking anything? Thank you in advance for any
>advice you can offer.
I would just suggest that you research, research, research. It will lead you toward what adoption path to take. When we started our adoption journey, we were sure we wanted a girl and were sure we did not want to do an open adoption. After a lot of research, we ended up adopting our son through a very open adoption arrangement, and I really can't imagine it working out any better than it did. Also, as you research you will find there are many, many children in the world needing parents--it can be heartbreaking at times.

HTH, good luck in your journey!

Mom to Jeremiah 2/4/03
and our 'first' Curie (6 year old Golden Retriever)

05-21-2004, 12:58 PM
I'm going to try not to repeat anything anyone has said already.

Where you adopt from (internationally or domestically) depends a lot I guess on what your "criteria" is in terms of picking a country or a situation. For example if you want a very young child (younger than 6 months of age), domestic adoption is probably the only way to go that guarantees your child will be younger than 6 months by the time she is placed in your arms (not saying that there aren't countries where a child could be home before 6 months of age BUT there is absolutely no guarantee)

There are any number of sources that list the countries that are currently open for international adoption

For general information you can check out the state dept. website

The Adoption Resource Center of CT now maintains the Report on International Adoption http://www.arcct.org/resources/report.shtml which is a huge book relatively speaking that lists most every country that allows international adoption AND maintains an independent list of agencies that work with that country that have maintained a standard of excellence (according to the books sources). They are not the starts of the project and I'm not sure how well it is maintained now but if you are unsure of a country or agency and you have $25 to spare or are willing to spend then it might be something you are interested in. The front of the book use to have any number of articles on international adoption that were also interesting.

The time and money things is completely country dependent. For example a country like Haiti may be a lot less expensive but the children tend to be older and with the current state of affairs in Haiti travel isn't exactly as secure as one might like (more so then other countries at the present time) On the other hand a country like Guatemala tends to be more expensive but the children are younger and travel requirements are relatively short (about 3 to 5 days), then with Russia the expenses may fall between the other two but often two trips are required and the wait for a referral may or may not be longer.

In the end it's about balance. When looking at international adoption, for most people no country is perfect or should I say no program is perfect but you have to weigh what is important to you and what you are financially, emotionally and physically able to handle as a family. For most people in no particular order the deciding factors are often age of the children available, the childrens current living conditions, the race/cultural of the children, the length of travel required, the wait for a referral, how much information is received about a childs background and the over all cost oh and boy or girl (for example someone wanting to adopt a boy would rarely look to adopt from China). If you exclude china from the mix the number of children adopted each year is pretty equal boys vs girls but because more people tend to state a preference for a girl (for a variety of reasons) the wait in many countries if often longer for a girl (even if the number of girls and boys is equal as it is in most countries because more people request girls the wait is often longer)

When it comes to fees in inter. adoption they really break down into 5 distinct (more or less) segments.

The fees you pay to the USCIS/formerly BCIS/formerly INS--these are set fees and are the same for everyone. You can also add fees you pay for your childs visa in there but that you pay at the end of your journey as compared to the beginning still it's a fixed amount no matter what country.

The second set of fees are those you pay for your homestudy. That is state dependent although it can vary within different agencies with in a state there is more difference between states then there are within a state (for example a homestudy in CA might run 2000 and one in Ohio might run 1500--these aren't real numbers just that showing that you can compare across states)

The third set of fees which are the bulk of your fees are those paid to your placement agency (or if you are adopting independently to who ever is helping you). These are the ones that vary the most but you have to know what you are paying for to compare. Agency fees break down into groups application fees, the agency fee, the country fee perhaps a document fee.

The fourth set of fees are your travel fees to and from the country. These will also vary depending on country and how you travel and where you stay and what you do in country. Some countries are pretty fixed (I'm pretty sure with China you stay as a group in a specific Hotel where as with Guatemala you may have your choice of hotels in Russia you might choice between several levels of hotels or home stays)

Finally the five set of fees aren't really fees at all (well mostly not fees) but simply the cost of gathering documents. If you need to get passports, photocopyings, dossier prep fees, notary's fees if you can't get one for free, medical exams, copies of your birth and marriage cert. the cost of mailing or fed exing stuff all these add up

I don't know if anyone has mentioned it but there is a tax credit of currently 10,160 which you can take if you adopt international in the year the adoption is finalized. WHile you still have to have the money up front it does mean that you will pay the IRS less so it takes a bit of the sting out of the over all cost. Also some employers have adoption benefits and up to 10,160 of that is considered tax fee income (so if your employer gives you 10,000 towards the adoption and you have a 10,160 tax credit your over all out of pocket expenses are nothing when all is said and done if the adoption cost you 20,160

http://www.adoptivefamilies.com/ magazines website is another excellent resource for both information on domestic and international adoption

Finally the National adoption information clearhouse can also be a good source of information


05-21-2004, 01:15 PM
It appears the thread has been moved to the original page, and I notice (atleast on my screen) that even your bump caused it to be there, so it is not in the sequence that it once was which is where my confusion has been. So it appeared that it dissapeared but if you look at the dates of it it should be not be so far back.

I'm starting to wonder if I changed something on my computer setting that might not be showing things in order based on how recetn they have been updated. I say for Steve updated my pictures a week ago of my baby pictures and he took it upon himself to change my settings where he thought I'd like them better, I thought I had changed them back but now wonder if I did only 1/2 way.

When you bumped it did it bring it to the more recent threads or is it on page 1 for you????

Anyway thank you for finding it...
AKA "mama2be"-forgot password
and Baby Boy Tristan born @UNC
Feb 25, 2003
Brother to 3 pups "gees" and 2 kitties

05-21-2004, 02:33 PM
Hi Paige,

You've received some great information for the other ladies here, so I won't add too much. I just wanted to add my favorite web site that serves as a launching board for web surfing on adoption: www.adopting.com It is basically an index of all sorts of web sites related to adoption, but it also has some great "where do I start" sections.

Best Wishes!

:) Kristin
Adopting #1 from Korea
It's a Boy! Theo was born 1/12/2004!
Awaiting his safe arrival home

mom_to_zach_n _brady
05-21-2004, 03:02 PM
Just wanted to say thank you for all the info so far. How generous. I haven't even been able to read everything, but I WILL!

Thanks again and perhaps I'll hang around (depending on what we decide/learn).

05-21-2004, 04:11 PM
Hmm. I found it on the "first" page of the Adoption forum, but towards the bottom of the page. I think you have your settings set up so that you see all the subject lines for a thread, not just them mean header, yes? (i.e., You are NOT viewing in collapsed view). That may make it harder for you to find the thread, but I'm not sure.

To re-sort the threads by date, at the top of the Adoption forum page (and any forum page) there is a list entitled "Topics sorted by". Click on "Last updated date" in that list and it should sort the threads by update date, if they are not already.


Kimberly H
05-21-2004, 08:32 PM
Paige, I think you got all of the information you need to get started researching!

I just wanted to welcome you to the Adoption board and offer any help I can give, especially about 2 boys and wanting a girl or adopting from China. My boys are teenagers now ::sniff:: and Mia has brought such joy and wonder to our lives.

Good luck!

05-25-2004, 02:08 PM
Hey all, first post. I've been a long time lurker so I figure it's time to contribute. We brought our DD home in July of 2003, after what was probably one of the fastest private domestic adoptions out there - from home study to baby in under four months. We will be finalizing our adoption is just a couple of weeks. It's a grueling and at times invasive process, but the destination is worth the journey.
1. Where do I start?
I would say find a reputable agency or adoption attorney in your area and attend an information session. The first thing you will likely have to decide is domestic or international. Domestic is generally faster than international (contrary to what you may believe), you will likely get a newborn, and it may likely be an "open" adoption. International tends to be less expensive, you may get an older (6 months or more) child, and you can select a gender.

2. Are we able to choose the gender? Will we be looked down upon for wanting a girl?
I'll let the international adopters answer this one, but I think it depends on the country. For domestic adoptions, since you're often hooked up with a birthmother before the baby is born, it's up to the fates.

3. Is the 20 months/$20,000 rule of thumb true?
Ourse was 4 four months and well north of $20,000. That includes home study, attorney fees, advertising and travel. This varies pretty siginificantly by area and how far you are willing to travel. But I would say expect to spend $15-20K minimum for domestic. Wait times for domestic is typically between 12-18 months.

Good luck with your decision. Taking the first step is often the hardest, but it will be well worth it.