We met with an agency tonight to discuss the possibilities. We went in telling her that we knew we wanted a child younger than Lexi (basically three or under), any race, either gender, and only mild special needs. We were leaning toward domestic, and we don't really yearn for an infant. We were basically told that it is nearly impossible to find a child in those criteria unless you foster-to-adopt or go international. The state usually does not terminate parental rights until a child is over six years of age. There are lots of toddlers in the foster-to-adopt program, but there is strong possibility that those children will be in your home for months and then be taken back to be reunited with their family of birth. There are also lots of legal issues and time spent in court. The thought of having a child in my home and having Lexi become close to the child, and then have that child taken away. . . well. . . I cried. I don't think I could do that to her. I know I can't. I can do it to myself, but I can't do that to my child and to another child that could feel like a part of our family.
So, what are our options now? Matt and I need to do a lot of talking. I'll give you the quick rundown of the options we were given.
1. Domestic infant adoption - As I said above, we don't feel called to adopt an infant. She did explain that the fact that we were open to a child of any race made us more desirable. Apparently for every one healthy white infant there are 40 waiting families. For every one healthy African American or biracial infant there are 1-2 waiting families. She told us that we shouldn't feel like we are taking a baby away from a bunch of waiting families (one of my concerns) if we were accepting of a child of another race. It seems so awful when I type that all up, but I swore I would be candid here.
2. Foster to adopt - I already discussed above why this option seems [to be blunt] too painful for us.
3. Embryo adoption - Apparently there are way more embryos up for adoption than there are people who want to adopt them. I didn't realize that, but I do not desire to be pregnant or feel called to be.
4. Using a Facilitator - This is basically hiring a lawyer or other facilitator that works on your behalf to find a domestic adoptive fit for you. I'm slaughtering the real definition. Basically there is a very small chance that they could find a toddler whose birth parents have given up parental rights. Usually they do domestic infant adoptions.
5. International adoption - There are several countries and various pros and cons of all of them. I am overwhelmed just thinking about it. The countries that we discussed were Korea, China, Rwanda, Ethiopia & Poland. I'm back to research phase.
So all of that to say that we left with a home study packet. I still really want to do this, but it appears that domestic toddler adoption is a rare thing. It sounds so odd, but I feel like I'm mourning a child I never had. I don't know. I'm emotional and my head is spinning with information. There is more that I would like to share, but it's bedtime.