The Stan Family

September 27, 2006 at 8:07 pm 2 comments

So I’ve been asked a few times lately how we came to choose to adopt from Kyrgyzstan. I remember myself thinking and worrying about how to choose a country and how to choose an agency. I launched into my usual tendencies to read and research something to death. I like doing that and so does my husband. It’s a good thing to have in common because I think you could really bug the carp out of someone by this kind of behavior. My husband can recall part numbers. I can tell you weight restrictions on strollers. You get the idea. So, I found out that to adopt from China, it is about a two year process. Since we had decided to adopt, we wanted to adopt now. Or now-ish. Many international adoption programs are taking right around a year give or take a few months. It can be less depending on a few factors. Having no gender preference and being open to an older infant can really speed things up. I was told that 90% of adopting couples prefer a girl, and so if you are requesting a girl it can take a bit longer.

So, armed with that information, I searched my fanny off online. I rang up aqencies and I was happy to discover that every person I talked to was eager to talk my ear off and answer all of my questions. I had about 5 conversations with agencies and I talked with each of them for about 45 minutes. I was quickly learning the lingo. A program is the relationship and process it takes to adopt from a particular country. A Home study is where you prove on paper and in person that you are fit parents. A dossier is a collection of papers much like the ones in your home study that go to the country from which you are adopting. It gets translated and reviewed by their adoption people. A referral is when they have selected a particular child for you to consider based on the things you have requested such as gender and age.

What I was hearing from multiple agency directors that the programs with the shortest timelines were Russia, Kazakhstan and Guatemala. If you wanted a boy from Guatemala, the referrals were coming within 3-4 months which is crazy fast. So, I read and called and read some more. Russia, it seemed was just coming back from a period of suspended adoptions in America. They took away the accreditations of American agencies to adopt from Russia so that they could take some time to firm up their adoption laws. This added a lot of time to people who were about to adopt from Russia. Also, it meant that their new laws were slowing down the process. That didn’t sound good to me so I began to look at Guatemala and Kazakhstan. Basically at this point my three criteria were:
1. Fast
2. Healthy
3. Girl

To me it didn’t matter where. I kept looking inside myself for hidden prejudice. I imagined myself holding a Guatemalan baby, an Eurasian baby, an Ethiopian baby (not that I’d look anything like Angelina Jolie) and honestly, no matter which child I was holding, I still had the same response. “Give me that baby! I have got to get my hands on that baby!!!” I fully admit to being baby-crazy. I shamelessly flirt with any baby I see. I offer to babysit friends’ babies. And I wasn’t naive enough to dismiss the realities that some time in the future someone was going to say something stupid and/or racist to me or my family.

Ok, so when all this thinking was going on, I called Adoption Options in San Diego. I talked to the director and asked him all about their Kazakhstan program and how long those referrals were taking. I told him that a fast adoption was of the utmost importance. He talked to me about Kazakhstan and then brought up that they had a newer program from Kyrgyzstan. He mentioned that it was a new program because the Kyrgyzstan government had just created international adoption laws in the last year. You know, I didn’t have the courage to say that I didn’t know where that was, or even Kazakhstan for that matter. I was sure it was Eastern Europe and most likely a former Soviet republic, but that’s all I knew. He said it was by Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan. “It’s in the Stan family.” In 2005, 2 children were adopted from Kyrgyzstan by Americans. As I write this, there have been 7 adoptions this year. Adoption Options, in partnership with Frank Adoption Center, are the only agency to have completed Kyrgyzstan adoptions in this country. Several other agencies have Kyrgyzstan programs, but at this writing to the best of my knowledge, they haven’t completed any placements yet. The director told me that the government was not creating red tape for prospective adoptive parents and that the quality of the baby houses and orphanages was very good. The babies and children were given affection and love and quality care. Then he told me that the referrals were happening quickly. What this meant in real time is that after completing our home study, we would most likely be getting a referral in 3-4 months’ time. WOAH. I was thinking to myself, “Where’s the checkbook?” I told myself to chill and perhaps maybe I should ask maybe one or two more questions and perhaps talk to a family who had been through a Kyrg. adoption. Which I did. I talked with everyone. I joined a yahoo group. I called the director a few more times. I read about Kyrgyzstan and its people. I felt something. I already felt connected to it. Something told me that this was the country. So, I sent away for the information pack and the registration form. I asked the director for the name of the agency for a home study. This was it. The decision had been made. Oh, uh, how much was it going to cost? I restrained myself when he said that including travel, it would be around 35K. I forced a breezy response. I’m sure that’s probably not possible, but I did my best to fake it. Yikes. I’ll figure all that out later. Don’t think about it!

So, that’s how we chose a country from the Stan family.

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Entry filed under: Adoption, International Adoption, Kyrgyzstan.

The beautiful people Issues, issues everywhere.

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. imhelendt  |  September 28, 2006 at 3:50 pm

    YOW! 35k? I guess I better come see you instead of you coming to see me. 😉 And for 35k, cuteness is a requirement too. lol. You don’t want a nappy ass, fugly baby for 35k. rofl.

    Reply
  • 2. imhelendt  |  October 5, 2006 at 6:59 pm

    Ahem. THere’s this new invention called blogging. You should do it.

    Reply

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