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Adopting from Korea - A Parent's Guide to Korean Adoption






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If you've gotten this far, chances are you're at least
a little curious about adoption.


Good. Glad to have you. The hardest part of any new journey, project, or undertaking is getting started. First, let's consider what brings you to this point.

Infertility Issues

For most of us, we begin thinking about adoption because something isn't happening biologically. Maybe you or your spouse hasn't been able to get pregnant at all -- on your own or with infertility treatments. Perhaps you've had one too many miscarriages (We began seriously thinking about adoption after my 3rd miscarriage.)

Whatever your reasons are, this is a time to be very, very honest. Start by asking yourselves some tough questions:

  • Are we ready to stop "trying" so that we can begin to explore other options with open minds and hearts?
     
  • How strongly do we feel about parenting a child who is not genetically "our own?"
     
  • How strongly do we feel about parenting a child with racial or cultural differences?
     
  • Do we have any preconceived notions about adoption and adopted persons?
     
  • Do we know any adopted people? Are there adopted relatives in our families?
     
  • Do we believe adoption, at best, is a second-best alternative to having a family?

There are many, many more questions that you should ask. Take your time to answer them. There's no rush.

Grieve a little (or a lot) for set-aside dreams. Discover for yourselves where you're "at" and go from there. You can still explore the adoption option while you're trying to figure it all out. In time you'll know where you stand and where you want to go.

I think it's important to note that not all individuals and families choose adoption because of infertility. Many make adoption their first choice above all others. (I had always wanted to give birth and parent two children. Afterwards, if my husband and I decided to have another child, adoption would have been our first choice.)

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Information Gathering

Okay, you're ready to take the next step.

Uh, now what?

Exactly. Where do you start? My first phone call was to a business friend of mine who, after years of unsuccessful infertility treatments, adopted twin boys. She gave me the names of a few local adoption agencies and perhaps the most important piece of advice I could have received.

TAKE AN ADOPTION COURSE!



They have adoption courses? Indeed they do! And it was, without a doubt, the best possible next step we could have made.

These "Introduction to Adoption" courses offer a valuable opportunity to learn (1) if adoption is right for you and (2) what kind of adoption is right for you. Ours was conducted by a Baltimore/Washington area organization called Families Adopting Children Everywhere (FACE).

This multi-hour course covered a lot of ground in a single week. Our course leader and his various speakers walked us through private adoption, open adoption, domestic adoption, international adoption, and special needs adoptions. We heard from adoption agency representatives, adoption attorneys, adoptive families with their children, and adult adoptees. We discussed the pros and cons of each option.

The "sales pitches" were limited. Mostly, it helped to solidify our decision to move forward with adoption in general. We then decided adopting internationally from Korea offered us the best fit with our family. More on that later.

There are many organizations who offer these kinds of courses, including many local and regional chapters of Resolve, the national organization devoted to infertility issues and concerns. Many adoption agencies also offer Open Houses and other informal opportunities to come in and ask questions at no charge. Take advantage of them!
 

A Child is Waiting: A Beginner's Guide to AdoptionDeveloped by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, A Child is Waiting: A Beginner's Guide to Adoption contains a step-by-step process of adoption as well as various resources to help your potential adoptive parents get some basic questions answered.

Click here to download a PDF file of the guide. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the PDF file format. Click here to download a copy of the application

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Some General Adoption Websites Worth Exploring

Here's a sampling of some adoption sites to get you started. There are many more. But these large and small sites offer a ton of information and are an excellent place to start Some are commercial, others are nonprofit and/or volunteer run. Take a look around, follow the links where they take you. You'll learn a little more with each visit. Remember, you're not in a hurry to make a decision. You're still looking for information.

USCIS - Inter-Country Adoption - overview and summary of the process

Canadian sites of interest

Australian sites of interest:

There are hundreds of egroups, large and small, devoted to adoption issues. See www.yahoogroups.com for the largest, one-stop directory of active groups.

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Is adoption the right thing to do?

The short answer is yes, but the degrees of "yes" are different. I believe that adoption is about finding loving, nurturing homes for children who need them. It shouldn't be about supplying children to families. Having said that, it's important to remember that children become available to be adopted because of the loss of birth parents. Whether it's by voluntary relinquishment, abandonment, or having parental rights forcibly terminated - adoption, at its core, is about loss of immediate families and birth ties.

Here is my stratified hierarchy of adoption and measured loss. This is what I personally believe:

  • Children should be parented by the people who bring them into the world
     
  • If that isn't possible, children should be parented by their extended birth family
     
  • If that isn't possible, children should be adopted by families who share similar racial/cultural/ethnic backgrounds in their own community/country
     
  • If that isn't possible, children should be adopted by families who live in the child's birth country
     
  • If that isn't possible, children should be adopted by families who share similar racial/cultural/ethnic backgrounds outside the child's birth country
     
  • And when that isn't possible, children should be adopted by families who will love them, care for them, and respect, acknowledge, and embrace their child's birth culture.

What's most important, of course, is that all children are loved and cared for. But for those of us who chose to adopt across the color AND cultural lines, we then accept another set of responsibilities beyond simple parenting. If you decide to adopt from Korea, you'll read more about issues of race and adoption, cultural issues, and more in this website. And yes, it's very important.

Adoption isn't (or shouldn't be, to my thinking) an act of charity. At its core, it's a decision to parent. If you come to consider adoption for any other reason, I would encourage you to consider other ways to "do the right thing", including child sponsorship, family subsidies and support, etc.


After the research and reading, course attending and soul-searching, my husband and I chose to adopt internationally. Next stop, making the decision to go with the Korea adoption program.

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Book Tip


Take an Online Adoption Course


An Open Letter to  Husbands About  Adoptive Parenthood