The laws of every country regarding international adoption are different:
In China, prospective parents cannot be fat or have facial scars.
In Ukraine, you must travel across the world twice before the judge will give you your child.
In India, preference is given to Indians first, then Indians living abroad and then everyone else.
And if you want to adopt a child from a foreign country, you must play by their rules. That's foreign adoption lesson 101!
Madonna & Child
The media's made a great circus out of Madonna's try at adopting little Mercy. She had met the girl on her first trip to Malawi when she was adopting her son, David.
Some have compared Madonna to Angelina Jolie. But the difference between Madonna and Angelina is that the later went through adoption agencies and chose countries with guidelines she could fulfill.
Madonna chose Malawi. The law says you must live in the country for 18-24 months. Period. The government has already bent the rules for her once before when they waved the residency rule when she adopted David. Click here to read more.
I applaud Madonna for choosing to adopt from an African country. Certainly there are millions of orphans who need good homes. One loving parent is better than no parent at all.
But bottom line: you want to adopt; follow the rules. Regardless if you think the rules are worth following. What you do today, effects other families wanting to adopt from that country in the future.
The whole adoption process: the classes, the paperwork, the home study, the dossier full of your life on paper, the waiting, the anticipation, the joy when you get a phone call that you have a referral. It's all part of a wonderful journey to your child.
I should know.
A year ago tomorrow, April 4th, I was waiting in the Kenyan airport with George Thomas as we were coming back from an assignment in Rwanda when I got my call.
On a crackling mobile line, my husband said, "I just got off the phone with Christian World Adoption. We have a referral! It's a boy!"
Over the next four months, my husband and I looked at our son's picture several times a day.
We prayed for him.
We made CDs of our voices for him.
We got his room ready.
We rode the difficult emotional roller coaster of waiting.
But the first time I held my little son in my arms in a clinic in Ethiopia I realized that the months of grueling preparation were absolutely worth it. The pain of waiting, much like the pain of child bearing, was erased.
And my life was changed forever.
Ms. Madonna, to skip steps for instant gratification is to miss the life lessons you learn as you wait.and somehow miss out on part of the joy of the adoption process.
Thoughts on international adoption? E-mail me.