Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Crazy New Idea

You know what totally crazy thing I've been thinking about a lot lately?

Adopting a baby girl from China.

This is not a new thought, but it has recently resurfaced. The other day Mr. Ashley and I were out at lunch when I said, "You know what I would like to do?"

"What?" probably thinking I wanted ice cream.

"Adopt a baby girl from China, or maybe Korea. In a few years."

"What?? Really?" he asked, appearing confused and worried.

"Yes," I answered, "I would love a little girl but I don't really want to be pregnant again."

"No?" he asked, looking a little surprised and disappointed.

"No. Not really. Ever. To get all fat again and have big leaky boobs and do the whole hospital thing and the hormonal post-partum thing? Breastfeeding again? Yeah, making babies is cool but it's really hard on me. I don't know if I want to do it again. Also, the world feels scary to me right now. I don't know if I'd want to bring new people into it."

"Oh. You really think you could adopt?"

"Yes! She would be my daughter no matter where she came from. Do you think you could?"

"Yes," he said cautiously, "I'd love her."

"I think the adoption experience would be neat. We would go to her country to get her, we would study her culture, we would all be so lucky to have each other. It would be as amazing but totally different from having our own."

Mr. Ashley looked a little worried. I think he was remembering the persistence I showed in wanting a Hedgehog. "Yeah. How much does that sort of thing cost?"

"A lot. Like $25,000 or so." I believe I saw a combination of relief and slight disappointment--or maybe it was fear that I'd find a way to make it happen. (although this may have been in my imagination, he could have been pondering his sandwich for all I know.)

"That is a lot. I don't know how we'd..."

"I know. I know. There's a tax credit. I could write a book about it. I know, I really do. It probably won't ever happen. But one day if it was possible could we consider it?"

"Could we name her Bailey Madison?"

"I'm over the middle name. I kind of like Amelia or Emilia. Or something else."

"No. You said Bailey Madison when we met and that's what I've wanted ever since."

"Yeah, but since then the name 'Madison' got popular. Your friend named his kid that."

"That's what I want. If we have a daughter, I want that to be her name."

So...we're already fighting about names. I think this is a good sign.

I also think the probability of me coming up with an extra $25,000 or so in the next decade are pretty slim, but it is fun to think about (and obsessively research...)

26 comments:

Nikky said...

My english professor last semester had two daughters from China. Gorgeous little girls, and he and his wife made a big effort to have them know their culture... although I guess the girls were over the whole "new Chinese language" thing pretty quickly.

Betcha BK would have a blast instructing her all about her native country, and learning about it :)

Kaye said...

Good luck, but you will need to at least double that estimate. I had a friend that it cost over $50,000 in 2005.

Ashley said...

I've seen it cost up to $60k, but found 2 agencies that said between $20-30k for certain areas of China or Korea. Highly unlikely any of the above numbers would ever be possible anyway though.

Nikky, Big Kid would love it. Big Kid is completely baby crazy.

Jenna & Jordan's Mommy said...

I have a friend that adopted one little girl from China and just recently (within the last month) adopted another little girl from Taiwan...Taiwan was much less expensive and MUCH faster...I'd love more babies too, but am in NO WAY wanting to be pregnant again...Two was all I could handle!

Patience said...

I love the idea of adopting a child from China or Korea, but holy S*it I had no idea it cost that much. That is totally crazy!! You should start a fundraiser on your blog or get companies to donate stuff and you could auction them off. Just some suggestions.

cMe said...

You should! My mother's friend (she's in her 40s) adopted a little boy about six years ago when he was an infant. He is one of the cutest, smartest, funniest little guys I've met!

Great blog - I linked over from Clemsongirl.

Anonymous said...

If you want my honest opinion, I think that adoption is great. However, I do think that you should adopt a baby from the U.S. and not from another country. I think that so many people think about adopting from other countries before adopting from our own, and forget about all of the parentless children that we have among us. I am not saying that children from other countries are “not worthy” or any crazy thing like that, but I do believe we need to help ourselves (the people of our country) before we can help others, and once we are back in a better situation, then we can start helping everyone like we used to do.

Ashley said...

I agree with you Anonymous, but selfishly, I really want a daughter and it is exponentially more difficult to adopt domestically if you want to choose the gender. Also, the birth mothers have more rights and I am unwilling to share the baby or have someone swoop back in and take her back within the first XX number of days or changing their mind once I'm standing there holding the carseat. That's too scary for me, I want the relief of knowing that child is mine as soon as I get it home.

Anonymous said...

I completely understand that. It would be heartbreaking to get so close and love a baby so much to have them be taken away. I also know it is a lot harder to adopt in the U.S., but there are just so many kids that are not wanted by their parents. Especially in today’s economy when parents are giving them up because they cannot afford to take care of them or they are so depressed that they mentally are not there for them.

Aly said...

A friend of mine just got back last week from Korea with her new daughter. She's so freakin' cute. I would love to adopt too, but the $$$ aspect is what is stopping me.

Jennifer said...

I had heard that it was getting harder to adopt from China, but I don't know if that is true. You should check out Missy at It's Almost Naptime. She knows a ton about foreign adoption and she is getting ready to adopt a baby from Africa. She has all kinds of links and information and stuff (don't you love that technical lingo).

Life, Love And Lola said...

What a lucky little girl she would be to score you as a mom!

Anonymous said...

Bailey Madison sounds a little too close to "Billy Madison" don't cha think?

Just sayin'

I think adoption is a wonderful idea! Goodluck to you!

Katie W. said...

Okay, seriously, I have been thinking the same thing. I have 3 kids. 12,5, and 20 months. NO WAY do I want to go through pregnancy or birth again. But lately, I feel pulled to adopt from China, India, Ukraine.....
My husband, unfortunately is just fine with three kids....

Megan said...

Do you read http://www.heartontheline.com/ ?

I have been following her journey since the beginning and I am sure she would answer any questions you would have. She just got her baby last week.

kelly bee said...

We adopted our three and had the most wonderful experiences. I get so excited when I hear that someone else is considering it. There were times when I didn't know where the money for the next installment would come from and it somehow worked out. It's been that way for most people we know. China takes a long, long time so you could do a lot of fundraising while you wait.

Ashley said...

Thank you Megan! I knew Wendy from my BBC days and have been thinking about her and wondering what happened with Clarissa, but forgot her blog address. Her daughter is adorable!!

Kelly bee, that's awesome! Have you blogged about it? Going to go check for pics now.

kelly bee said...

I blog about it here and there. Our whole story is summed up here http://chickenbusdiaries.blogspot.com/2007/08/long-way-round-our-story.html and our agency all 3 times was Carolina Adoption Services.

Joy said...

we have a friend who had a fund raiser for their adoption from russia.

My cousin adopted from Russia also and they are in the process of doing it again.

Wendy said...

Hi! :) If you want more info on adoption I would love to answer your questions!

When it was all said and done I think our adoption cost about $35,000. The tax credit helps in theory, but unless the government decides to extend it, it's actually only available through 2010 and you probably wouldn't be able to claim it by then if you started the adoption process now. Also, you can't claim it until the adoption is finalized. We paid a lot of the money in 2007, when we started the adoption process, and we won't be able to claim the tax money until next year, so it doesnt really help you as you're going through the process.

As far as adopting a baby from the US instead of a foreign country....*sigh* I hear that a lot. If you're interested in adopting a healthy infant, adopting from the US isn't easy and there really aren't lots of healthy infants waiting for homes. I have friends who have been trying to adopt a healthy infant from the US for years with no luck.
It's not as simple as it sounds.

If you're interested in adopting an older child or a special needs child, I think the "adopt from the US" argument might be more valid, but not everyone is in the position to do that.

There are also so many birth mother issues and other things that come along with adopting from the US. I think people who haven't really researched adoption that much sometimes don't realize all the issues that come along with adoption and don't really understand it. "Adopt from the US" is nice idea in theory, but it's really not that simple.

I can't look at Clarissa and think that she's any less worthy of a happy family because she wasn't born in the US. Healthy infants in the US will find homes easily in most cases. Healthy infants in Korea would likely spend their lives in an orphanage or living with the unhappy stigma of being adopted in Korea if it wasn't for international adoptions. They spent the first five months of Clarissa's life trying to find a Korean family to adopt her and were unsuccessful, and after five months the chances of finding a Korean family are slim to none. The only chance for a happy life for her was to be adopted overseas. "too bad for her, she's not American" just isn't a valid argument to me.

If you are interested in adopting from China or Korea, there are a few things to consider. China has an EXTEMELY long waiting list right now. Up for four years in some cases. China also has a lot of qualification rules that you'd want to look into before you consider. A lot of people don't qualify.

Korea is a much easier country to adopt from, but the rumor is that they're working on closing the international program within the next few years, so if you're considering it you would want to get started soon. Also, Korea only works with a limited number of agencies in the US, so you'd have to check and see if you can even do a Korean adoption in your state. In our case there wasn't a single agency in the entire state of Idaho who does Korean adoptions. There is only one agency in the whole country who works with Idaho and it's in Seattle, Washington. That's who we ended up adopting through and they were wonderful, but we were lucky that it was even an option. You'll want to do a google search and see if there are agencies that work with your state. Some states are only able to place special needs children from Korea.

If China or Korea doesn't work for you, there are many other wonderful countries to adopt from. We researched the pros and cons of pretty much every international adoption program before we chose Korea. Korea ended up being the best option for our situation, but I know many people who have adopted from other countries and have had wonderful experiences.

Sorry for the novel! Adoption is obviously a topic close to my heart! Let me know if you have more questions!

Ashley said...

Wendy, Clarissa is amazing! After seeing her pictures last night, Mr. Ashley and I ended up talking kind of seriously about it (which is very difficult with Mr. Ashley, he rarely does serious).

We both really like the idea, but fiscally we are in no position to adopt a child now (even if we somehow came up with the money to do it--things need to feel more stable first). So the big plan is to seriously get our financial ducks in a row via a 5-year-plan, with the motivation being that we could make the decision to adopt if we wanted. (So, the real goal would be to feel comfortable starting the process in 4 years.)

A ton has changed in my life in 5 years, who is to say it won't again in the next 5? Hopefully for the better? The boys would be 8 and 11 and we will have had enough time to really figure out if it would be the best thing for all of us.

We all know I'm not ultra-religious, but I truly believe that this would be a "meant to be" sort of thing. If there is a little girl out there that God wants me to have, then I think my path will take me there and maybe He'll help me better manage my time and talents to get there. If it doesn't work out, then it wasn't meant to be (and that thought makes me sad, but it is a possibility. I have a lot to take care of first).

It really is good motivation though! Talk about something worth sacrificing for!

I will be following your journey with Clarissa in the meantime though!

Anonymous said...

Adopt a Spanish baby :)

~Gretchen~ said...

Everything else we own comes from China, why shouldnt our kids?

Doodles said...

It is so interesting that you had this thought when I just posted something sort of different but the same lines about A conversation of sorts with God. I would love love to able to get preg. again but physically I really don't think my body could handle it. You may want to head over for a read...I am very interested in what happens with your story and if you do eventual get to adopt. I think if we adopted we would try to adopt from here possibly open just because I know that as a child that has a stepfather that is more like a dad I am always looking for my real father's approval. So if it was open the child would always know... any way if you want could check out my converstation with God..sort of.

Anonymous said...

@Gretchen: LOL, seriously, that was good.

My cousin adopted two kids from the US, and they are white, but they were crack babies, so have all sorts of issues. They also have 4 older siblings, so the parents have to decide whether to let their now "privileged" children see the foster-care siblings. It is a mess, especially because there are now biological babies that are close in age to the adopted kids.

If this next baby is a boy, I am already working on getting my husband to agree to adopting a girl. I am leaning towards Russia or the Ukraine though.

~Gretchen~ said...

mixing adopted and bio kids is not without challenges and interracial challenges present themselves, but i think it is getting easier with our kids' generation than it was in the past

when we first brought dixie home to adopt she was 3.5 and in the gymnastics class were 3 other kids. her new 3 year old sister, a little girl who was adopted and another girl whose mom was adopted. it seems like we run into other adoption stories every time we turn around

and families are so crazily complicated these days that no one seems to bat an eye at non-nuclear families anymore. makes adoption a whole lot easier on the kids