New to Adoption: Is it ok to be picky? — The Bump

New to Adoption: Is it ok to be picky?

After 5 years TTC, we have decided to pursue adoption.  We are looking in the Atlanta GA area for agencies that handle international adoption.

Ideally, we would love to adopt a healthy Asian girl.  We have always wanted a daughter, and we don't know how many children we will be able to parent, so we would choose a girl if there is an option.  We want to adopt from an Asian country because we have always been interested in Asian cultures and feel that it would be easier to bond with a child if we already share something in common. So far we have seen opportunities listed for special needs children, but we are hoping to find a child without additional medical challenges for our first experience so we have as few hurdles as possible.  

We have struggled through IF and now our initial steps of getting involved with adoption seem to be a challenge as well, but we are ready for the journey. A few agencies have already said that they could not meet our requirements when we asked for these preferences.

I thought I could ask here if it is even acceptable to have a preferred child in mind or if we should just consider it to be a take-what-you-can-get situation.  I hope this doesn't come across uncaring or snobbish.  We really have come a long way in our acceptance of the idea of adopting a child rather than having a bio child and we want to do all we can to make it a good experience. we are finally excited about the idea, but we don't want to get our hopes up if there is no chance of getting the child that we feel would be the best fit for us. 

 Thanks :)

TTC for 5 years, with 2 failed IUIs. Excited to grow our family through international adoption!
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Re: New to Adoption: Is it ok to be picky?

  • The most important thing I was told/read throughout our research process was this:

    You have to be honest about what kind of child you can parent.  

    I will say too, that the idea of what kind of child we thought we could parent changed the further we got into our process, so I think it's good to keep an open mind as you research.  

    Good luck! 



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  • I think it's OK to be picky to a certain extent, as long as you are aware that you may be waiting a lot longer than someone who has fewer requirements.  Do your research on the countries that interest you most, find agencies that work with those countries, and then figure out if they can meet your other requests.
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  • I think you need to decide what type of adoption you want to pursue first which you have -  you want to look into international adoption.  At that point, you have to ask yourself if you are open to adopting a child with special needs or not; you've done that already, too.  There is nothing wrong with making those decisions - you need to do that to continue the process.  For us, we adopted domestically and had to take it a step further and decide if we were okay with certain levels of alcohol or drug use during the pregnancy.  Not easy decisions but still decisions that have to be made.

    We, too, had originally discussed adopting from China.  However, once we found out that the wait was at least 3 years to adopt a healthy child, we decided that it might not be the best route for us.  I talked with another couple at our agency at one of our meetings and they had been waiting for a referral for China for FIVE years.  I would recommend you talking with your agency and seeing what they estimate for a wait time.

    Best of luck to you and welcome :)  It's a good board to be a part of.

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  • I don't think there is anything wrong with "being picky", if you are ok with a longer wait time.

    For us the most important factor was being able to parent from birth. We were flexible in many areas, but picky in others. We wanted a newborn so we chose "domestic newborn adoption". We ended up with a very short "wait" and our daughter has a perfect family medical history, no exposure to drugs or alcohol, and actually looks like us (as much as a 2 month old can).

    Only you and your husband know what is right for you and what situations you want to pursue. Best of luck to you!!

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  • Yes, its okay to be picky. As the PP mentioned, as you do more research you can decide how serious of a special need you and your family can handle. Remeber, you want a good placement for the child and the family.

    I just chatted with my social worker yesterday about the most common need on the Wating child list for China. It is cleft palette/lip, heart defects and limb differences. All of these are probably not going to affect the cognitive development of the child. They are minor and correctable. Granted, the cleft palette/lip is going to require surgeries..but in doing research, the cleft teams here in the states have come so far with their technologies that the cleft lip and palette undergo surgeries pretty quickly. It wont be fixed entirely but it will be repaired to great extent. It is the most common birth defect in the US with many all inclusive teams (surgereons, pediatric nurses, audologists, and speech pathologists) nationwide. You gotta repair it pretty quickly as the cleft lip and palette effect the eating and speech.

    We are going to picky in the sense that we want to look at the developmental report with a fine tooth and comb. You have to expect that the child is going to be behind due to the orphanage. But it is expected they catch up within a year as long as there are not any other underlying issues. We want to make sure that aside from the cleft lip/palette, there are no underlying issues

    And remember, you can get matched up with a child and deny the match if it truly doesnt fit your family. They want whats best for the child too. You dont get penalized or pushed to the bottom of the list...well, after a few denials, you may want to have a candid conversation with the socical worker and relook at your expectations.

    Just another food for thought...As a special education teacher, the parents of my children were all biological. not one of them were adopted. They never expected that their child would have learning disablilites, autism, emotional impairments or physical impairments. But they loved and advocated for them just the same.  Its a leap of faith rather you have bio children or adopt. But from what I hear, its all worth it. :)


  • We really want to adopt a boy this time.  When we spoke to the agency, they said that unless you are absolutely sure you wouldn't want the other sex, you shouldn't specify.

    Here is what she told us: Most BMs do not want to find out the sex early for a variety of reasons, so the BM may not know the sex of the baby when she is searching for APs.  Secondly, once she has the baby, it has to be the correct sex you specified AND she has to pick you from the bunch.  

    Basically, it can take a long time before all of the factors line up in your favor.  Just thought I would pass that along since it's something we had to consider as well. 

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  • You've got a pretty specific wish list. With that will come trade offs.

    Right now, I can't think of ANY country from which the adoption of a healthy Asian girl can be completed in < 6 or 7 years. MAYBE Kaz, which has lengthy travel requirements.

    If I wanted an Asian girl specifically, I would look at China's Special Needs program as described above. HOWEVER, girls that once would have been included in that program are now in the "healthy" child program (from what I've heard through Rumor Queen), so the special needs may be more severe then they were before the big backlog.

    So you will have to compromise in terms of time, gender, ethnicity, or presence of special needs. Oh--add money.

    So you can be as picky as you want. But it will have an impact one way or another.

  • I think it's ok to be picky to an extent, as long as you keep in mind that you will probably have to give on a few things.

    I would choose 2 or 3 really important thing and stick with that.

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  • My sister adopted 2 girls- one from Vietnam, one from China. Both times she requested a healthy girl and I don't think her wait was terribly long... Maybe a bit more than a year. That was a few years ago so maybe things have changed but they were told the wait would be long if asking for a boy (everyone adopting at the same time as them when they went was matched with a girl- no boys).


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  • image kaitylin:
    My sister adopted 2 girls- one from Vietnam, one from China. Both times she requested a healthy girl and I don't think her wait was terribly long... Maybe a bit more than a year. That was a few years ago so maybe things have changed but they were told the wait would be long if asking for a boy (everyone adopting at the same time as them when they went was matched with a girl- no boys).

    Vietnam is closed and China has a 6+ year wait.

  • Many adoption professionals will say that it's important to understand what "healthy" means from an IA perspective.   You may also want to understand the differences between countries and their use of foster care vs orphanages since it can have an impact.  

    Another thing to consider/educate yourself on is the stability of the country's program.  As PP stated, Vietnam is closed. 


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