Today a friend shared a conversation she had with a person who changed her mind about donating an item for our auction when she realized we were adopting Crista from overseas. It was very sad and it frustrated my friend. She has a kind and giving heart and was upset that someone would refuse to help a child just because she wasn't born in the United States.
I know that many people look at international adoption as a "status thing". While I'm sure there are some people out there who adopt from abroad for that reason (they like the idea of an "exotic" or "special" child), most don't. In fact, I've never met a single person adopting a special needs child internationally who thought this way.
When we decided to adopt our sweet daughter, it wasn't because we were planning to adopt a child or felt that our family needed to be larger. The truth is... we felt a connection to this little girl. It wasn't a case of "we want another child". It was a case of "this child needs US".
We have been criticized for not saving/raising more money before beginning our adoption process. The answer to that question (why didn't you wait) is pretty simple, too. Crista's file was due to be returned to the ministry within two weeks unless someone stepped up to commit to her. At the time, we thought this meant she would lose her only chance to be adopted because she is considered "un-adoptable" in her home country. (Yes, I know some people would argue this point, but it it plainly and sadly stated in her referral paperwork) We searched our hearts and took a leap of faith. We decided that this sweet girl should be our daughter and we took the first steps needed to begin the adoption process.
We didn't realize that people would focus so much on where she was born! In our minds, that was a minor detail. Yes... travel would be a hurdle that we would have to overcome, but our focus was on her. She needed a home, medical care and therapy and we could give those things to her. After all, we already have a child who has autism and has needed many therapies and interventions in the past. We felt good about the fact that we were already educated about and prepared for many of her special needs.
I know that there are many children here in the United States who need good and loving homes. I know that the adoption of one of those children would be much less expensive and take less time. I think domestic adoption is great. It's a wonderful thing and needs to happen more often. In the past, Jason and I had talked about domestic adoption as a "what if".
We never intended to adopt a child internationally. But God chose differently for us.
I spent many hours praying and asking God if this was the path we should take. I asked for guidance and a sign that we were doing the right thing. I believe his answer was "yes". Every time I've asked for guidance, I've gotten it in the form of encouragement from strangers, paperwork "miraculously" being processed super fast, receiving surprise donations or items or funds, and many other things.
I guess what I'm saying is please don't judge us if you don't know us. We're not looking adopting from abroad because we want a "status child" or because we don't believe American children aren't just as deserving of a loving home. We're adopting Crista from overseas because that's where she is! If she had been born here, we would be adopting her domestically. Heck, if she had been born on Mars, I would be trying to figure out how to book a space flight! (just joking... kind of)
The point is... it doesn't matter where she was born. She's a child and we're her family. That's really all that should matter.