1. You will be expected to jump through hoops. When something is requested of you do not ask why just do it and do it fast! YOUR adoption will not happen without work from YOU.
2. Nothing is impossible. It may be difficult to obtain a document in one day with an authentication but it is possible and you will find a way. Be creative!
3. Delays are inevitable. All time frames in adoption are estimates but there will always be speed bumps and delays in the process. Do not let it get you down, roll with it.
4. Changes always happen. Changes to paperwork requirements, time frames, length of travel, dates of travel, etc. CAN and DO happen. It is important to be flexible!
5. Attention to detail is a must. Please double and triple check your dossier paperwork. Keep track of dates, notaries, expirations and numbers. All documents must be consistent in spelling of names, financial information, age of child desired, etc. Every detail matters.
6. There will be a waiting period. No matter what country you are adopting from or what age of child there will be a period of time where there is nothing to do by wait. Use this time to live your life, spend it with friends and family, prepare for your child and keep educating yourself about adoption.
7. Almost everything is out of your control. This is a scary thought but a fact of the process. You are at the mercy of the foreign government where your child lives – they will work at their own pace and by their own rules. You do not have to like it but you have to accept it!
8. Be aware of cultural differences. The rest of the world does not do things exactly like Americans. During this process and especially when you travel to the foreign country be respectful of the differences and understand that there is more than one way to do things.
9. Entitlement. The foreign government acts in the best interest of the children, not the adoptive parents. You may not view it this way as it does not always match American standards of “best interest” however the other governments believe they are protecting the children. The foreign government is not asking American families to come adopt their children. They are under no obligation to release confidential information or expedite the process. Until the adoption is finalized - families do not have rights to the child and are not entitled to confidential information about the child. Adoption is not a right and not an entitlement – rather a privilege, a gift and blessing. It is understood that from American perspective that you are spending a lot of money and time to help a child so may feel like you deserve all the rights and information however the perspective of the foreign governments is much different so understanding this may help your mind frame.
10. No child is perfect but they all need families. Any child that spends time in an orphanage will be exposed to illness, will have some delays, and will have come from a difficult background prior to being institutionalized. Please be aware that these children need love and attention but may also need medical care. Educate yourself on common diagnoses of orphanage children and find a good international adoption doctor to help you evaluate. The more informed you are about what to expect – the less scary it will be when you receive your referral or meet your child for the first time.11. Adoption is worth it every time. The journey is long and hard and takes strength, perseverance and love but once your child is home you will agree – all the hard work was worth it.