I mentioned in my introductory post that we've just gotten started with the adoption process, but I thought I'd elaborate on what we've actually done thus far. Warning: it's not terribly exciting.
First step: move. Adoption is our primary motivation for moving when and where we did. Why else would we double our square footage and move to the suburbs?
I can handle paperwork and mark things off my to do list, but I personally found getting started to be overwhelming because there are so many choices. Choose an agency. Choose whether to adopt domestically -- an infant or through the foster care system. Or choose an international adoption. And if you go that route, you need to figure out what country you want to adopt from and whether you even qualify to adopt from that country. Choose special needs or not.
Ultimately we broke it down by finding an agency and completing a free pre-application. Baby steps. Based on the countries our agency works in, we determined we were eligible to adopt from five different countries. We then moved forward with the real application. That basically collected info about us, our family, our home, our employment, and net worth.
Then we had to fill out China-specific forms. We had to be of a certain age, married for a certain period of time, have a high school degree, have a certain income, so on so forth. As I mentioned, we're adopting through China's special needs program, so there was a six-page document we had to complete listing health conditions we would be willing to accept, as well as a gender and age we would prefer. These special needs can range from minor or easily correctible to severe. Just to give you an idea, this list includes needs such as cleft lip and palate, paralysis, club feet, dwarfism, HIV+, cataracts, birth marks, and down syndrome.
After getting approval from our agency and reading through a seventeen page contract, here we are. We've filled out more forms to start the home study process, but I'll stop rambling now and will cover that another day.