Saturday, January 13, 2007

NYT Article on IA

A question many parents who have adopted Chinese children are asked is "Why China"? One of the reasons is the relative predictability of the process in China. This article in today's New York Times tells the stories of several families who have participated in hosting programs, where older children from mostly ex-Soviet bloc countries get to live with a host family for a couple of weeks before going back to their country. The proecess is uncertain and the children may or may not be adopted.

A Taste of Family Life in U.S., but Adoption Is in Limbo
During the two weeks that Marino and Debbie Prozzo welcomed a Ukrainian orphan in their home, they fell head over heels for a 7-year-old child they may never be able to adopt...

Hosting programs, like the one that brought Alona to an American family this Christmas, showcase older children, generally from orphanages in former Soviet bloc nations. The programs have long been hailed as an effective marketing tool by adoption experts, who say 8 of 10 families would not adopt these children without a trial run.

In the largely unregulated world of international adoptions, these programs often lead to happily-ever-after, but sometimes end painfully. Ukraine and Russia place formidable obstacles in the path of parents, among them inaccurate information about children’s availability and health status. Multiple families can wind up competing for the same child. And children themselves know they are auditioning for what the industry calls their “forever families.” Then there is an entrenched system of favors — requests for cash or gifts from facilitators, translators, judges and others who handle the mechanics of adoption overseas...

The Prozzos had been deceived before by an intermediary who showed them a photograph of an adorable child they later learned was not available. So their guard was up before Alona’s visit in December.

“We won’t let this child call us ‘mama’ or ‘papa’ because we aren’t,” Mr. Prozzo said. But Alona’s visit had barely begun when she jumped into his outstretched arms and called him “papa.”

“Now what?” Mr. Prozzo said, melting. “Now what?”


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