"Why don't you just adopt from here? There are so many children here in the US that need families."
First of all, this isn't meant to be offensive to anyone. We would never EVER judge anyone for their choices and wish adoption wasn't categorized. Any time you bring a child who needs a family into your home, it's a good thing, no matter where that child is from.
So to the 2nd question above, it's true. There are many children in the US that need families. However, I don't think people realize how many people ARE adopting the children available for adoption. I know many many more families from our area who adopted domestically or foster than internationally. I just think their situation isn't as noticeable as international families because #1 it's more often (in this area anyway) an all 1 race family or #2 privacy issues prevent the parents from making it a very publicized event or #3 that since they start out as semi-permanent and slowly grow into permanent, there isn't that one "off the plane and on with life" moment that everyone notices. So when I hear comments implying no one will adopt these children in the US because international adoption is so much more attractive or "glamorous", it's frustrating because they ARE, people just aren't looking for it. There are SO many amazing foster parents and adoptive parents from foster care that deserve the credit.
Not to mention, just because they are a child in foster care (or waiting in an orphanage in another country), doesn't mean they can ever be adopted.
When we started our first adoption, we asked about foster care. We were told with 4 children already, we would need to take a medically fragile child. We didn't feel we had what it took at that point to handle a situation like that. From what I have learned since, this wasn't exactly true information, but none the less, it's what we had to go on at that point in our decision making. So we went with Guatemala. We don't regret that one bit because we are CERTAIN we were meant to be Kemry's parents and Kemry was meant to be in our family.
In between Kemry and Kolton's adoptions, we called several different states and asked about adoption and foster care. Of about 10 states or so we called, we only heard back from 2. One was our state, but they didn't get back to us for 8 weeks. Then they told us point blank that foster-adopt situations were NOT available and that we would have to go into it knowing we would only be foster parents unless a certain situation came up that we may be able to adopt a child. I understood their point, not wanting to get our hopes up, but we didn't feel called to just be foster parents. We knew God was calling us to adopt.
We asked again when we started Kolton's adoption, this time a private foster care placement agency as well as our homestudy social worker. Our social worker once again told us that we would need to be open to probably only getting a very medically or emotionally fragile child. At that point, we were in the throws of Kemry's grieving and delays and KNEW we couldn't handle another situation like that. We also knew being foster parents with the hopes of adopting would involve weekly/monthly checks from the state as well as birth parent visitation (and we would support this), but it just felt as though it would be way too much for our busy family. We had 5 kids at that point and Kemry was only 2.
So we didn't like that we could loose a child we had already fallen in love with and know that child may be in a bad situation out of our control. We didn't like we would be required by the state to put them in a certain school, discipline a certain way (even though our discipline tactics already go along with theirs, I wouldn't like being TOLD), make our children see someone that may be the person who abused them until the state declared them adoptable, etc. We knew that foster children in America, although they need families just as much as any child, receive a good education, good medical care, and will receive social services for life just being an American citizen, but children in foreign orphanages often are kicked out of the orphanage at 14-18 with nothing. No social services, no medical care, no continuing education, no family, nothing. So many of these kids end up on the streets as drug addicts, prostitutes, or sold into slavery just to survive. This really bothered us. Are all those things more important than a family? Not necessarily, but it was still something we had to think seriously about and God placed it deep in our hearts.
And the bottom line, the one thing that ultimately swayed us for good toward international was that's just where our hearts were. God very specifically has led us to Guatemala and Ethiopia. We know this without a doubt. There are people who never feel led to adopt internationally and that's GREAT! God places domestic/foster care on their hearts because they are the right people for those situations....and that's GREAT! We support them 100%. This is just why our attempts at foster/adopt never panned out...He has a way of closing doors when it's the wrong way to go and we were meant to bring home the children we have brought home and will bring home in the future. :)