China Babies Adoption Research

China Babies Adoption Research
China Babies Adoption Research

Saturday, September 15, 2007

A reasonable Question about Adopting Special Needs.

KAZ asks the obvious:

While it's very kind to accept special needs kids, why would one specifically seek them?

There are a fair number of reasons to adopt special needs - here are a few:

Much shorter waiting period.

More options for grant money (of course this is offset by potential medical costs, but still).

The chance to get a child under a year old (the ONLY chance now for Korea - they now have a mandatory waiting period for traditional adoption). This one is important to us specifically because bonding issues with the child are greatly reduced if you are able to start earlier.

That good feeling you get helping someone who really needs it.

Not necessarily in that order.

That 2-3 year waiting period for non special needs children is a guesstimate - it could be longer. Many countries - Korea included - recently decided that they were going to change all the rules regarding adoptions. The Hague convention, while not in effect in a lot of countries, has thrown Europe completely off kilter for international adoption and Asia has gotten on this kick about trying to keep their children local. Korea, for instance, has decided to limit the number of children that are adopted internationally by using the following measures:

Mandating that children be given at least a year where in-country adoption is the only option.

offering financial incentives to natives for adopting - I think it's both an initial cash payment and a monthly stipend.

launching an advertising campaign touting the benefits of adoption.

(They are fighting an uphill battle on this one because Koreans are STRONGLY patriarchal. Culturally, paternity is of HUGE importance there - and not just to the parents. In many areas an adopted child will be a social outcast simply because he's not really related. In fact, if a couple does decide to adopt in Korea, a common means of doing so is to go on an extended "trip" and come back saying "I was pregnant when I left - look at our new child" - in direct contrast to U.S. history, where girls were sent away so they could come back and say they were NOT pregnant. Of course, if the child has an American component to his parentage, this tendency is greatly magnified as well. But all of this is just an aside - the point is that they are attempting to restrict international adoption by roughly an order of magnitude, so if you attempt to adopt traditionally, you have slim pickings).

All of the above is irrelevant if you are willing to accept special needs, however. In addition to being strongly patriarchal, Koreans have a HUGE aversion to physical or mental abnormalities. Basically, even the Korean Government knows better than to try to get special needs children adopted locally - they are, for all intents and purposes, unadoptable by Korean standards. So, all those new restrictions and impediments to adoption don't apply to children with special needs.

Key-Words Blog

Expat Parents in China Keep Adopted Babies Close to Home

September 14, 2007

Virtually every flight I've ever been on from China to the U.S. has had at least two couples returning home with a newly adopted Chinese baby. I have been touched watching their interaction, which is often simultaneously tentative and loving. I have also seen large groups of Western couples with new babies touring around Beijing, during their imposed stays here before heading home. It can be a strange sight, one that has led me to wonder if there is any undercurrent of discomfort amongst Chinese about all these babies being taken out of the country. I have detected none.

New, more stringent adoption laws recently went into effect and the number of Chinese children adopted and brought to the U.S. fell by almost 1,500 last year, after two decades of steady growth. But there were still 6,494 adoptions, 95% of them girls, according to Adoptive Families magazine. The Chinese system is considered the model for international adoptions, with a high degree of transparency, clear standards and little or no corruption.


How important is it for adopted children to spend time in their native land? Share your thoughts in an online forum.In the last 22 years, 62,389 Chinese children have been adopted by American families, according to the support group Families with Chinese Children. A small number of these children don't have to travel too far to their new homes; they are adopted by expats living here already. The U.S. is one of just six nations that allow its citizens to adopt a Chinese child while living in China. Other countries are concerned about the lack of control and oversight they have over their far-flung citizens, but American expats seeking to adopt follow the same well-defined adoption process that is required of families living in the U.S.

Statistics don't seem to be kept on expats adopting babies, but one close observer who works with adoptive families estimated the number between 200 and 300 a year. I personally know three families who have adopted here and two more whose applications are currently being processed.

Living here makes it easy for the new family member to simultaneously maintain a Chinese identity and develop an American one. It's an issue that American families who adopt Chinese children struggle with -- how much to educate their children about their homeland.

"I think that the majority of parents make an attempt to make sure their children feel positively about Chinese culture," says Susan Caughman, editor of Adoptive Families magazine and herself the mother of a Chinese daughter. "It's definitely understood in the Chinese adoption community that this is something good for your child's identity. A smaller percentage of parents make an effort to actually make sure their children learn to speak Chinese."

There is a group of expats, mostly women, who volunteer in orphanages around Beijing. Their level of involvement varies from occasional work days to near-constant fundraising and/or administration. Collectively they do a lot of vital work. Their efforts seem particularly needed by children with health or developmental problems, who are sometimes abandoned due to the lack of widely available free healthcare.

Alan Paul
Cheryl Latta and Tian Hui
My friend Cheryl Latta, an American mother of four, began volunteering at a nearby orphanage once a week shortly after arriving here two-plus years ago. She found the time fulfilling but frustrating.

"I enjoyed playing with the babies but wanted to do more," she recalls. "I kept thinking, 'If I could just take one of these kids home, I could give them so much more.'"

Cheryl was referred to Teresa Woo, an expat from Hong Kong who runs Beijing's Ping An Medical Foster Home. Ping An takes in orphans who are stricken with serious illnesses and disabilities, arranges and pays for their medical care and surgeries if necessary, and provides pre- and post-surgery rehab care until they are fit enough to return to their original orphanages. The more fortunate orphans might find themselves in foster families, many of which are Ms. Woo's friends and/or regular volunteers.

"Most of our kids are abandoned for medical reasons," says Ms. Woo, whose organization is funded by private donations. "At first, we helped them get the surgery but they were going back to places that couldn't necessarily care for them, so I decided to house them in a place where they could get the kind of care they needed to recuperate. I can only have eight kids at a time because it's a family environment. I didn't want to open another orphanage."

The Lattas were matched with Tian Hui, a smiley six-month-old girl who had had surgery on a cleft lip and needed a few months of recuperation before she could have a second operation, to repair a cleft palate. After about three months, they returned her to Ping An and picked up a different baby. When he had health problems necessitating hospitalization, Ms. Woo asked the Lattas if they could take Tian Hui again. She had been unable to have her second surgery due to health complications, leaving her classified as special needs and therefore eligible for fostering.

None of the Lattas had realized quite how attached they had grown to the little girl until she returned to spend Christmas with them. When family friends said they wanted to adopt Tian Hui, Cheryl felt alarmed rather than excited and realized that she wanted to adopt the baby herself. After everyone concurred in a family meeting, they began the adoption process.

Alan Paul
The Latta family
The Lattas lived around the corner from us and I got used to seeing Cheryl or one of her sons pushing Tian Hui around, first in a stroller, then in a small tricycle. The child always smiled and waved and I was won over by her sunny disposition. I asked often about their situation. Child-specific adoptions are discouraged, but if foster families meet the normal requirements they are sometimes allowed to adopt the child. In these cases it is considered in the child's best interest to stay with a family to whom they are attached. But there are no guarantees and the family was in a constant state of low anxiety waiting for a decision.

The papers came through on Sept. 4 making the adoption official and Tian Hui a member of the Latta family. It was a week short of one year from when they first brought her into their home. They will rename her Tia Grace.

The Lattas hope to stay here four more years, in part so that Tia is instilled with a strong sense of being Chinese and in part because such a long stint here will allow the whole family to better understand the roots of their youngest member.

The Lattas's four blond children already drew a lot of attention in China and they now receive even more scrutiny with a Chinese baby added to the mix.

"People always ask why we would want another child when we already have four," says Cheryl. "I used to say because we loved her so much and I got blank stares. Now, we say we wanted Emily (the lone girl before Tia's arrival) to have a sister and that seems to be much better accepted."

Similarly practical concerns troubled the younger Latta children. Seven-year-old Jason feared that when Tia grew up, she would only speak Chinese and have trouble communicating with the rest of the family. Instead, they are all learning Chinese even as Tia learns English. If all goes according to plan, they will all have a very solid understanding of where their newest family member comes from.

Wall Street Journal

China-Babies Newsletter - September 2007

We just published our September Newsletter.

Here are a few pictures from it:

Click here to see the entire newsletter.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Insta-Attachment and Other Adoption Myths

Why the dreams we hold on to while waiting for our child can sometimes prevent us from seeing our child's reality clearly.
September 12, 2007/ Dawn Greer Choate

I let out a long, deep sigh as I re-read the words in my inbox again and again. It’s not that it was the first time I had heard those very same words. It’s not that I judged the family who spoke them, knowing I would have written the same a few short years ago. But the pang I felt in the back of my heart and the lump in my throat was for the little girl they were describing. Despite the words of bliss, despite their descriptions of a perfect adjustment, my heart sank as I could envision her face before me. I knew what her eyes would look like if only I could see them. I knew what expression she would have on her face. I knew because I have seen it before. And now I know what it means.

I had received the glowing report in my inbox from a friend of a relative who had just come home with their beautiful new daughter only 7 weeks prior. “She is bonding with everyone! Family, friends, neighbors, people at church! She is just adjusting so quickly and bonding to everyone she meets!” This particular report was really quite similar to many I hear early on. She was doing “so well”, “adjusting great”, and was “better than they could have ever expected”. It is the report our families, friends, co-workers, and even agencies hope and expect to hear from us. Everyone is waiting for the “he/she is all we ever dreamed of” and “it is as if he/she has always been with us”. These are the words everyone waiting to bring a child home reads on the blogs of families who have gone before and prays they will be able to write.

Insta-Attachment. Psychologists and anthropologists have noted for decades that our society is especially vulnerable to the temptations of insta-everything. We are used to it, after all. Everything is fast, easy, convenient. We hate waiting in lines, despise slow drivers, and adore our internet as long as it comes in high speed. We think we are immune to that constant drive for speed and convenience in the adoption world because we wait so long through endless paperwork to bring our children home. We herald the “lesson we have learned in patience” as we agonize through the trials of the paper pregnancy. But that is where so many draw the line. Once our child is home, that is the end of the waiting, right? They are going to be placed in our arms and our waiting is over! Hurray!! The end of our trials and tribulations and now our joy can begin!

The problem is that for your child, they are not in the joyous epilogue of a long novel finally reaching the glorious conclusion as you think you are. They are still in the introduction of a brand new book, one that includes chapters they have never heard of called “Living with a Family”, “Welcome to a Mom and Dad that Look Nothing Like You!”, “A Few Strangers in Your Life Would Now Like to Kiss and Hold You Endlessly” and “So This is America??”. In the midst of all of this is the greatest myth of all. Insta-attachment.

Children do not bond in a week. People do not learn to trust in a day, a week, or even a month. A child who is living in a strange land with strange looking people who speak an even stranger language cannot possibly learn in a short period of time what it means to be loved by a family, what a mom and a dad even are there for, what it means to be a sister or brother, and that all of these strange people can be trusted to never leave them again, never harm them, and navigate them through the twists and turns of life. We want so much to believe in Insta-Attachment because, truthfully, it makes us feel better. The wait has already been so long for us, we sacrificed so much to get here, and the last thing we want to face is the possibility that our work is not done once we reach what we thought was the end of the road, the fulfillment of the goal. Sometimes we are willing to accept a few hours of grief, a few days of the child’s emotional walls, a few weeks of sleepless nights. But we certainly don’t want to face the chance that perhaps those few tears, a night terror or two, and the struggles with sibling relationships might last longer than a week or two. Or, even harder to face, is the possibility that even though our child seems to be doing well, their actions may be masking the true grief and trauma that so many adopted children hide deep in their hearts.

And this is where the temptation to ignore the unspoken signs of trauma and grief in our children steps in. We want so much to believe they are adjusting quickly that we interpret signs that actually are warning signs something is not right as signs that our child is doing really well. When our daughter reaches her hands out and lets anyone hold her, we beam with pride that she is so social. When our son falls apart on the floor because we asked him to do a simple task, we say he must be really opinionated. When our kids run around at an event, wandering in and out of strangers without concern for the location of a parent, we say they must really like parties. When our child plays alone on the floor for long periods of time without a need to be entertained, we are grateful we got one of the “easy kids”.

Attachment is not instant. Bonding takes time…a long time. And even if your child is pleasant and calm with you from day one, plays with you and hugs you, lets you hold her and seems to get along with everyone, it is simply a matter of common sense that what the child is experiencing in those early months is not and cannot possibly be attachment to you. Even if the child has the opposite reaction and cries every time you leave the room, it is still not defined as true attachment. When we were in China picking up our second daughter, she cried the first time I tried to hold her but by the next day she screamed if I was not in her sight. This was not because she somehow miraculously attached to me overnight (though that would have been nice to believe!). She simply had figured out a major change was about to happen in her life and that I somehow was the next person in line to provide her some tiny amount of security so she was going to latch on and not let go! This does not mean she suddenly loved me, trusted me, or even liked me for that matter. It was a matter of survival. Her instincts kicked in and she knew that her safety and future depended on clinging to me.

We are now weeks away from bringing home our 5th child, our 3rd adopted child. We have had the privilege of visiting him twice. Though by week’s end on both visits he was clinging to me and watching my every move, I am not fooled. My heart would love to believe this baby has decided I am his mother, thrown himself in my arms and shunned all others to choose me. But I have seen his eyes. I know what his eyes say that his actions sometimes belie. He does not trust me yet. He does not love me yet. How could he possibly? Though my heart wants to believe I can spend the months and years to bring a child home that will run into my arms and realize I am their family forever now, I am now a little more cognizant of the impossibility of that expectation on a child.

So how do you create attachment in a child if it is not instant? You build it, one brick at a time. Sometimes you even have to break down the faulty foundation that was created before you ever received your child, and then build a new foundation one brick at a time. If your child seems content, seems “okay”, seems social, seems to “fit right in”, look past the surface behaviors and do not let the survival instincts of children fool you into thinking their past has not affected them and that they are rubber balls who can be bounced around yet simply bounce right back. Do not just move on with your life as if your work is done. Stay with your child. Give some things up. Spend time playing, holding and talking to your child. Do not let your child push you away, manipulate you with shallow behaviors or place any other friend, relative or caregiver above you. You have the right as the parent to ask questions, challenge your child emotionally, and insist on being the first love of their life.

You are not a failure as a parent to admit your child home for even a year still does not show preference for you. Your child is not “less than” other adopted children because he does not appear as adjusted as other adopted children whose parents glowed, “This was a perfect adoption!” Do not believe in Insta-Attachment. It is a fairytale that ultimately prevents you from really seeking out the deepest part of your child’s heart and searching for true healing instead of proper behaviors. It is worth the search. It may take much longer than you had hoped for, your emails to family and friends may be lacking in the instant gratification. But the long, slow simmer of true attachment in the end is stronger, more deeply satisfying, and more healing. Do not look for the easy path. Look for the road less traveled. Be willing to take another journey of patience even after the paperwork is done and your child is home. Do not close the book. Begin a new one. It is worth the effort. It is worth the wait. Your child is waiting for someone who is willing to take the time and energy to write it for them. Insta-Attachment is one fairytale your child can do without.

Dawn Greer Choate and her husband are the parents of 5 children, including 2 daughters born in China and one son born in Guatemala. In 2005, the Choates launched Healing Hannah, a resource to educate parents on issues related to attachment and emotional healing in the adopted child. Dawn is an ordained minister, author, speaker, and a co-owner with her husband of a computer/software business. For more information, please visit and

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9/12/2007 11:15:21 AM
Daily Journal

SALTILLO - Daniel Clark has lived the life of an American youth since coming here 13 years ago as an adopted toddler from China.

Daniel has been an honor roll student involved in school activities. He's participated in 4-H and park-and-rec soccer, plus he's active in church. And in his recreation time at home, he enjoys playing video games against his two younger siblings.

At the same time, Daniel remains close to his Chinese heritage. This summer, his native country beckoned Daniel and others like him to visit their homeland and learn about its culture, history and art.

Daniel knew he had to go.

The Saltillo High School freshman was one of 30 teens - all of whom were born in China and adopted by American families - to attend the "Embracing China and Experiencing Beijing" camp Aug. 14-23. He was the lone Mississippian making the trip.

"The trip meant more to me than I could have ever imagined," said Daniel, who was 19 months old when he was adopted on June 23, 1994. He turns 15 on Oct. 28. "This was a dream come true for me. Now I desire to return again for another trip in the future."

Cultural experience
The camp, organized by the China Center of Adoption Affairs and the National Council for Adoption, was formed to give the teens a better understanding of Chinese culture. Daniel and his adoptive mother, Kathy Clark, were informed by letter June 25 about the camp.

Kathy, a media specialist at Saltillo Primary School, has adopted three children from China: Daniel, daughter Kristin, 10, and son Seth, 6. She admits she was apprehensive at first for Daniel to go.

The Clarks faxed in the application the day they received it. Daniel found out the next day he had been accepted. All of the camp spots were filled in less than a week.

"We had to respond quickly, and Daniel and I just felt like it was the right thing," Kathy Clark said. "I felt better because he went with me three years ago when I adopted Seth. He knew how long that trip was. But he wanted to go back, and that was a big motivating thing to him."

The campers and their chaperones were busy from the day they arrived in Beijing.

There were tours to the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, the Temple of Heaven and the Great Wall. The campers attended classes about Chinese history, traditional dance, music and art. The group also attended an acrobatic show and the Peking Opera. Campers were told about the adoption process and they met with orphans and children with disabilities living at a Beijing orphanage.

They also spent a day with Chinese families to experience their daily lives.

"That was my favorite day," Daniel said. "I loved seeing where they lived and how they lived. I enjoyed doing activities with them such as cooking traditional Chinese dumplings and playing with their child. We had fun shopping together. This was truly experiencing Chinese culture."

Daniel also enjoyed meeting Chinese students his age. "They were really interested in us, always asking questions and just wondering what we're like," he said.

Sense of pride
Since returning home Daniel has been busy making up school work from the two weeks he missed. He's still absorbing all that he experienced in China and he hopes someday to share it, especially with his sister and brother.

"It is difficult to express my deep feelings (about the trip)," he said. "I felt secure and happy there. I felt a sense of pride about being Chinese. I enjoyed learning about the vast accomplishments of the Chinese people in past and present. China to me will always be a second home."

Through e-mail Daniel keeps in touch with fellow campers and trip counselors in the United States and in China. Each camper received a poster that included their photos and biographical information such as birth names, date of birth, date of adoption, where they lived at the time of the adoption and where they reside now.

The trip turned out to be a bonding experience for the teens who were born in China and now call America home.

"I observed that all of the campers and their parents felt that it was important for their children to meet other adopted teens from China," said Daniel, whose birth name is Wu Jie. "The American chaperones, Chinese chaperones and Chinese officials formed close bonds with us. I have made close friends for life. I will truly treasure each one of them and every memory of this trip."

Missisipi Daily Journal

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Harrah's Waiting Child Yahoo Group

Alex's Note: This is from their Blog Post detailing information about this list. Good Stuff.


Hello and Welcome New Families to Harrah's Waiting Child Yahoo Group!

In this forum, you can communicate with families who have adopted waiting children and find the answers to questions you may have about the different types of special needs, the waiting child adoption process, or issues pertaining to raising a child with a special need.

This is not a forum for the advertisement of products or services. We ask that families not debate religious or political viewpoints on this list. Our goal is for all families interested China's Waiting Child adoption program, to find this group to be a resource for support and information.

For information about Harrah's Waiting Child program or to view our current list of waiting children, please visit our website at

The username and password you will need in order to access the list, is provided at the end of this message.

If you have joined this group with the intent to view our current list of waiting children and may consider petitioning for a child on this list, please take the time to fully read this message as I attempt to provide you with all the answers to the most common questions I receive regarding the waiting child list, petitioning process, and matching/placement team decisions.

Harrah's adoption process for a waiting child begins with your thorough review of the child's medical and developmental information which is posted as an attachment on each child's page. Children who are already matched with a family are removed from the site. You may submit a petition for any child who is still listed on the site. Please note that children are not removed from the list during the time lapse between the end of a petitioning period and the placement team meeting when a matching determination is made. Children who have received petitions and are awaiting a matching decision from the placement team will be marked as 'pending' until after the placement team meeting; at which point, they will either be removed completely from the list if they are matched with a family or their status will be changed from 'pending' to 'available' if they are not matched.

If you are interested in petitioning for a specific child on the list, you must fill out a preliminary Special Needs/Waiting Child application which is also available for you to download from the waiting child section on our website and submit the application with the petition which is available for downloading on the child's information page. You will then fax both to me at 281-465-9992. For the current petitioning deadline, please read the scrolling 'Newsflash' on the home page of our website.

Before submitting a petition for a child:

1) View ALL of the children.
2) Research the special need. Download, print and review the child's information and photos (linked on each child's page) with an appropriate medical professional.
3) Consider how the child will fit into your family dynamics.
4) Thoroughly read and consider all acknowledgements on the petition before you sign and submit it. A petition, resulting in your match with a child, is a serious commitment to adopt! The waiting child program is not the right program for every family. Please be certain that you can fully agree to each statement before signing and submitting a petition.
5) Visit the Waiting Child section on our website and read the qualifications for adoptive families. Please be certain that your family meets all qualifications before you petition.

The placement team does not match based upon the first family to submit a petition! This is not a first-come first-served type of program. We prefer for families to fully research the child's need and discuss with an appropriate medical professional before submitting a petition to adopt. It is crucial that families also research and consider additional issues that families sometimes face when they are united with the child in China. This includes but is not limited to issues related to attachment and bonding, grief and separation, and developmental delays which are VERY common in institutionalized children.

If you petition and are accepted to adopt a child, it is expected that you will immediately and purposefully pursue the adoption and seek to bring the child home as soon as possible.

If you have a special circumstance that will keep you from being able to immediately and actively pursue the adoption please indicate this on your petition!

China's policy dictates that families with recent adoptions or the birth/addition of a child in the home, cannot submit a Letter of Intent to Adopt until 2 months prior to the one year anniversary of an adoption or birth/addition of a child. Therefore, petitions cannot be considered for any family if it has been less than 10 months since a previous adoption or birth/addition of a child in the home.

Once you have made the decision to submit a petition, please consider whether or not there is any additional information about your family (not covered in the preliminary application) that you would like for the placement team to consider. It is helpful to submit with your petition, information about how you researched the child's need(s) and your plan of treatment for the child if you are matched. You might also add any information that would be good for the placement team to know regarding your qualifications to adopt the child you petition for.

You are also welcome to email a family photo to me at:

If there is a child that you would like to petition for or have petitioned for, please do not announce the name of that child to ANY board until after you have received official notice that you have been matched to that child. It is acceptable to state that you plan to petition for one or more children, so long as you do not identify which children. We do not want to dissuade anyone from petitioning because they think someone else is applying.

Upon receipt of your petition:

You will receive an email confirmation within 24 hours. If you do not receive your confirmation, please feel free to call Janet Coward at the office to confirm receipt.

If I have any questions for you about your petition or information, I will call you prior to the placement team meeting. Sometimes the team will call a family during the meeting to ask a specific question or to clarify information.

Common questions and the answers to these questions about the initial petitioning and matching process:

Is there additional information available for this child?

All original information provided to Harrah's on every child is scanned and attached on the child's page. The medical and developmental information is also translated and attached. Please note that the paperwork provided to us is sometimes a copy of an original and is not very legible to begin with. Thus, some of the scanned original documents may be difficult to read. If any lab work has been included in this child's information from CCAA, it will be included in the .pdf copy of the original Chinese paperwork. Please note that Lab results may not be a good measurement of any child's actual current or previous health status because the labs may not routinely calibrate their machines and often re-use disposable testing materials. It is recommended that families depend upon the Chinese Dr.'s opinion as relayed in his translated report and your consultation with a medical professional above any results from lab tests, which may be inaccurate.

Sometimes there are additional photos for a child that cannot be posted to the website. If there are any additional photos for a child, it will be noted on the child's page and may be emailed to a prospective family upon request.

Can I call you or email you if I have a question about a specific child's diagnosis?

Because I am not a medical professional, I am unable to give any advice or opinion relating to a child's diagnosis or prognosis. I will always advise families to direct such questions to an appropriate medical professional.

Can we petition for more than one child on the list?

Yes. China will allow a family to adopt only one child at a time; however, you may petition for more than one child if there is more than one child you feel would be a good match for your family. This sometimes works to a family's advantage because it increases the chances of a match.

What happens if more than one family petitions for the same child?

Many times, more than one petition is received per child. The placement team makes all matching decisions for a child. This decision is often a very difficult one to make, when there are several qualified families petitioning for the same child. This can heartbreaking for the families who are not matched with the child they hoped to adopt. While it is important for you to thoroughly consider how a specific child will fit into your family dynamics and how you will be able to care for the child's needs, it is also important to realize that because there can only be one family chosen for a child, your family may not be matched. This is very difficult for the qualified families who are not matched. Managing your hopes and expectations may make a 'no' answer a little easier to handle if you are not matched.

I am unable to view the photos or open attachments!

If you are unable view the photos or to open the attachments, it is most likely to be a problem with your browser or browser settings. Please try a different computer to fix the problem. If the problem persists, please email me or call the office. All attachments are .pdf files, which require Adobe Acrobat reader to open. If you do not have Adobe, you can download the most recent version for free from the Internet.

What is a diagnosis of 'Low Developmental Values"?

During previous petitioning periods, I had several families ask me this question. We asked the WC coordinator from CCAA what this diagnosis means. She said that "it is as if you plant two trees at the same time and you expect both to grow and develop at the same rate but one tree grows and develops slower than the other". This is her description of CCAA's interpretation of this diagnosis. However, you will still want to have your own medical professional review the child's file for more information.

Can I share photos of the child we petitioned for with my family and friends?

Photos of the children must be kept out of the public domain. Please do not copy or forward photos of any of the children to anyone other than your physician. You may not forward photos, passwords or links to the within the secure area of the website to anyone. It is acceptable to have a printed copy of the child's photo(s) and to show them to your family members so long as they remain in your direct possession. If you are matched with a child you petitioned for, once you receive Pre-Approval from China, at that time you may share the child's photos with anyone.

Can I share the password with my friends and family?

Yes, now that the closed petitioning periods have ended, you may share the password with anyone you know who may be interested in adopting a Waiting Child.

How will we be notified of the placement team's decision?

After the petitioning deadline ends, you will receive an email with information about the day/time of the placement team meeting. All petitioning families are personally called with the placement team's decision on the same day of the placement team meeting.

If I am not matched with a child does this mean there is something wrong with my family?

NO. Although we do want you to be certain that you are ready to commit to the adoption of the child you petition for, we also want you to prepare yourself emotionally in case you are not matched with a child. Not being chosen/matched does NOT mean that we found something wrong with you or your family.

Those willing to put their heart on the line for a child or for more than one child and then not be chosen should not be discouraged from trying for another child. If you are not matched, please take another look at the list and consider another child.

If I am matched with a child, what happens next?

If you are matched with child, within 24-48 hours, you will receive an email with instructions to draft your Letter of Intent to Adopt (LOI) and detailed information about the stages in the process and most recent time frame averages from submission of your LOI through travel. Please know that a preliminary match through Harrah's is still subject to a preliminary approval by the CCAA and approval by your social worker.

We will work together to get your family started on the initial agency paperwork and provide you with information about your dossier consultant and the home study process specific to the state in which you reside. All families who are adopting a waiting child will be required to take additional training classes during the home study process.

And finally…

As always, all of the children on this list are beautiful! To view the children and their information, please enter the user name: family The new password is: qt8lov

I have attempted to answer any possible questions for you here. If you have questions about the general WC process and average time lines, this is provided in the Waiting Child section on our website. If you have any questions that are not answered here or on our website, please do not hesitate to call or email me!

Again, WELCOME to our yahoo group! I truly look forward to sharing the children with you and taking a part in this very special process of finding families for these precious children.

Many blessings,

Erin Hunlock
Waiting Child Program Coordinator
Harrah's Adoption International Mission

Harrah's Blog Entry

Adoption no longer uncharted waters

Naval community in Naples offers support for growing families
By Sandra Jontz, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Monday, August 27, 2007

Lynsey Ferris and her daughter Olivia, 3, share a laugh in their home on the U.S. Navy support site in Gricignano near Naples, Italy.

Somewhere in China lives Marla and Matt Linton’s future daughter.

Her laugh is still silent to the Lintons. The girl’s touch still unfelt. Her name still unknown.

But the little girl one day will be chosen to become the Lintons’ adopted daughter.

Two years ago in May the Lintons began the arduous process to adopt a little girl from China after they attended the annual international adoption symposium in Kaiserslautern, Germany.

It’s been a roller-coaster ride ever since — a ride of waiting, of wondering, of exposing every detail of the family’s private life for a home study, and then waiting some more.

But a ride, she said, neither unexpected nor taken alone.

After Linton and her husband, Army Sgt. 1st Class Matt Linton, moved from Germany to Naples, Italy, Marla Linton soon linked up with area families who either have gone through the adoption process or are considering embarking on it.

“It’s a calling. Once it’s in your heart, you can’t ignore it,” said Lynsey Ferris, 41, who along with Linton heads a growing support group for Naples-area families and others.

The U.S. Navy is expanding informational campaigns and support services for families considering adoptions, creating support and referral services for individual base Fleet and Family Support Centers to sustain requests for adoption information.

On Sept. 17, the Navy will launch a Web page to offer additional information and adoption resources and tools. The site will be accessible from the Navy Fleet and Family Support Program homepage at

In Naples, Ferris is eager to share her family’s experience adopting Olivia from China, and notes that the family now is adopting two more from Ethiopia.

“In a couple of months, our family is going to go from two (children) to four, just like that, and it’s going to be an adjustment.”

Noah Ferris, 12, whom his mother affectionately refers to as “homegrown,” couldn’t be more excited. “Yes, I’m excited. Who wouldn’t be? I don’t know why people always ask me that. Who wouldn’t be excited to get a brother and sister? I’m getting both.”

To the families who think it’s too costly, Ferris has two words: “Think again.”

To get Olivia, Lynsey and Joe Ferris got rid of their cell phones, opted for basic cable television service, and renounced dining out. But they made it happen.

The fees aren’t usually paid all at once. “It’s pay as you go,” Ferris said. Would-be parents also have access to adoption grants and loans.

Costs range widely from virtually no cost to foster a child, to roughly $30,000 for adoptions. Start to finish, the Ferris family spent $20,000 to adopt Olivia, and anticipate spending $15,000 for the two Ethiopian children, not including travel costs to the States for the two to become U.S. citizens.

The Ferrises detail their experiences and offer advice for others considering adoption at

Adopting while living overseas presents unique challenges — from visas or residential permits to linking up with agencies specializing in those fields, said Linton, 37, already a mother of two. “There are challenges, but it’s definitely possible.”

Often, adopted children aren’t granted U.S. citizenship until they actually touch foot on U.S. soil — and overseas bases often don’t count, Ferris said. “That’s the most frustrating part, I think,” she said.

Her family will need to spend an additional $4,000 flying from Ethiopia to the United States before returning “home” to Italy.

There are numerous agencies and programs available to help people wanted to adopt, Linton said. “Find a program that fits you. Do research and talk to people who have been through it.”

The Naples area adoption support group will host a meeting Sept. 16 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the support site community center. The group tries to host a meeting at least once a month.

Stars and Stripes

CCAA Update on Document Processing

From the CCAA Website:

The CCAA has finished the review of the adoption application documents registered with our office before July 31, 2006.

The CCAA has finished the placement of children for the families whose adoption application documents were registered with our office before November 25, 2005.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Daughter journeys to land of her birth

Sydney Carpenter kneels on her living room floor, flipping through a photo album.

"Those children are all wearing the same outfits because they're going to school," she says, pointing. "And over here was when we went to the fish market."

The images are from her family's June trip to China. It's likely that she won't understand the significance of the journey until she's older. When you're 7, it's hard to comprehend that the only place you remember is not your original home.

`We just cried buckets'

Eric Carpenter, Sydney's dad, grew up in Gastonia. He worked for a textile company that sent him to live in China for two years. There he learned of the plight of abandoned infant girls through friends who adopted one.He returned to the United States and met his future wife, Marilyn, in 1995.

"When we started to get serious about our relationship, Eric brought up the idea of adopting from China, and I was impressed by the passion he expressed," she says.

They married in 1997. A few years later they began the adoption process through an international agency in Greensboro. After mountains of paperwork and several months of waiting, a packet arrived in the mail.

Eric and Marilyn remember sitting on the couch and pulling out the photo. It was the first time they saw Sydney.

"And we just cried buckets for an hour," Eric says, pulling Sydney, now 7, closer to him on the couch.

"It just felt so right," Marilyn, 46, adds, her eyes flooding with tears.

Sydney had been abandoned when she was a few days old at the post office of a small, rural mining town in mainland China. She was taken to an orphanage full of other baby girls.

Two months after Sydney was assigned to the Carpenters, Eric and Marilyn went to China to bring their daughter home to Charlotte. They traveled with 12 other couples who worked with the same agency. Sydney was 10 months old.

Eric, 39, opens a second photo album full of images from that trip six years ago. There's the hotel room crib, empty except for a few toys they'd brought.

And, finally, images of Marilyn and Eric each holding Sydney for the first time. They are wide-eyed and smiling through tears as they study her tiny, puzzled face.

"She was so wrapped up in this big coat because it was winter and the orphanage had no heat," Marilyn says. "... I just wanted to undress her and feel her little body."

She describes adoption as the "magic" through which families instantly form.

Bridging the divide

On the trip back to China this summer, the couple hoped to introduce Sydney to her roots. They didn't expect any big revelation, just to plant seeds of pride.

Over a couple of weeks they visited a tea plantation, the Beijing zoo, the Forbidden City, Buddhist temples, the Great Wall and other historic sites. They also visited Eric's friends and former coworkers.

Several of the cultural lessons were confusing, Sydney says, including using the stand-up, pedal-operated toilets and learning the art of haggling in markets. But by the end of the trip she was playing right along, helping her parents negotiate prices on souvenirs.

The Carpenters keep in touch with some of the families they traveled with when they adopted Sydney. Eric says he hopes a greater good will comes from the thousands of Chinese girls adopted by Americans every year.

"China is going to join the U.S. as a superpower, but the cultural divide is so great," he says. "I like to think that the girls who grow up here in America will go a long way toward forming better relationships."

Sydney, still flipping through photos, finds the images from the family's visit to a silk factory. She describes how silkworms produce the fibers to make the precious cloth. Then she stops suddenly and scoots up the stairs.

"Be right back," she calls over her shoulder.

She returns gingerly carrying a traditional Chinese silk dress on a hanger. It's a gorgeous pink with tiny embroidered flowers.

Buying the dress was a turning point during the trip, Eric says. "It was when Sydney decided it was cool to be Chinese, and really seemed to make a connection to the place where she came from."

"Well, it is cool, Daddy," she says, grinning.

VOICES Vanessa Willis
Charlotte Observer

Couples realize their dreams through adoption

By Toni Hoh
For The Post-Crescent

Prospective parents enter the world of adoption for a variety of reasons, but their goal is always the same: to build or grow their family. Adoption is a viable option to making that happen.

The choices to be made along the adoption journey includes self-examination to help people decide if they're willing to make the emotional and financial commitments it can take to adopt a child. Questions about adopting from within the United States or abroad, the child's gender and the infant's or child's age also need to be answered.

For Lori and Kirk Rademaker of Kaukauna, the decisions were fairly easy.

"We found our way to adoption through infertility," Lori said. "When things didn't turn out the way we wanted them to, it took about two days to decide to adopt and another two days to decide we really didn't want to adopt a baby. We were snowmobiling and going up north and other things, so who wants to have a baby when you're trying to do those things?"

The Rademakers contacted Special Needs Adoption, a Wisconsin agency that helps find permanent homes for children ages 10-18 who exhibit particular emotional, behavioral or physical characteristics, are a member of a minority race, belong to a sibling group that must be placed together or are at risk of developing special care needs. Older children are usually in the Special Needs Network.

"Most people want small, white babies. They don't want to have to deal with the problems. They just group everybody who is hard to adopt into one category," Lori said. "I just wanted to be a mom. I didn't care."

The Rademakers started their journey early in 2000. By the end of the year they had two boys — brothers ages 8 and 11 — and five months later brought in another brother, age 5. Earlier this year the adoption became final for their only daughter, who came to them in 2004 at age 9. All are African-American and from Wisconsin.

The children — Timothy, now 17, Quintin, 15, Marsaide, 12, and Jeffrey, 11 — have put a new spin on the Rademakers' life.

"Kirk says it's like going from sitting in a recliner and all of a sudden somebody presses an eject button," Lori said.

Understanding the importance of keeping their children connected to their roots, the Rademakers recently hosted the remaining brothers of the boys' birth family for a few days.

"It was the first time all the brothers have been together in about six years," Lori said.

People considering adoption first need to contact an agency to begin the home study process, which includes several visits — individually and as a couple — as well as an assessment of the couple's home and personal lives. The process typically takes four to six weeks.

Kim and Scott Scheer of Appleton built their family through international adoption. Their daughters, Stephanie, 6, and Katie, 4, came from China.

"We tried locally for the first year, and we got nowhere," Kim said of their decision to adopt internationally. "After talking with friends, we decided it was hard, but it was best to go international. It's more expensive but definitely worth it."

The Scheers spent about $30,000 per adoption, including all agency fees, government fees and travel expenses to pick up their girls.

"You have to be serious and be financially set," Kim said. "The waiting period is bad. It's that emotional period where you have to keep active, keep busy while you're waiting. That's important. Sometimes money is not the problem. You just do what you have to do."

Their waiting periods were between 10 and 12 months, Kim said. Once the call came that they had been approved by the Chinese government and a child was waiting, the Scheers were traveling within five weeks. Each visit required a two-week stay in China.

The Scheers worked with Adoption Services Inc. in Appleton and with European Adoption Consultants, an Ohio-based agency that deals with adoptions out of China, Russia and Guatemala.

"Sharing their heritage is important. They ask questions already, especially Stephanie," Kim said. "I share the stuff that I can with her, but we don't know too much. Their birthdays are kind of an estimate. Some day when they're high school age we want to go back to China with them."

The application itself can be daunting due to intensity of questions prospective adoptive parents must answer. Kim estimates they spent three months on paperwork — disclosing everything from their ages and weight to physical problems and police records. "The list is just outrageous," she said.

The questions are definitely tough, according to Lori Rademaker, who remembers questions about sexual abuse, physical abuse and other uncomfortable topics.

"By the time you're done filling that out, you're almost physically sick because you think to yourself they have to ask that for a reason. It's unsettling."

"We go into some pretty significant stuff and get pretty involved in people's lives," said Bill Kern, regional supervisor for Lifelink International Adoptions, which has an office in Appleton. "We look at the history, the relationship ... everything. We have to make a recommendation to that country's government that this will be a loving home. If you wanted to have your own child, it's so much easier, but the countries giving up their children for adoption care just as much about their children as we do so they want to make sure the family can provide for the child's health, safety and welfare. It's the family dynamic, the environment and what kind of citizens they are."

International adoptions carry a significant legal process, according to Kern, because rules and laws change often in some countries. A Hague Treaty Convention out of Holland is helping to stem some of those differences by bringing countries together on standards and requirements. The United States is one of the approximately 75 countries so sign on to the agreement, which will "level the playing field" for international adoptions, Kern said.

Making the decision to adopt domestically or abroad is extremely individualized, according to Connie Freuler, accounts manager for Adoption Services.

"Some people have been trying fertility treatments, and they just don't want to have to wait in a pool," Freuler said. "Some don't want the birth mom to change her mind. They just want to get it done."

Adopting internationally is a little more certain, she said, because you're usually dealing with an orphanage and not a birth mother.

Among the reasons people turn to international adoption is to cut the wait time. Because not as many birth mothers are placing their children, domestic adoptions can come with a long wait.

"Some couples choose to stay with it and wait a year or two. Some couples might wait five years, but that would be the extreme," Freuler said, adding that most international adoptions go quicker. "You just have to wait for your invite to come over and adopt the child."

Adoption out of Guatemala or Russia is likely to take 1 to 1½ years, while adoptions out of Ethiopia — currently a popular choice due to shortened wait times — can happen quicker.

Kern offered estimated costs for international adoptions, not including travel expenses: China — $19,000-$21,000; Korea — $22,000; Ukraine — $33,000-$36,000; and Phillipines — $15,000. One-time federal and state tax credits are available for families who adopt.

Not all people will meet each country's standards for age, religion, etc.

Younger couples who really want the infant experience may be willing to wait longer, Freuler said. Other couples might already have children but want a larger family and want things to happen sooner.

Because their children were part of the Special Needs Adoption Network, the Rademakers' adoptions cost nothing.

Lori Rademaker offers advice to other people embarking on their own adoption journeys.

"You have to be a nurturing person. These kids come with baggage. You don't end up in a foster care situation because you had a good life. Be open to counseling. If it weren't for the counselor we used for the boys, our road would have been awful. In the beginning, it is overwhelming. You have to remember why you're doing it in the first place. You should just think of it as the nine months of being pregnant. Your trials are not so much physical, they're more mental. Be honest with yourself and with the professionals who are trying to help you."

Within the United States, birth parents often choose the couple with whom they want to place their child.

"That's how adoption has evolved," Freuler said. "Some birth moms want to know their child is in a good home. It's not the closed adoption anymore. It's becoming more open."

Freuler said she wishes, however, that the concept of putting a child up for adoption could be more widely accepted.

"There were more birth moms placing their children in 1996, but not so much anymore. The peer pressure is horrendous. They say, 'How can you give your kid away?' but birth moms have thought about this and have recognized that she cannot care for a child at this time. It's a very loving decision. It's not selfish."

Agencies remain in contact with adoptive and birth families long after the adoptions are final, according to Freuler.

"We are there to help them. We don't just dump (birth parents) or adoptive parents. Even 20 years from now, we want to help them with whatever they're going through. Adoption is a wonderful way to build your family."

Toni Hoh:

Chocka Chocka Cheese

Alex's note: This post is pretty funny. This gentleman has a great writing style. Enjoy.


That's what Jarrah calls it. The place we went today--the place I swore I'd never go. Amazing how one's priorities change with parenthood, and sometimes insidiously, messing with one's ideals until suddenly you're saying things you never thought you'd say, like "Do you want to go dance with Chuck E. and his friends? I think he likes you."

That's right, Dear Readers. We went to Chuck E. Cheese today. I was a little nervous it would be a zoo on a Saturday. Jessica, already a veteran, confirmed that it would. But it wasn't so bad. In fact (dare I admit this?) we kinda had fun. All three of us. And (gasp!) I would go back.

For the uninitiated, Chuck E. Cheese is not just a place to get passable pizza and wings (in fact, the pizza wasn't terrible, and it was steaming hot and fresh. It's like the old joke: "How is pizza like sex?" "When it's good, it's great, and when it's bad, it's still pretty good.") It's a combination arcade/playground/birthday party zone. It reminds me of Dave and Busters, which is the same thing targeted to adults, except that I hated that place, and I didn't hate this. For one thing, we'd printed a coupon from the internet that entitled us to one ginormous pizza with anything we wanted on it, three refillable drinks, and 30 game tokens, all for the non-princely sum of $20. I figured 30 tokens would be like 30 tickets at the San Diego Fair--we'd get on one and a half rides. But at Chuck E. Cheese (am I starting to sound like I've been brainwashed?) one token equals one ride or game. Readers, we couldn't have used up 30 tokens if we'd spent the rest of the day there. And every time you play a game, the machine spits out a chain of tickets which are redeemable for plastic prizes. Tiny, crappy prizes, sure--but prizes! Jarrah was in heaven spending 10 tokens on a Tootsie Roll.

There was a giant climbing structure with tubes and slides that reminded me of "My Kids Clubhouse," and simulated rollercoasters and mini-carousels and lots of those coin-operated cars from the mall. There was Skee-Ball, dear to me from my own childhood, and I snuck away for a few games. Whee! David loved an arcade game called "Flaming Finger" (I'm going to delicately avoid discussing this name) which involved nothing more than one's own fingertip on a sort of maze, with a timer. David announced that he could happily play this one 10 more times, and probably would have, but alas, it was nap time.

The place was chockablock with birthday revelers, and we benefited from this in the "show room," since Chuck E. himself came out with a lot of red-shirted girls for some sort of cheerleading exercises and personal audiences with the birthday kids. Jarrah was so busy throwing her arms in the air that she almost couldn't eat her pizza, but she eventually managed to put away three slices. The rest of the time, some huge, furry beasts with snapping mechanical eyeballs simulated a rock band on the stage, and Jarrah eyed them warily, stayed in our laps, and announced that "the monsta not come and get me." I assured her that a rider in the monster's contract required that he stay on stage. I will admit that the mechanical furry things were pretty creepy, and I feel smug about the fact that my daughter clearly agrees.

Afterwards, drooling Tootsie Roll down her top, Jarrah said that her favorite part was the pizza, but she wanted to go back to "Chocka Chocka Cheese (aka Chocolate Choo-Choo Cheese) "for more show right now." So I have a feeling that this rite of passage, unlike mastering Everest, will not be a once in a lifetime opportunity. Luckily, we still have a whole mess of tokens.

Sam & David's China Adoption Adventures

Sunday, September 09, 2007

China Police Break Baby Trafficking Ring

21 hours ago

BEIJING (AP) — Police in eastern China have broken up a baby trafficking ring, arresting 47 people and rescuing 40 infants, state media said Friday.

The operation began in late May after police questioned four women on a train, each holding a baby, the official Xinhua News Agency said, citing officers with the Nanjing railway police office.

One woman confessed they had bought the babies in southwest China's Yunnan province and planned to sell them to a person in eastern China's Shandong province.

Authorities arrested 10 suspects in the two provinces and learned that the gang had already sold 27 newborns, Xinhua reported. The gang bought the babies in Yunnan, took them to Shandong and sold them with the help of human traders.

The report did not give any details of the other arrests.

More than 60 babies had been trafficked, and authorities had rescued 40, Xinhua said. Police continued to search for the others.

China has a thriving trade in babies that are stolen or bought from poor families and then sold to couples who want another child, a servant or a future bride for a son.

Thousands of babies are also abandoned every year in China. Many are girls given up by couples who, bound by rules that limit most urban families to one child, want to try to have a son. Others are left at orphanages or by the roadside by unmarried mothers or poor families.

Associated Press

Fewer children finding homes in Canada; Foreign adoption in decline

Local News - Friday, September 07, 2007 @ 00:00

While Madonna and Angelina Jolie have grabbed headlines by adopting young children from overseas, fewer Canadians adopted internationally last year.

There were 1,535 children adopted from abroad in 2006, 18 per cent less than the year before and 30 per cent less than in 2003, according to Citizenship and Immigration Canada figures.

The sharp decline is attributed to adoptions from China falling nearly 37.5 per cent to 608 last year from 973 in 2005.

Canadians adopting internationally have long turned to China as the top source because of its one child per family policy to curb overpopulation that's been in effect since 1979. But China has become overwhelmed by increasing numbers of families wishing to adopt from many countries, said Sandra Scarth, president of the Adoption Council of Canada.

China announced tougher restrictions late last year on applicants that took effect in May, banning adoptions by single parents, obese parents and those under 30 or over 50.

Adopting couples must also meet income, net worth, education and health requirements and have to be married for at least two years and at least five years if it's a second marriage for either partner.

"The extra requirements was one way China has tried to help reduce the numbers of applicants and will likely result in a further decline in numbers next year," Scarth said.

That has meant longer waiting times for applicants to China, leaving some to turn to adopting from other countries.

There were modest increases last year in adoptions from some other countries, particularly Ethiopia and Vietnam, according to Citizenship and Immigration Canada figures.

As economic and social conditions improve in the developing world, fewer children are waiting for families, said Martha Maslen, executive director of Children's Bridge, a Canadian agency that sets up adoptions from China and other countries.

Canadians looking to adopt overseas are turning to new sources in Africa, such as Ethiopia, Maslen said.

Haiti was the second largest source of children for Canadians adopting overseas last year with 123 adoptions, followed by South Korea with 102, the United States with 96 and Russia with 95, according to Citizenship and Immigration Canada figures.

Intercountry adoptions to Canada had been running stable for the past 11 years with between 1,800 and 2,200 a year.

Scarth and Maslen both said last year's decline is not a case of fewer Canadians being interested in adopting from abroad.

"Because the wait is getting much longer, there are fewer placements each year," Scarth said.

Long waiting lists have also built up for applicants to some other countries, such as South Korea, she said.

Some countries halt international adoptions temporarily to implement new rules.

Guatemala is closed to Canadians, while Vietnam recently reopened as an option.

Adoptions from Russia slowed a couple years ago when new regulations required all agencies handling international adoptions to become re-accredited.

The changes were triggered by Russian outrage over the killing of a six-year-old Russian boy by his American parent, Irma Pavlis, in Illinois in December 2003.

There have been 12 cases of American parents killing adopted Russian children since 1991.

Implementation of a 2000 international agreement to prevent child smuggling called the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption has also unintentionally slowed down legitimate overseas adoptions in many countries, Scarth said.

Some countries, such as India, now require a search for either a relative or another adoptive family in the child's country before a child can be legally freed for intercountry adoption.

"India is now making some efforts to increase intercountry adoptions, but the process is quite slow," Scarth said.

Agencies handling international adoptions won't even work with a few countries, such as Liberia, because of questionable practices, she said.

Adopting a child internationally can cost $20,000 to $25,000 in fees and travel costs, but Scarth and Maslen said the high cost is not a factor in the decline in numbers.

The fees have not changed much in 12 years, Maslen said.

"Adoptive applicants wanting young children sadly become quite desperate and seem to be willing to pay whatever it costs," Scarth said.

The federal government introduced an income tax credit in 2005 allowing up to $10,000 in adoption expenses to be deducted.

About 80 per cent of children adopted from overseas are younger than five years old and two thirds are girls, the Citizenship and Immigration Canada figures indicate.

"Many families want to adopt healthy infant girls when in reality the majority of children waiting for families are older and/or boys," Maslen said.

Ontario and Quebec are the leading destinations for international adoptions, with 494 in Ontario and 487 in Quebec last year, according to Citizenship and Immigration Canada figures.