How to have a baby when your tummy won't give you one.
The word adoption literally means: “to take into one's family through legal means and raise as one's own child”. The process of adopting a child is a rather complicated, which is why it isn’t common knowledge but I think it should be.
In most cases adoption is not a first choice. This was also the case for Theo and Anne, a young Dutch couple. Eight years ago they decided it was time for a family expansion; unfortunately this didn’t go as planned. After a year of trying they decided it was time to check if everything was okay, wondering why nothing had happened for them yet. It took the doctors three years to find out why it wasn’t working for Theo and Anne. In those years they tried a lot of different things, Intra uterine insemination and in vitro fertilisation, but still no baby. So it was time to think off other possibilities. Anna explained why it took a while to take the step towards adoption. “I needed a little time to find peace with the fact that my baby would not be conceived by me”.
Their journey with adoption started in 2010, they had to go through a long list of courses and inspections before they would be put on the waitlist. They had to convince the adoption agency and child protective services of their ability to raise a kid, but first a lot of decisions had to be made. They decided they wanted a kid that would be newly born to the age of six years old form the country Nicaragua. Anne explained their choice: “Because of my job I see what it does to kids and their parents when the child has disabilities and needs help with almost everything. I didn’t want that for my child, which is why we had to broaden the age limit, to still make a chance at getting a baby. The chances of getting a healthy young baby are rather slim. We also saw advantages in getting an older kid. We would be able to communicate with him or her and explain what is going on. You can’t really do that when it’s only a baby”. After their decisions and inspections their file was send to Nicaragua in the beginning of the year 2013, which meant that they would be on the waiting for at least another two years.
This seems like a long time but parents who are about to adopt a baby need this time to save money for the process. They have to pay both the adoption agency in their own country and the adoption agency in their future kid’s country. Theo and Anna had to learn Spanish, make a dossier about themselves and plan everything ahead, because once they received that relieving phone call they would only have three weeks to finalize everything and pack their bags. Parents have to stay in the country of their adoptive child from three up to five months. In this time they get to know their kid, but the adoption agency also gets to know them. They want make sure that the kid is going to be in good hands. There is a long process that still needs to happen when parents are finally there. The Adoption council have to decide whether they are in fact good for the kid, after that a judge has to name them official parents and then all the paperwork starts.
This process and months out of their home country is the other reason why they have to save a lot of money, because they have to pay for their stay in Nicaragua but they also still have their monthly expenses at home, which might not seem like a big deal but really, it is.
In November 2013, after only eight months of waiting, Theo and Anne received that relieving phone call, packed their bags and left for Nicaragua. They have been with their beautiful baby boy for a while now. “There are not a lot of couples here on the ranch, so most of the time it’s just us and our baby boy. It’s a challenge but also very special. We get the chance to get to know him very well, see him grow up. We can’t wait to take him home!”. Yet there is still a long process in front of them. Once the council gives the judge their verdict, he or she gets to name them the official parents. Then they can get him a passport and a visa, once that is done, all the waiting is over. They will finally be able to take him home.
It’s a happy ending for this couple and this baby. They are going to take care of him like he is their own, because after all the paper work and this long process, he will be their baby boy.
But is this process of selecting parents effective? She couldn’t really say: “The child protective services turn you upside down and screen you until they are sure of your ability to raise a child properly. It seems like a lot to take in, but I understand why they do it. After all it’s about the baby, not about you”.
Even though a lot of people choose adoption as their chance off getting a baby, there are a lot of couples on the waiting lists for a kid, there are still a lot of children out there that are not and might never be adopted and aren’t as lucky as this little guy.
Due to privacy reason the names in this story have been changed.