Friday, November 23, 2007

Adoption Update

I was looking forward to today with a mixture of excitement and apprehension. It was the day we would complete step #3 of the SENAME adoption adventure: the first informational meeting.

Frankly, we were astonished at the number of people waiting to enter the building at 9:30 AM! It was my guess that the agency schedules its first informational session at this time to “weed out” those who aren’t really serious about the idea of adoption, since it requires missing a morning of work. So to look around me and see 150+ people was a huge surprise!

It was definitely a cultural experience. The majority of the group were couples in their mid-30’s and that became a bone of contention at one point in the discussion (more on this later.) There were a few other foreigners but as far as I could tell they were from other Latin American countries. The session was led by a young attorney and two social workers, all of whom I found to be knowledgeable and honest, even about the less-than-ideal aspects of adoption in Chile. They did not make any promises they couldn’t keep, and in fact some of the information they shared was downright disheartening (for instance, all adoptive parent profiles are grouped together and only three are considered for each case – so some parents may match with a child on the first try, and for others it might mean being shown 20 times … also they mentioned that there are those, one family in particular, who have been waiting for up to SIX YEARS!)

During the question and answer time, it was evident that some people were already discouraged about the process, especially the timeframe and costs. (Costs are minimal because this is similar to what we would consider in the US an adoption from foster care, but there is a payment due for the psychological testing and meetings with the social worker.)

It was stated in the presentation that couples above the age of 40 would be required to adopt an older child. This created some consternation, because in Chile it is now customary for couples to wait to start a family until their careers are established – and then, if they encounter infertility as many do, they are already in their mid to late 30’s by the time they come around to considering adoption. So if the adoption process can take several years as was stated, then these same couples who were denied a baby (infant) biologically are now feeling that they are being denied a baby (infant) through adoption. That was the “bone of contention” I mentioned earlier.

I am interested to see how many of the original 150+ will continue on to the next step, which is a required informational meeting on Monday evening and which is followed by the final required meeting on Wednesday. For our part, we spoke with the social worker privately afterwards and explained our situation with the permanent residency (or lack thereof). She basically said it wouldn’t hurt to continue with the next few steps and speak to the director about our situation. Beyond that, only time will tell! – but, we know Who is in control. (:

1 comment:

Erin lee said...

wow steph! i didn't realize that you were already starting the process. good for you! keep us updated. have alot to tell you. i'll email tomorrow.