Adoption Spotlight: China

At one time China was one of the most popular international adoption programs.  However in the past few years they have added more guidelines to their adoption procedures.  These guidelines are not meant to deter families interested in adoption, but more to help guarantee the welfare of their children.  As always, this is just an overview, so if you are interested in adoption, please seek guidance from an adoption professional.

About ChinaAdopt China

Population:  1.3 billion peopleLanguage(s):  Standard Chinese or Mandarin (for other languages see
Currency: Yuan
Capital:  Beijing

Who Can Adopt

  • Married couples between 30 to 50 years old.  The age of the couple will influence the age of the child assigned.
  • Couples must be married at least two years.

*Note:  If previously divorced, couples must be married at least five years, and no more than two divorces per couple.

  • No more than four children in the home.
  • Couples must be mentally and physically in good condition.  Certain illnesses and disabilities may affect adoption eligibility.  See further information regarding health requirements at the U.S. Department of State.
  • For further requirements see U.S. Department of State or speak with an accredited adoption professional.

China Adoption Highlights

  • Primarily female infants, ages 8 months to 18 months are available for adoption.  In some cases toddlers and boys may be available.  Special needs children are also available.
  • The cost for adoption is approximately $20,000 to $30,000.
  • The approximate wait time is three years.
  • The in-country stay is about two weeks and only one trip is required.
  • Children can be adopted from either an orphanage or foster care.
  • A home study and post placement report is required for adoption.

If you are interested in learning more about international adoption, please send me an e-mail at

On May 8th I will be hosting an information meeting about international adoption at the Watauga Public Library.  Send me an email if you are interested in attending.

Adoption Spotlight: Ethiopia

Next in our adoption spot light is Ethiopia.  This is just an overview, so if you are interested in adoption, please seek guidance from an adoption professional.

About EthiopiaAdoption Ethiopia

Location:  Northeastern part of Africa near the Red Sea

Population:  74.8 million

Language(s):  Amharic, Oromo, Tigrinya and Somali

Currency: Birr

Capital:  Addis Ababa

Who Can Adopt

  • Couples with or without children from ages 20 to 50.  Anyone past the age of 55 is reviewed on a case by case basis.
  • Couples must be married for at least one year at the time of application.
  • No more than two divorces.
  • Families with mental and health issues are considered on a case by case basis.

*Note:  I found conflicting information related to singles applicants.  If you are single and are interested in adopting from Ethiopia, seek guidance from an adoption professional.

Ethiopian Adoption Highlights

  • Infants to children 15 years old are available for adoption.
  • Healthy and special needs children are available as well as sibling groups.
  • Adoption from Ethiopia only requires one trip which usually last five to seven days.  One parent can travel alone if necessary.
  • The wait time for Ethiopia varies but can be estimated between 15 to 20 months once your paperwork has been submitted in-country.
  • Adoption expenses for Ethiopia range from approximately $21,000 to $28,000 for a couple adopting one child.
  • Pre-adoption and post-adoption home studies are required.  Families must also submit yearly informal updates until the adopted child turns 15 years of age.

If you are interested in learning more about international adoption, please send me an e-mail at

On May 8th I will be hosting an information meeting about international adoption at the Watauga Public Library.  Send me an email if you are interested in attending.

Adoption Spotlight: Colombia, South America

Over the next few weeks I will be doing a spotlight series on the adoption process of various countries.  For me the most logical place to start is Colombia, South America since this is where I adopted my little man.  This is just an overview, so if you are interested in adoption, please seek guidance from an adoption professional.

About Colombiacolombia adoption

Location:  Northwest corner of South America

Population:  46 million

Language:  Spanish

Currency:  Peso

Government:  Republic

Capital:  Bogota

Who Can Adopt

  • Couples married for at least two years.
  • Single women can adopt children seven years or older.
  • Couples 45+ are eligible for adoption of children 7+
  • Families with mental and health issues are considered on a case by case basis.
  • Families looking to adopt must have a clean criminal history.

Colombian Adoption Highlights

  • Most Colombian adoptions are orchestrated through ICBF (Colombian Institute of Family Welfare).
  • Babies to children in their teen’s are available, as well as, sibling groups and special needs children.
  • Adoption from Colombia requires only one trip which usually last between 3 to 8 weeks.
  • When adopting a baby (considered 0 to 1 years) families can have no more than two young children in their household.
  • Families can not specify if they want a boy or girl, but a preference can be stated.
  • The wait time for Colombia varies but can range between 6 months to 36 months once your paperwork is approved.
  • Colombian adoptions cost approximately $20,000 to $25,000 for a couple preparing to adopt one child.  Cost can vary from state to state.
  • Some items that ICBF require for adoption are:  pre-adoption and post adoption home studies, psychological testing and FBI clearance.

An Outsiders View of Bogota, Colombia

The primary question that people ask us about our time in Colombia is “were you not scared?”  We were scared, but not for the reason that one might think.  I was not afraid of drug trafficking and violence.  What terrified me was being in a foreign land and being a mother for the first time.  Talk about scary.  We actually felt very safe in the area of Bogota that we stayed in.  There were gates around our Bed and Breakfast, and we used common sense and refrained from going out after dark. All the stores that we went to were in walking distance and most had an armed guard either at the door or nearby.

We would explore around our neighborhood and take daily trips to the grocery store for things like Coca-Cola and Oreos which reminded us of home.   Everyone was friendly even with the language barrier.  Colombians love their children, so they would dote on Jordi when we were out and about.

Looking back I regret not participating more in the culture.  I was too busy trying to figure out this mothering thing and did not take in all that Colombia has to offer.  I was so focused on getting my new baby home that I did not take the time to appreciate the world I lived in for three weeks.  I would love to go back one day and take Jordi, so he can see where he was born and experience first hand the Colombian culture.

*Note:  If you are interested in learning more about adoption from Colombia, please let me know.  Hopefully in the near future I will be hosting an information meeting related to international adoption.  Email

Adoption: Preparing for the Home Study

If you have been through the adoption process or are currently going through the process, you know that the home visit can be very intimidating. Below are some things that are involved in the majority of home visits and some tips for getting prepared.

*Note: The agency you have selected to prepare your home study will give you a list of items/documents that you need for the visit. The requested information varies by the type of adoption and the state you live in, so be sure to follow the instructions provided by your agency.

adoption family

Information Requested by Most Agencies

• Autobiographical Statement
• Financial Documents
• Medical Reports
• Background Checks
• References

Tips for Getting Ready

• Be prepared to answer questions about your background, family, employment and life style.
• Have an idea of how you will deal with issues related to the child’s adjustment and discipline.
• Make sure your home is equipped with proper safety equipment (ex. smoke alarms).
• The case worker will want to make sure you have adequate space to accommodate a child/children. Where will the child be sleeping?
• Don’t overly stress about the cleanliness of you house. Yes, you want your house to be clean and safe, but most case workers understand that some clutter is to be expected.

For more information visit –

Have you adopted and gone through the Home Study Process?  What would you recommend? Leave a comment below..

Adoption Books for Kids

Once again, please welcome Makisha Howell, who will be contributing to the Mom squad on the topic of Adoption!

Adoption can be hard to understand, especially if you are kid.  Below are adoption related books which can offer a better understanding for young children.

I Wished for You: An Adoption Story by Marianne Richmond

This award winning book is recommended for both parents and children affected by adoption.

I wished for you

A Mother for Choco by Keiko Kasza

A Mother for Choco is recommended for families that are affected by interracial adoption.

Mother For Choco

Rosie’s Family: An Adoption Story by Lori Rosove

Rosie’s Family: An Adoption story encourages children to ask questions about adoption, and discusses the issues of being different.

rosie's family

Over the Moon: An Adoption Tale by Karen Katz

A vibrant story about international adoption, Over the Moon follows the journey of becoming parents. This was the first book I purchased for my little man.

Over the Moon

Other Children’s Books About Adoption

Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born by Jamie Lee Curtis

God Gave Us You by Lisa Tawn Bergen

I Love You Like Crazy Cakes by Rose Lewis

Happy Adoption Day by John McCutheon.

A Journey of Love and Adoption

Thanks to guest blogger, Teesa Klear, for sharing her adoption journey with us! You can find out more about Teesa and her family at her blog, The Klear Life! And be sure to read to the end and find out about a fundraiser at Perkinsville Baptist Church on May 27th!


Bill, Teesa and Sam with Pastor Hoarold Bennet, Jr.

Our adoption story started five years ago when we were living in China. I worked for an NGO (non-government organization) doing poverty alleviation in rural settings. Basically, I trained very poor villagers in really remote locations in Southwest China on good hygiene and even brought in doctors for medical clinics at times. We moved there in September 2000, after being married one year, and lived there for seven years.

We wanted to have a child, but after four years of trying, just couldn’t seem to get pregnant. We prayed about it and decided to start the adoption process from China because we love the Chinese people so much and believe we can offer a Chinese baby so much. In our case, we can speak Chinese fluently and lived there for a long time, so we can retain a lot of her heart language and culture for her. Plus, we do plan to move back some day, depending on Sam’s (our two and a half year old) heart condition and whether it stabilizes.

God blessed us with a pregnancy after four and half years of trying to 100_7307conceive, but we felt strongly that we needed to continue the process of adopting a little girl. The pregnancy delayed a few things, however, we finally submitted all of our paperwork a little over two years ago.

My husband works for Samaritan’s Purse now and is a Regional Manager for South and East Asia (China included). We were finally matched with our little girl in April and received permission from the Chinese government a couple days ago to go get her. Sam will stay here while we are gone because he cannot leave the country now, due to his rare heart condition.

There is a Chinese adoption support group here in Boone, where we can introduce her to other children just like her. She is in an orphanage in Southern China and is seemingly pretty healthy. Her iron levels are low, based on her paperwork according to Dr. St. Claire, but she is not anemic.

Our church wanted to help us out, but we wanted to be able to work for it (in a sense). So we asked if they would help us sponsor a fundraiser.

Part of why we are asking for a fundraiser is because the prices have gone up recently for adoption. For instance, on January 1st, the orphanage fee raised $2000. Another reason that we are asking for a fundraiser is because of our son’s heart condition. We had fully intended on going back to China when we came home in April 2007.

fishing-with-dadBut, in August of that same year, we discovered through serendipitous (i.e. God-given) events that he has Brugada Syndrome (he’s the only person in all of Watauga County and one of only a handful in NC). His wonderful heart doctor suggested we stay in the States instead of returning, while we tried to stabilize his condition (he had an internal defibrillator implanted when he was just 11-months old). We had nothing and had to start life from scratch in order to stay here: find a new job, new cars, a home, clothes, furniture…you name it, we didn’t have it. Combine that with almost 10 hospital stays inside of 8 months and we obviously need to do a little fundraising.

God has blessed us in our lives. Sam is healthy and hasn’t had any issues in just over a year and is a great joy in our lives. My husband is employed and we are surprised that we own a home and even have (borrowed) furniture to fill it. We have learned a lot in the last two years, since we’ve been back in the States, and most klearsimportant of all is that family takes priority. My husband and I both feel very strongly that this little girl, who we will name Carolina, is our first child. She is the child of our hearts who we yearned for and prayed for for many years. We have now seen her picture and are doubly blessed that we have fallen in love all over again because we can finally put a face to all of those prayers. In three short weeks, we will be able to hold her in our arms and finally bring her home to meet her new family.

Our church will be hosting a fundraiser to help us buffer some of the costs of the adoption. Perkinsville Baptist Church (across from New Market on 194 in Boone) will host a spaghetti dinner starting at 5pm on May 27th. Come join us and enjoy a great meal while you contribute to the cause of bringing our daughter, Carolina home.


Our Adoption Journey: Meeting My Little Boy

Please welcome guest columnist Makisha Howell, as she shares her experience as an adoptive parent!  She is also eager to connect with other adoptive moms for fellowship or support!

I am the proud mother of a precious, spirited three year old boy. This little boy did not grow in my belly for nine months. He grew in my heart. Becoming a mother happens in different ways and for me it was adoption. My husband and I adopted our little boy, Jordi, in November, 2006 from Bogota, Colombia.

Meeting Jordi was the greatest moment of my life. My heart was filled with joy, but truth be told I was scared to death. Our meeting took place in an old office building in downtown Bogota. After we had been escorted through security my husband and I waited to meet our little one in a small room which had been decorated with pictures of other families who had been in this same place before us. After waiting for awhile, I began to think that maybe the agency had changed their mind or forgot our appointment, but in walked a woman carrying the most beautiful little boy I had even seen.

The woman handed Jordi to me then left the room. Finally we were a family of three. Both my husband and I were crying tears of joy. Jordi however looked at us with those big, brown eyes and decided to offer some comic relief to this intense situation. He spit up all over everything. Kevin, Jordi and I were covered in spit up and were still trying to clean ourselves up when the agency workers came back in. We left with Jordi that day and went back to El Refugio, the bed and breakfast we would be staying at for the next few weeks.

So life was perfect. You would think so, but in reality it is scary to be a first time parent, much less in a foreign country. I was so happy to have Jordi, but I was also very homesick. I missed my family and friends. I wanted them to be with me and offer advice about being a new parent. The first few days I was scared to be alone with Jordi. I had been around kids my entire life, but nothing prepared me to have one of my own. What if he cried and I couldn’t help him? What if I was not feeding him enough or feeding him too much?

As the days past, we got into our routine. We started learning Jordi’s likes and dislikes and bonding as a family. I got to where I could call home without crying. And we started enjoying our surroundings. We would go for walks and play outside. Jordi was growing and each day he became stronger.

The day finally came for us to go home. I was excited, but still sad to leave my temporary “family” at El Refugio and the country of Jordi’s birth. After saying our goodbyes we headed back home to start a new journey. Our journey as a family of three…

Makisha Howell

For further information about our adoption or moral support during your adoption process, please email me at