We have had to make a change to our plan to adopt a daughter from China. Soon after Thanksgiving, we were approved to adopt from China. Well, a week later or less, there governmental agency in China that is responsible for facilitating adoptions on their end had a major meeting and passed many new regulations. If you want to see what these new regulations are they can be found in this post from the earlier blog: http://journey-to-our-chinese-princess.blogspot.com/2006/12/new-regulations-for-china-adoptions.html. We seem to meet all the regulations, but one -- the length of marriage, if there has been a previous divorce. They are giving a grace period of several months for people to get their paperwork in, but since we have not even started it is very unlikely that we would get everything into our agency for them to go through and process and then send to China, by the necessary date that it must not only be received, but also be logged in by the governmental agency there.
We originally went to an informational meeting at what is now our adoption agency back in October for information about adopting from Vietnam. We decided we really loved the agency and decided to pursue a Chinese adoption. The woman heading that meeting told the group, (I think there were 4 sets of adoptive parents) that although the wait was long and increasing for China, if that is where your heart tells you to go, do not be dissuaded, in the timeline of things an extra 6 months or year is not so very long as compared to the length of time many wait to be parents in the first place. So, we decided to follow our hearts. But after this meeting, another person, there told us that with the new regulations, it would be in our best interest to go with a different country. The other countries they work in for adoption, other than China is Russia, Vietnam, Columbia, Ethiopia and Kazakhstan. Columbia can take years and there are lot of sibling groups that are placed, rather than a single child. Ethiopia is extremely new (they were not even approved in the country until just recently). Russia is Russia still very volatile with adoptions and they like many Eastern European nations have a high incidence of fetal alcohol syndrome from pregnant mothers abusing drugs and alcohol, which can lead to many, many problems. This is something we aren't comfortable with. Kazakhstan is part of the former U.S.S.R., like Russia. Although the country has a much lower incidence of alcohol or drug abuse as the majority of the country is Muslim, it also is somewhat volatile, not to the extent of Russian adoption, plus at the same time, it is also a good deal more expensive than China was by at least $10,000 and also required 2 trips to Kazakhstan (one trip to a foreign country is expensive enough but 2 is even more so as you can imagine.
Vietnam on the otherhand is similar to China in cost, requiring only one trip, and has a very, very low incidence of alcohol or drug abuse. Birth mothers although extremely poor, take care of themselves the best they can during pregnancy. The children are well-cared for and are often in foster family situations. So, our decision to change our adoption plans to Vietnam was not that difficult. We are just glad we decided to go with the agency we are now with, rather than the one we were planning to use. Of course, we liked the agency we were going to go with very much, but had we applied to them about the same time, we would have been in quite a bind since they are not yet approved in Vietnam; we probably would have gone with a Taiwan adoption, but I don't know much about that program, so who knows what the cost is and what requirements we might have had to meet.