Our story starts on August 30, 1996. Ginger and
I went to see the musical "Miss Saigon" at the Ohio Theatre. During the opening
of the second act which shows biracial children in a Vietnamese orphanage, Ginger
whispered to me "Could you adopt a child like that?". My heart soared, as I
answered, "Yeah, I think so." I had, unknown to Ginger, been investigating
adoption for sometime. We had been married for 15 years, and had been trying for children
seriously for seven years. We both agreed that we would not pursue medical options,
because of the heavy emotional and financial costs involved, but Ginger had not seriously
considered adoption before. I had bought a couple of adoption books a couple of years
earlier and placed them around the house, but Ginger didn't seem to notice. The
horror stories of long custody battles, endless waits, incredible costs, and unethical
practices in private domestic adoptions were very frightening to both of us.
International adoptions raised other serious issues including, racism, developmental
problems, attachment problems, cultural differences, costs and extended foreign travel.
On September 2nd, when I got back to work, I sent a whole bunch of adoption
bookmarks that I had been collecting to Ginger via email. Ginger was very surprised
at the amount of research that I had done. Ginger called the county children's services to
inquire about local adoptions. The county was very discouraging. We were white, and
not really receptive to a severe special need child. They told us about a video that
showed available children. The video was over 2 years old and showed briefly about
two dozen children. Every child in the video had severe medical or psychological problems.
Although our hearts went out to these children, Ginger and I knew that we couldn't handle
these severe special needs.
Ginger and I attended several adoption workshops sponsored by local social services
agencies. We talked to several couples that had waited for years for placements. One
very nice couple had been waiting for 3 years for a special needs child of any race.
Another couple was fostering, hoping to adopt. They had two sibling in their home
for 2 years and the county had not yet started procedures to terminate the parents
rights. It didn't take us long to figure out that neither of these options were
right for us. We started to investigate international adoption.
We decided to investigate adoption from China. A girl from China. The thought
was partially planted in our mind since the part of Tam, in Miss Saigon, was played by an
adopted Chinese girl. Also, Ginger and I both like Chinese art. Early in our
marriage we had decorated our living room with art purchased at the Ohio State Fair from
the Hubei Provence special exhibition. We were both docents at the Son of Heaven Exhibit
several years ago in Columbus. It seemed the China adoption program was relatively
straight forward. Since it is run by the Chinese government, we were not concerned about
baby stealing and corruption. The children coming from China were young, and were by and
large very healthy. Travel requirements were reasonable, the costs manageable. The choice
of China seemed very comfortable.