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When considering various options for adoption, families sometimes overlook smaller or lesser known programs, but often those very programs can be a great fit! With a smaller number of adoptions (47 adoptions to the US in 2015, according to the US State Department website), many families don’t know a lot about adoption from Thailand, or may not even know that it is possible. While at first glance the eligibility guidelines for Thailand seem strict, don’t rule Thailand out quite so quickly! There is flexibility for older children or those with special needs, so talk to an agency to determine if Thailand may be an option for you.
Thailand’s Department of Children and Youth (DCY) oversees all adoptions. Adoption agencies primarily work with specific private institutions in Thailand, such as the Thai Red Cross, where families may submit their dossier to wait for a referral or come forward for a specific waiting child. Though there are not as many children available as some larger countries, there are many reasons to adopt from Thailand.
There is a Need for International Adoption
Thailand is known as “The Land of Smiles,” and it only takes walking around for a day to understand why. The people are so friendly, welcoming and generous. However, it is a nation with its share of struggles, including a large wealth gap, drug and alcohol addiction, prostitution, and overall poverty. These challenges, as well as social stigma concerning single mothers, lead to many children living in institutions. International adoption has long had an important role in Thailand. While in recent years there’s been an increase in adoption within Thailand, it is still not enough for the number of children in need of permanent families.
Families Can Adopt Young Children Considered Healthy
It is possible to adopt a young child (under three years old) without known medical needs from Thailand. Many of these children will have factors in their background that are a risk for future health and development, but an international adoption doctor can help families consider and assess the risks when they receive a referral. Circumstances seen in a child’s background have included prematurity, low birth weight, prenatal alcohol, drug or tobacco exposure, lack of prenatal care, a birth parent positive for HIV or Hepatitis, birth family history of mental illness, mild delays in motor skills or speech, and minor health concerns (respiratory issues, eczema, reflux, etc.). The wait for a referral can be long, but wait times are usually shorter for families open to children over age three.
There are Children Waiting for a Family
There are children with paperwork already prepared for adoption who are waiting to be chosen. Many of these children have medical or developmental needs, such as heart defects, epilepsy, limb differences, cerebral palsy, deafness, HIV, vision impairment, etc. There are also older children, age ten and up, without known medical needs.
Travel is Short and Easy to Manage
Most families find Thailand easy to navigate, as the majority of people speak English, and they are friendly and eager to help! Only one trip of 10-14 days is required, and both parents must travel. The majority of children referred are in institutions in Bangkok, in which case the entire trip is there; if a child is from another city the family will travel there first before travelling together to Bangkok. Often families are able to have a day or two of visitations at the start of their trip before taking custody.
The most important quality in a parent adopting from Thailand is flexibility, a quality that will serve you well when parenting your adopted child as well! Timeframes for the various steps can be uncertain and information on your child limited, but staff will do their best to support you through the challenges.
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