I want to thank the Sun-Gazette for publishing our story. I want to answer some of the comments that were posted online the day it appeared. Why not adopt a U.S. kid, and why pay 50 grand for a child? You should ask that same question to the thousands of parents trying to adopt internationally, right now, not only from Russia, and those who did in the past from all over the world. We all face the choice, and have taken the international route. It makes sense to us.
In America you don't adopt babies; you adopt children from foster care or orphanages. Most children available are between six and sixteen years old. That's not a baby, that's a person. To adopt a baby you have to contract a birth mother who is willing to give her baby for adoption. We looked into both and decided they were not for us. To get a newborn you need to find a birth mother. We read the contract for one agency, and it is scary. You have to pay all her expenses, medical and living, and she can walk away with it at any moment. You have to pay lawyers, go through background checks, bureaucracy, courts, and at any moment the baby can be taken back, until the court awards you the prize.
We wish the system would be easy, transparent, inexpensive, but the system has evolved to prevent abuses, prevent child trafficking, create new business opportunities, lots of legal fees, accountability, and a traceable history for the baby. It is big business. For a domestic adoption, substitute the foreign bureaucracy with lawyer's fees, and no travel expenses abroad, but to the hospital. It is as expensive, or even more expensive.
Finally, the bilateral agreement between Russia and the USA is just a request from the Russian side for us to take more training and allow more scrutiny after the adoption. It does not force or guarantee an adoption from either side. Therefore, the Russians stated it will be in force until January 2014, but that does not change anything or mean anything.
Joseph E. LeBlanc
Submitted by Virtual Newsroom