Picking a Country in International AdoptionQ: When I work through the parental preference worksheet in the book [The Complete Book of International Adoption by our Exec. Director, Dawn Davenport], I am led to China or Korea, but I still feel drawn to adopt from Russia. Should I follow my heart or mind?

A: Dawn Davenport, Exec. Director of Creating a Family, the national adoption & infertility education and support organization and author of The Complete Book of International Adoption: I see this dilemma fairly frequently when I work with families on deciding on a country. When we dig a little deeper usually the parents find that they answered the parental preference worksheet as they thought they should, not as they truly felt. Perhaps you underrated your preference for a Caucasian child because you thought it somehow “looked bad” to prefer a child of your race.

Also, it is possible that you have strongly competing preferences. You want a stable, quick, inexpensive country that places young Caucasian children. Remember, your preferences are what they are and shouldn’t be lightly dismissed, but sometimes you can’t have it all, and you have to honestly (read ruthlessly?) decide on your priorities. It often helps if you can attend gatherings with adoptive families of all hues to get a better feel for transracial adoption. Check with a local international adoption agency about playgroups or family gatherings where prospective parents are welcome. I strongly encourage you not to rush through this step in the process.

[Note that Russia is no longer open to international adoption. See the Creating a Family Adoption Comparison Charts for which countries are currently placing many children in the US.]

Image credit: Shena Pamella