…another one opens. We’ve all heard that before, but the beginning of my adoption journey is a perfect example of how true that is.
Near the end of 2012, I had dedicated myself to this life changing decision to adopt a child, but I spent the next few months hitting roadblocks at the most well known adoption agencies in the Chicago area. One after another, telling me it was highly unlikely I would get picked by a birth mother because single parents weren’t considered desirable.
After licking my wounds, it was time to explore other options. As I mentioned in my last blog, I had previously looked into foreign adoptions and foster care but found little hope of success there either. I specifically checked on adopting from India, but they were not accepting applications from prospective adoptive parents overseas.
With the odds against me for a domestic adoption, I decided to re-explore the international route. Countries that follow the Hague convention rules have all developed their own list of criteria for whom they will allow to adopt. They require things; like, a certain age range for adoptive parents, there are residency restrictions, health specifications, minimum income, how many children are allowed in the home and marital status.
I was surprised and disappointed to learn just how many countries would only consider adopting to married couples.
The decision to go it alone, which had felt so liberating, was turning into my biggest obstacle – no matter where I tried to adopt from.
One afternoon during this challenging time, I got a phone call from my sister. Her voice sounded inappropriately excited relative to my glum mood. She was passing along a message from her friend who suggested I try to adopt from India. Her sweet friend, of Indian origin, was discussing the sad state of all the homeless children encountered during recent travels. That killed me. Frustrated, I told my sister that I had previously looked into India and they were not accepting foreign applications.
I don’t know what made me check again. What seemed to be a split second decision to surf the web changed my life.
My sister’s friend didn’t know this when she made her suggestion, but India had just reopened its doors to overseas applicants DAYS before. She had no insight into international adoption regulations, but was simply passing along what struck her heart. Had she not brought it up, it’s doubtful I would’ve pursued it because I didn’t think it was an option.
Additionally, consider this: India lifted its stay on foreign adoptions LESS THAN THREE WEEKS after I received a gut wrenching blow when I was “released” by another adoption agency that decided I wouldn’t find success there.
Furthermore, India was one of just a handful of countries I explored that allowed single parent adoption.
Two cliches ring true. Timing is everything and there’s no such thing as coincidence.
My fascination with India was actually piqued shortly before my daughter was born. I love to look back and marvel at where I was, and where my daughter was, at any given time before we met. A few years prior, while recovering from a breakup I found solace in yoga. I started attending regular classes, workshops and reading books about its origins. Suddenly, India was on my radar. Other “yogis” I talked to kept mentioning their travels to India. It seemed like I went decades without paying that much attention and suddenly everywhere I turned I was hearing or reading about India. I developed an intense curiosity and admiration.
Something clicked inside me when I saw the alert posted on the U.S. State Department’s web site about the change in status for Indian adoptions. I knew the little girl that I automatically kept picturing in my head was there.
However, the notice also indicated they were only allowing children classified as “special needs” to be adopted overseas. This didn’t deter me in the least. For some reason, I didn’t believe it. It wouldn’t have made a difference in my decision, but for the record, my daughter is healthy and not considered special needs.
This was just the beginning of my miracle slowly unfolding.
***India has since opened its doors to foreigners for adoption of all children available, not just those classified as “special needs.” Changes in the requirements and status of active foreign adoptions are updated frequently. For the latest information, check: