After lots of time researching and lots of prayers we decided to adopt from the Philippines through Holt International Children's Services. We felt that we not only best matched this country's criteria, but that it was a great fit for our family.
We chose Holt International Children's Services out of Eugene, Oregon because they are a reputable intercounty adoption agency that is recognized worldwide. They are the largest international adoption agency, having united nearly 40,000 children with adoptive families in the United States. Holt's approach is unique as it's centered on the child. We loved the fact that they have developed many programs overseas to give orphaned and vulnerable children a safe and nurturing environment in which to develop. They also have programs in place to first try and preserve the birth family or pursue a domestic adoption. This also helps assure us that international adoption was the best solution for our child. They also do many Child care projects in the Philippines. While assigned children are waiting for their permanent families, they are many times placed in foster families where they can encounter a family-like environment. This helps the child to better develop and prepares them to bond with their adoptive parents. In situations where institutional care is used, there is a high ratio of child care workers to children.
Adoption is a lifelong process, and Holt offers many programs that are enjoyed by adoptive parents and adoptees well after their adoption is complete. Heritage camps, birth country tours, birth family searches are just some of the things that we hope to someday experience as a family. We also love receiving the quarterly magazine that is devoted to adoption news, family stories and pictures, and resources.
We chose the Philippines for many reasons. The majority of the children placed are 12-24 months of age. While Wes and I both enjoyed the baby stage with Jaidyn and Addy, we really liked it when they both started walking and communicating. They are both at the ages where they are so much fun. The average time frame from the time of application through the time of placement is 28 months. We began our application process in May of 2007. So by my calculations we are looking at around September of 2009 before we meet our child. Yes, this will be a loooonnnnggg wait, but this will best fit our family as Jaidyn will be 5 and Addy will be 3. Our child will be between the age of 1-2, so this will keep them all at least a year apart. Plus we need the extra time to save money. Having such a long wait has allowed us to spread out some of the fees. The Philippines does not offer an escort service so we will have to travel to the country. I am actually very excited about this as I have never left the country. This will give Wes and I an opportunity to actually experience the Filipino culture. The Philippines requires us to travel to the country for a minimum of 5 days. Many countries mandate that you have to travel and stay for an average of 2-3 weeks and some required 2 trips. It will be hard enough for us to be away from Jaidyn and Addy for a week as we travel, but also think it will be important for us to have the extra time to bond with our child before adding two rambunctious kiddos to the mix. The Philippines requires that we must be open to a child of either gender. Even though we can't officially request a gender we can give a preference. Wes and I think that a little boy would complete our family. Maybe it is because I came from a family of 2 girls and a boy. Or maybe I like to think how boring my parents life would have been if it would have just been Jill and I. Jared has definitely made their lives more interesting. Ha! Ha! Jared, if you are reading this. Wes would love to have a son as he already thinks that he is living in a soreighty house and would love to have someone on his side. Our homestudy provider also told us that most people prefer girls so our chances of getting a boy are pretty high. The Philippines program also tries to match families with a different gender than what they already have. However, if we should get a referral for a beautiful baby girl we would feel greatly privileged and know that God has our family perfectly planned out.
Here is a link to Holt's page of frequently asked questions in regards to adoption from the Philippines.