Even working out where to start is a barrier

Alla and her husband are a professional couple in their 30s*. Alla volunteered in child welfare as a young adult, which made her aware of the vulnerability of children in the care system. This led her and her husband to want to adopt for altruistic reasons. They have found trying to work out what route to take to be a frustrating and confusing process.

As Alla discovered, there is no central point where a prospective adoptive parent can find information about all the different types of adoption and identify which option might best suit their situation. Alla spent hours over months in making telephone calls and searching agency websites before she understood that the different type of adoption are managed by different agencies and that the processes and expectations are very different for each type of adoption and each agency and even each program within each agency. She looked for avenues by which she might speak to someone who had adopted but found that unless you already have connections with adoptive parents, there isn’t an easy way to do this. Even the few Facebook adoption groups that exist are specific to the type of adoption.

Alla and her husband eventually decided that they would pursue intercounty adoption. They had hoped that they might be able to adopt from the Eastern European country that Alla comes from, but this was not possible. Currently they are considering which country they might apply for but are struggling to understand why active adoption programmes are with developed countries like South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan while developing countries with many institutionalised children, are not available as option. Although Alla and her husband have been together for five years, they have only been married for one and this reduces their options. Just working out where to start with an adoption has proved very challenging. * Identifying details have been amended to allow for privacy of those involved