and they say the estimate is 54 months, so yeah that would be 5 years.
Guess my thesis is no longer valid! haha!
However, being half Chinese, with family in China, my wait period would likely not be as long as others. More likely around the 3 year mark, which isn't bad at all, although I'd have no problem waiting 5 years. We are also looking at adopting from Taiwan though, and I believe their wait period is shorter, but we'll see what happens when we get there. We don't plan on having children for a long time, and maybe the wait periods will go up, or maybe they will go down.
If your sister's parameters are that open, she might consider looking at both the shared and agency-specific lists of "special focus" waiting children rather than just waiting for a referral. We know a few families adopting from China right now, and this is the route they have all taken. China REALLY wants the special focus children placed, so my understanding is that the process is sped up for them. Is she willing to adopt a boy? There are apparently far more boys waiting in China than girls, b/c everyone wants to adopt girls for some reason.
Open adoption is not like co-parenting or shared custody. It's really more like having in-laws than anything else I can think to compare it to. Our son's birth mother chose to place him for adoption and she picked us out to be his family. She is actually really into us being his parents. She doesn't try to interfere with the way that we raise him or anything. From what I have heard from our social workers and other adoptive families, this is pretty typical.
We email her photos and updates about once a month, at the same time that we email photos to grandparents and such. It is just a matter of adding her email address to the photo-sharing thing, that's it. We have had maybe four in-person visits in the past year and a half, the same number she has requested. She lives nearby, so visiting is not a big deal. Many placements end up being in different states or hours away, many families in open adoptions visit maybe once a year, or once every few years, or not at all.
We do not have an official open adoption agreement. I can't imagine ever needing or wanting to cut off contact. But if some crazy unforeseeable thing happened, we could do that. We are his only legal parents. Even if we had a formal OA agreement, these are not even legally enforceable in our state. They are considered "gentlemen's agreements." Even in states where OA agreements are legally enforceable, violating them does not jeopardize the adoption. Every OA "contract" I have seen includes a clause stating that if the adoptive parents ever decide that this relationship is not in the best interests of their child, they can cut off contact. I would never advise any adoptive parent to make promises that they plan to break. Promises might not be legally binding, but they are morally binding. BUT if your sister is afraid that this relationship will get out of hand or be beyond her control, that is just not something that she needs to fear.
China--have a surplus of adoptable boys because everyone snatches up the girls. The wait for a referral from many countries is much shorter if you are open to adopting a boy. In fact, even if you look into adoption from the American foster care system, it seems that all of the young, healthy girls are snatched up but there are plenty of very young, healthy boys still waiting for homes. I wonder why it is that everyone wants girls. A century ago it was the other way around; America used to have "orphan trains" that went across the country dropping off orphans in rural towns (link to Wikipedia page), and the boys were much easier to place with families because they could help on farms and with small businesses. Now that American families no longer depend on helping hands with manual labor, girls seem to be preferred, and I suspect it's because of little girls' cuteness factor. Every mama wants a little girl to dress up and spoil. Maybe there are other reasons, but it's just really unfortunate for all the little boys out there who sit in orphanages and foster homes while childless families wait 5+ years for a little girl.
Remember Anne of Green Gables? They were going to return her to the orphanage b.c she wasn't a boy!
Interestingly, I read a study referenced claiming that most Americans still prefer biological sons. Sorry, I don't remember even where I read this, so I'm not going to claim that this is accurate. But yes, even with domestic adoption, people prefer to adopt girls. It is possible to specify sex when adopting newborns privately (though you generally wait much longer) and most people who do specify girls. Some agencies have started discouraging families from specifying boys v. girls, even in international adoption, b.c there are so many waiting boys. We did not specify sex when we adopted, and we won't in our next adoption, either. Neither of us has ever cared about having sons v. daughters, and we'd be happy with all boys. Or boys and girls, whatever.
I think boys are feared as more 'damaged,' that behavioral issues will be worse with boys, that school performance will be worse, and the risk of autism/ASDs is higher. There is a mythos surrounding girls-- especially internationally-- that since some cultures have a strong preference for sons, perfectly healthy & normal girls will be given up/abandoned purely because of their gender, whereas any boy that's given up must have something really wrong with him.
Domestically conduct disorders are higher in boys, and troubled male adolescents are feared to be worse than troubled female adolescents in terms of criminal activity and the like.
My sister is absolutely willing to take any waiting child as long as their special needs wouldn't overwhelm them (two first-time parents who both work full-time). I'll ask her about this special-focus list. Can you tell me more about it?
Here is a website that features some of the shared list children: http://www.nohandsbutours.com/
They also have a list of commonly seen special needs with links to families who adopted children with those needs. This is all specific to China. Obviously, your sister has you as an invaluable source of medical information, but it can be helpful to see what caring for a child w. specific needs is like for other families and also to have the opportunity to connect w. those folks and ask them questions.
Your sister's agency should also have an agency specific list of waiting children that they can access. I am no expert, all I know comes from being a bystander to the adoptions of friends. But I believe that what happens is that China sends out lists of children to all of the various agencies and the agencies refer from that list. The shared list is for children that they are finding it harder to place- I guess that they would be sent first to specific agencies, and if they are not chosen, then they go to the shared list.
I am not sure why but I've noticed that in Morocco the gender situation is reversed: girls are rarely given up for adoption, it's nearly all boys.
I'm only 19, and do not see myself seeking to adopt for another 5-8 years, but it is something that I believe I would like to do. Of course, it will greatly depend on my future husband's feelings about the idea. I would like to do a private domestic adoption, and if at all possible, have it be an open adoption so the birth parents can have a relationship with the child they allowed me to care for. However, I would only consider an open adoption if it would be best for the child. I wouldn't want them being around someone with a drug/alcohol problem. I do not foresee myself having any issues TTC, but I want to adopt regardless.
There is a lady I know who recently adopted her second son. The couple does have issues with fertility. She found out she would be getting her first son 21 days before he was born (2 years ago). The birth mother chose this couple and they were able to leave the hospital with the baby a couple days after he was born. She found out on the 5th of this month that there was another lady who was considering them to adopt her baby. The baby was due the end of this month, but made a surprise appearance only ten days later. They also got to take this beautiful baby home with them from the hospital. Now, it took a little while (I'm thinking 1-3 months) for the adoption to be finalized, but they were able to keep the baby with them. I hope everything goes as smoothly with #2.