My little brother was adopted. He came from Colombia, through a fantastic organization known as FANA. I can’t remember how long it took for my parents to adopt, but I know that my brother came to the States right around my fourth birthday, and I know that my mom went through five miscarriages before they decided to go the adoption route, so I assume that the process couldn’t have taken more than two years.
Adoption is really wonderful thing to do, and there are so many children in the world that need loving parents. Do remember, though, that although there are many, many positive aspects to adoption, it also comes with differences from having a child genetically related to you. For example, personality-wise and such, your adopted child may not be like you and your husband. These things may not be terribly important; for example, my parents and I are all early morning people, but my brother is a night owl. There can also be quite profound differences, though: if, for example, you and your husband are blessed with extremely high IQs – let’s say in the 150 range – then statistically you will not end up with a child anywhere near as bright as you. It’s possible, sure, but not likely – just as it’s possible but not likely that you and your brainy husband could have a child genetically yours who is born with below average intelligence.
Adopted children also tend to have more questions about their identity, and sometimes they have difficulty adjusting, even if adopted as infants. I believe that statistically, an adopted child is 50% more likely to end up in longterm counseling at some point in their life than a child that remains with its birth parents. Of course, that being said, children who are up for adoption are possibly going to have that problem anyway, and they will need a loving family one way or another.
Another thing to remember, should you pursue a foreign adoption, is that childhood nutrition and other health problems are quite rampant in many orphanages. When my brother finally came home to us, he had a severe case of chicken pox. The chicken pox had been bouncing through his orphanage for ten years, even though they moved buildings twice. I think it took them another five to completely eradicate it. I also once knew a girl who lived next door to me. She had been adopted from Russia when she was four (or maybe as old as seven, I can’t remember) years old. Even though she was only a year younger than me, she was four grades behind me because she had had to learn English and because, both mentally and physically, she was several years younger than her peers because of the severe malnutrition she faced as a small child in Russia. These sorts of problems can happen domestically, too, though. I used to play all the time with a girl and her (genetic and adopted) brother who had been adopted from another American. They were both born with fetal alcohol syndrome, and although when I moved across the country, the girl had cried and cried and told me I was her only friend, she had no memory of me when I visited a year later. Two of my cousins were also adopted domestically, and they both came from drug-addicted mothers, and they suffered from some pretty severe behavioral issues.
All that being said, I also know several kids who were adopted but who have grown up to be as normal as anyone else. I think adoption is a wonderful thing to do, and if my boyfriend and I end up unable to have children, we’ll probably adopt. I think it’s just good to know what you’re going into before you make the decision.