I recently had the opportunity to talk with Wendy Stanley and Mary Chapman who are part of the Gladney International Adoption team about some frequently asked questions that Gladney receives on a daily basis.
Watch the video below and if you have questions that we didn't cover, please comment below and we'll respond.
Mary is the Lead Asia Program Caseworker at Gladney and works with all of our families who are adopting through our Taiwan program. She also works with some of our families in our China
Wendy is the Director of Asia Program Casework and Social Services. She oversees a team of caseworkers who help families proceed step by step through their adoption process.
FAQs in International Adoption
Q. What's the first step in adopting a child from Taiwan?
Mary. The first step is to complete Gladney's pre-application form which is found on our website. You'll get a whole information
packet about our programs at Gladney that will probably answer
a bunch of your questions. But by completing that free application form, Mary can make sure that you meet the requirements set by Taiwan to adopt through the Taiwan program.
After that we can schedule a time to talk and just answer any
questions about the process that you may have.
Q. You said that you could tell whether the family would meet their requirements. How would a family go about finding out what those requirements are?
Mary. They're listed on our website. The criteria goes through and lists actually all of the requirements for Taiwan. So you do have to
think about your age, how long you've been married, your health,
and financial information.
Q. How long is the wait to adopt from Taiwan?
Mary. That's a really good question and I will say the answer is never the same. It really is dependent on each family's specific preferences about the child they're hoping to have join their family.
So we think about the age range of child that you're open to if you
have a preference on gender. And then if you're open to a child who
may have some medical or special needs. In Taiwan, we see children ranging in age from sometimes infants, mostly toddler age, and older. And we see children who do have medical needs as well as
children without medical needs. So it really depends on your preference.
I'll say though most families complete their process within 24 months from the time they fill out an inquiry to placement. I would say it probably is about five to six months to get to home study
completion and Gladney approval.
Q. What's the first step that someone takes for a China adoption?
Wendy. The first step for a China adoption is gathering information and deciding which adoption agency can help you best make it through the process. And so doing research on the web is a great place to start. And then for Gladney what we do is we take families, once they've completed a pre application form, and we're able to screen a family to make sure they meet China's requirements. They'll have a one to one orientation meeting where we go step by step through the process and the requirements and then a family can decide if this really feels like the right move for them to make. And then we'll proceed.
Q. What makes Gladney stand out for a prospective adoptive family when they choose to adopt from China?
Wendy. I would have to honor the director of our program, Gongzhan Wu. He is the V.P. and Managing Director of Gladney's Asia programs. He has been with the Gladney Center for Adoption for 20 years. And I think the fit of Gongzhan with Gladney is really remarkable. Gladney has been an adoption agency for over 130 years. And I just think that stability in knowing that Gladney has seen thousands and thousands of families through their adoptions
and organizationally be it pre adoption, be it in the midst of the process and be it post-adoption. We are fully staffed to help a family through all stages for Asia.
Gongzhan is unique in that he is from Shanghai, China and has been with Gladney for 20 years and cares very personally and deeply
about the program and each family that goes through the process.
So when families do get to the point where they travel to China to spend two weeks and then bring their child home, each family's experience is very individual. And again, I think that's something
that is special to Gladney's programs is that it can be that individualized and we're able to plan creatively, but also troubleshoot in a very real time way to the extent that a family experiences snags.
So there is a lot of really great things to say about Gladney's China program.
Q. Can single women adopt from Gladney's China program?
Wendy. Yes, right now. From time to time China looks at it's requirements and sometimes they become more restrictive. And then sometimes they become more open. For the past several years, single women are able to adopt from China.
There is some age matching looking at the parent's age and the age of the child they hope to adopt and then also looking at financial
resources. The program is very open to single women.
Q. What age range are you seeing on the children in China? And are they healthy?
Wendy. For the age range that we see for children currently available from China, I would say probably the youngest is about 12 months and the oldest children available to be matched and adopted internationally, 13. Once a child is 14 years old they're no longer eligible for international adoption from China. So we really see children of all ages needing families; both genders, boys and girls.
In terms of whether a child is healthy or has medical needs,
I would say overwhelmingly right now the children available
to be adopted from China have some type of medical need or more than one medical need from time to time. We do see children
who you know are -- you know are considered healthy -- they tend to be older children. But I also think even some of the children who
have been designated as special needs are having a medical need.
I think oftentimes parents say, "Yeah our child is missing a portion of their limb but our child is healthy." So I think it's just we have a lot of families who are open to a variety of medical conditions -- be it because they may have been exposed to family members with certain medical conditions or their professions make them open or there is a variety of reasons why families are open to various
medical conditions. Talk with your spouse or think about this with your family. Think about what you might be open to or what is comfortable for your family.
There are just so many kids and I think that you know a lot. All parents in our program find a level of comfort and confidence in
themselves about parenting.
Do you have a question for us about Taiwan or China? Please ask in the comment section below.