International Adoption

The Cradle's International Adoption Home Study Program is a great choice for many families.  We can prepare a home study to help you adopt from many countries around the world. Since 1985, we have helped hundreds of children from around the world find loving homes.

We offer workshops to help prepare you for the process of international adoption as well as exploring the joys and challenges of cross-cultural adoptions. At The Cradle, you will be fully informed, educated and supported at every step, even after your child is home.

Family adopts from China

Video Transcript

Adoptive Mother: When we planned to adopt we were originally thinking a healthy toddler. It was sort of, I don’t think anyone goes into adoption planning to adopt a child with some kind of medical issue. And when we found the China waiting child program, which is a special needs program, we stopped and sort of looked at the resources that were available to us. There were so many kids with minor, correctable, issues going on or even long term but still minor issues and here we were with so many resources in front of us, so much to give. Living in a city with some of the best hospitals in the world and it just made sense that if anyone should be adopting a child that has some kind of medical need, it should be us.

So our son that we adopted has a unilateral cleft palate. His lip was repaired in China and when he came home we had the palate repaired, and the lip revised. So right now, he was in a year of speech therapy and he’s doing great. He could probably finish, but we’re just continuing to go along to give him a little extra boost. And he’ll have one more surgery when he is school aged to finally complete everything. But if you met him, you would definitely not characterize him as any kind of special need other than a scar on his lip.

Adoptive Father: He has no problems talking. Talking a lot.

Adoptive Mother: So it was like a scary idea. Special needs, it’s just a really scary term. But when you look at what those needs really are in kids, it seems like such a no brainer.

So we received our referral 12 days after our paperwork was logged in China. And I was at work and the phone rang, and it was our agencies area code. And our agency never called, they always emailed, so I knew it was something big. I picked up the phone and it was Tony. I’ve never met him before but I will never forget his name. He told us that he had a file he wanted us to look at of a little boy who was nine months old with a cleft palate in China, and did we want him to email us the information. Immediately, I said yes.

And so I opened my email at work and there was our little boy, four pictures and pages and pages of medical information. And so I tried to surprise Tom at home but I didn’t know if Tony tried to call him too.

Adoptive Father: He did.

Adoptive Mother: So it wasn’t a huge surprise.

Adoptive Father: Yeah a strange man left a voice message to call him back.

Adoptive Mother: And so we looked at the paperwork in detail, which was nice because there was a lot of information. And we decided that night that we knew we were going to accept the referral. But before we submitted our formal letter of intent, we did send it to an international doctor who confirmed with us that everything looked great. And she had no hesitations for us either.

So six months after we received our referral, we traveled to China to meet Ben and adopt him. And we met him in the civil affairs office of the capital of the province from where he’s from. And so we were together with about…

Adoptive Father: Four or five other ...

Adoptive Mother: … Families from our agency. And probably 15 other families. So there was a group of about 20 of us parents all waiting for our kids to come in from all over the province to meet their parents. And we were the very last ones because he came from four hours away. So we had to experience everyone else getting their kids and the whole range of emotions that their kids were displaying from tears to tantrums to total compliance, happiness. And so Ben came last and I remember I wasn’t going to recognize him for some strange reason. But his nanny came over and handed him to me and he was perfect. He didn’t cry, he didn’t smile either. I was probably really scary, I held him. But yeah, it was just totally awesome. I was so terrified he was going to cry but he was great. It was wonderful.

He really had a great adjustment. It’s funny, one of the first few minutes in O’hare he really was nervous and I thought it must smell different. You know, just China smells different when we were there. It must smell and sound so different. And he was really freaked out, and we just held him and didn’t let anyone else hold him. But once we were home, after a week, once the jet lag was finally over, we just sort of settled in as a family. It was like, just like he had always been with us.

So Ben is full of energy, loves to laugh…

Adoptive Father: Too smart for his own good.

Adoptive Mother: So smart. It’s funny, I guess we never thought ‘what would our child be like.’ What would his personality be like? You’re thinking of all these other silly things like: how old will he be? What will his medical need be? But like, who is he? It’s something we never really thought about. And here we got this totally wild and spunky, fun, silly kid. And he’s so laid back and so easy going and so full of fun. Six months from home, he was actually six months ahead of his age for understanding English as if he was born in the United States. So it was like he just took off without any, without a pause.

And it was funny because his lip was repaired through an organization called Love Without Boundaries and after we were home, they found us. They said, listen we did your son’s lip and we have reports about him and photos of him from when he was in China. And so they sent them to us, it was an amazing gift. It talked all about him before we knew him. It was all Ben. He was taking toys from other children, and showing people who’s boss, he’s trying to make people giggle. So it was really cool to see that was him then and this is him now and it’s just Ben. So you know who he’s always been.

Adoptive Father: He’s sociable, he’s like a little politician. Convincing people to do things for him.

Adoptive Mother: He was in school for two days a week and I can’t tell you how many parents ask about Ben or where he is or how often he’s in class because all the kids talk about him when they come home. I’m like there he is, just trying to make himself everybody’s best friend. That’s definitely, always wanting to be the center of everything.