From Russia To Love | August 20, 2005 | West Seattle
International adoptions first began in this country after WW11 with the advent of American soldiers fathering children abroad.They became more common after the Korea War when the Holt family of Oregon adopted eight Korean children and started a formal international adoption agency.
According to the Yearbook of Immigration Statistics published by USCIS Office of Immigration Statistics there were 637 foreign adoptions in Washington state in 2003. China is the most popular country for adoptive families here, followed by Russia.
Also in 2003, 1,771 children were in foster care and legally free for adoption in Washington, 1,204 were adopted from foster care.
Last month, Mark LaFond,51, and Vickie Riley, 38, of West Seattle adopted Grace Aisel LaFond Riley.
The 21-month-old girl was born in Russia.
Vickie, 38 / West Seattle
“It was a very natural thing for us to adopt because I was adopted.
“(Adopting internationally is a) horribly long process. And it gets so unbelievably stressful. When you’re in it you have no idea that its going to work out. You have this enormous amount of hope and faith that you’re going to have this child. And then after a year you just think there’s always this level of stress.
“I looked into a bunch of adoption agencies . I just heard enormous fees involved in private adoptions and we just couldn’t afford that. Then you go into the foster-to-adopt (option) in this country. Bottom line either way, the biological parent (can) comes back and say “Hey, I’ve cleaned up my act or I’ve changed my mind. I want my baby back.” And we could not handle having to give up our child to a biological parent because in this country the courts support biological parents and adoptive parents become long term baby sitters and that’s what we get in the media here. We hear about those children taken away from the adoptive families and that is hands down the reason most people go international adoptions.
“And here it seems like open adoption, is pretty much the way. In other words that biological mother is choosing how much she gets to visit that child. I didn’t want two mothers in my child’s life. I want to be her mommy. And that’s it.”