Wat Phra Thart Doi Suthep - 'the Wat on the Hill' as taken by Husbot

mmmmm I just have arrived back home from Thailand. I was there for work; I work with local community groups providing essential services for Burmese refugees and migrant workers. It is interesting work and I love it. The groups are inspiring because they do SO much with so little. We are talking about health provision for over 100,000 with impossible budgets, education for thousands of children, as well as other important programs around women’s empowerment, the environment, media and workers and human rights. I love going to Thailand.

But I love it for more then just my work. Thailand has a beautiful feel to it. I can’t explain by the first time I went there I felt instantly at home and I knew it was a place that I would return to again and again. Husbot and I have chosen Thailand for our intercountry adoption and for me it was an easy and personal choice.

However you might be interested in a little more about the decision – because it was based also on the adoption environment we are in (the Australian process) and the criteria of Thailand.

Australia is a little different to other programs, there are no private adoption agencies, and adoption is run by State Departments of community services. It is regulated by the Attorney Generals Department on a federal level. So what does this mean? There are a limited number of countries that meet the Australian Governments criteria, they must meet Hague Convention standards and have a bilateral relationship with Australia. Countries that meet those criteria are: Thailand, Bolivia, Chile, China, Colombia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Hong Kong, India, Lithuania, Philippines, South Korea, Sri Lanka and Taiwan.

Then the countries themselves have their own criteria, some have restrictions in regards to religion, your ethnicity (ie in Sri Lanka and India preference is given to adoptive parents who are of Sri Lankan/ Indian decent), length of marriage, age etc For the Philippines for example an adoptive couple need to be Catholic, there are also rules about length of marriage and other things.

For Husbot and I Thailand was our preferred option (I lived in the Philippines a little while back and I loved the country and people, we would have liked to explore this but my religion made us ineligible). We both love the country and would like to live there in the future if we can. Thankfully we meet Thailand’s criteria – we have been married/together for the right amount of time, Thailand does not have religious restrictions (even though it is a Buddhist country) and we are the right age etc. In fact our assessor thought we would be desirable candidates in Thailand.

The process in Australia is long and the wait times for Thailand are also long (but they are long for all the countries Australia has a bi-lateral agreement with). At the moment the average time is 33 months. This would mean that Husbot and I would be well into our mid thirties when we become parents. Like I said this sounds like a lifetime to me, because I think about our future babies every day… all the time. I find myself distracted by it at work, in meetings, at home etc etc I am definitely bordering on baby obsession. In Australia we call this condition being ‘clucky’ (like a chicken) and yes, clucky I am.