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The Big Picture
Rebecca "Becky" Coates Nee, a veteran TV news anchor/reporter, is a professional life/career coach. Check out her website at to take the coachability test, subscribe to her free "Beyond the Box" newsletter and to find out if you're an adrenaline junkie.

The Adoption Option
By Rebecca Coates Nee
December 17th, 2001

When my husband and I told our family and friends 18 months ago that we were
going to stop playing conception roulette and adopt a baby girl from China,
some folks thought we were nuts.

Now that I am packing diapers and formula and enough drugs to get me through
a 15- hour plane flight, I'm thinking maybe we ARE crazy. Look at this: We
are traveling half way around the world to be handed a one-year-old who has
never heard English or seen a blonde woman and tall man!

We will then spend two weeks with her in a hotel room, trying to assure her
that we are her parents and convince officials from two countries (ours and
theirs) that they should let us take her home with us.

Thankfully, I have those tiny color photos of our new daughter to keep me
motivated. Talk about having to focus on the Big Picture!

Frankly, I had never given much thought to adoption before we made the
decision to do it and judging by some of the comments and questions we've
been getting - neither have most people. For some reason, when you adopt a
child, everybody else thinks it's their business too.

Sure, pregnant women endure having their tummies patted but how many are
asked what their medical bills will be? Here are some of the more common
questions and our snappy replies:

"Isn't it expensive to buy one of those kids?"

We're not buying a child - that would be illegal. The expenses are for the
legal work and applications required by both countries and a donation to the
orphanage and foster home which has cared for our child during her first

The total is less than what it cost to have a baby in this country without
medical insurance. It's also less than one year of college at most schools.
Plus, adoptive parents now get a rather large tax credit.

"Do you get to pick your child?"

No, this isn't Walmart. We requested a healthy female child under one year,
sent pictures of us, our home and our cats, and a child was assigned to us by
Chinese adoption officials (who are known for doing an eerily great job at m

Usually, older children or those with special needs are the only ones who can
be chosen by adoptive parents - both domestically and internationally. We
were given the option to reject the referral - but who would turn down such a

"Why didn't you adopt from Russia, Romania, Korea, Thailand, Afghanistan or

Since this will be my only child, I wanted a healthy girl - as young as
possible because I really love changing diapers. More than a million healthy
female infants are abandoned every year in China because of the government's
one child per family population control.

Also, the care in the orphanages in China tends to be better than in many
other countries and the rate of drug use and AIDS among biological parents is
much lower than other countries (including these United States).

We didn't adopt domestically because the wait for an infant is pretty long
and, as a former reporter, I've seen too many cases where biological parents
change their minds - before and after the birth.

Yes, many children of all races are in foster care here - but again, most of
them are older or have special needs. I would love to take them all home, but
we just aren't equipped to handle that responsibility.

"They kill baby girls in China, don't they?"

While girls are not the desired sex, reports of infanticide are greatly
exaggerated. Even abandonment is not encouraged, in fact it's illegal. Most
of the parents giving up their baby girls are poor, rural farm workers. If
they can only have one child, they want a boy to help with the labor.

And if anyone asks me that question in front of my daughter, especially when
she's older, I may have to hit them.

"It's such a nice thing you're doing."

Well thanks, but it's purely selfish. She's the one doing the nice thing for