Saturday, 20 July 2013

Adoption in Japan Part 3: How to and Experiences


If you have personal experiences you are comfortable sharing, or are affiliated with an agency not listed, please get in touch! Likewise, if you notice a mistake in anything I have said please let me know. I am not a social worker, lawyer or in any professional capacity connected to adoption and I urge you to do your own research before pursuing adoption in Japan. You are welcome to contact me with follow up questions or of course comments, but please don't email me to ask for information that is already in this post if you'd bothered to read it! I love to hear from readers and am very happy to answer genuine questions.
Sorry for the wonky scan. Chart from Adoption in Japan: Comparing Policies for Children in Need (Routledge Contemporary Japan Series) by Peter Hayes and Toshie Habu

This post is about how to adopt a child residing in Japan when you are also residing in Japan. If you are outside Japan there are some agencies that can help you, particularly Faith International and ATW Adoptions for North Americans. I link some blogs at the end by families who have adopted a Japanese child from outside Japan, but that is not what this post is about. If you are living in Japan and wish to adopt a child from another country that is also possible, particularly through ISSJ, but also is not what I am writing about in the body of this post.

If you are considering adoption in Japan, it would be helpful to read part one, about why so many children are in orphanages in Japan, and part two, about attitudes to adoption, before reading this post.

Japan’s adoption system is to all intents and purposes unregulated. As such, prospective adoptive parents need to be extremely pro-active in ensuring that if they chose to work with a private agency rather than the public system that they select an agency with ethical practices and published financial records. There is a long history of babies and children being sold into “adoption” in Japan, just as in most countries. I’m not saying this to be off-putting. There are plenty of ethical agencies, and the public system has worked well for many non-Japanese or international prospective parents. It’s important to be realistic however, and recognise that there are some organisations who use questionable practices to obtain and select placements for children.


The Public System 


In Theory


Adoption through the local child guidance centre (CGC) is the cheapest and most straight-forward method. Interested prospective adoptive parents (PAPs) register as a foster-to-adopt family (this is separated right from the start from foster-only families) and attend some basic training. A  CGC worker will conduct a home visit and basic interview (although one couple I spoke to just submitted a floor plan of their apartment) then approve the application. When a child becomes available the PAPs will be taken to the orphanage to visit the child, then asked to make a decision. If the PAPs want to go ahead the CGC will place the child and the PAPs can apply to the family court for an adoption. There is a six month trial period during which the PAPs are paid a foster family allowance. If there have been no major problems after six months, the court will approve the adoption. Some families “foster” for longer than the minimum period, holding off applying for the adoption for months or even years and continuing to receive government payments. CGCs place children under the age of six; after six the adoption law changes and as far as I understand the situation most CGCs no longer seek families for older children.

CGCs have their own individual guidelines for approving PAPs. Some require very large living spaces, leading to complaints in Tokyo particularly that the requirements are unrealistic. Some require PAPs to have a high income or to be certain ages. Some accept single applicants while some will only consider married couples. It seems to depend entirely on your location.  You can read some stories about successful adoptions here and here, but there are many more.


My Experience


Fortified with a number of stories about wonderful CGC adoption experiences in Nagasaki, Yokohama and Osaka, we contacted ours. It didn’t go too well. At first they said they needed time to “research” how to deal with foreigners. We told them that they didn’t need to do anything differently (for Australia, expatriate adoptions have to be finalised in the country of residence before one can start anything on the Australian end anyway). They were unconvinced. Three months passed. A friend who works in an orphanage called to ask them what the hold-up was on our behalf. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but in hindsight it probably wasn’t. They eventually got back to us and said basically that they would never place a child with foreigners. So that was that. I’ve spoken with adoptive parents all over Japan, and no one else was ever treated like that. I guess it’s the drawback of living in the countryside.
Update: Since Tiger was placed with us, our local CGC has actually been incredibly helpful and supportive. When we originally contacted them they said they had many waiting Japanese families, and since a child would not be placed with us ahead of a Japanese couple, we'd never get a placement. At the time, armed with all the statistics I'd been reading about Japan's low placement rates, I assumed they were just unwilling to deal with us. There definitely was an element of that, and if we speak to someone other than our caseworker they do freak out about having to engage with "gaijin". However, after getting better acquainted we discovered that they do actually have a long list of waiting families and they place every single child who has been freed legally for adoption. We agree that without a doubt, a Japanese family should be the first choice, so in the end it was us who misjudged the CGC and not the other way around. Our skepticism was not entirely unwarranted however, since the high placement rate here was equally surprising to social workers from other prefectures we spoke to.

Private Agencies, National


There are innumerable other ways to pursue adoption in Japan. Some are national agencies, some are local, and some are obstetricians and gynecologists who dabble in adoption on the side. I can’t list them all; I’m just giving some examples here.

Wa no Kai has a philosophical commitment to giving birth mothers all the support and options it can. Adoption is not promoted to birth families in preference to other options, and support is offered for whatever choice the mother makes including assistance if she decides to raise the child herself. After surrendering her child a birth mother has three months to change her mind and ask for the child back after it has been placed, or even longer if she requests that the child not be placed with PAPs immediately. All adoptions are partially open, with letters and pictures exchanged via Wa no Kai if the birth parent/s express a desire to do so. On the PAP side, Wa no Kai does not allow any kind of preference for age, sex, race or health/ability. The financial cost is quite high, but it is a registered NPO and financial reports are published every year.

To adopt through Wa no Kai you first have to attend an orientation meeting. The cost for this is about 5,000. If you decide to proceed the next stage is an interview in Tokyo with the directors. They make a final decision then. The fees for adoption are something in the order of AUS$30,000 but I can't remember exactly. The approval process is quite straightforward and arbitrary. There is no home visit, background check or anything… they just like you or dislike you.


My Experience


In our case, they disliked us. Their website requires that PAPs be under a certain age, have been married for a certain period of time and that one parent be home full-time. We could clear those requirements, but it turned out that there was another requirement I assume they didn’t specify because they hadn’t considered it necessary; infertility. The first question they asked us was what fertility treatments we had been trying and for how long. When we said we were adopting by preference not necessity that was pretty much the end of the interview. They also seemed quite upset that we were not Christians, which was unexpected. We were apparently the first foreign couple to apply with them, but they seemed open to the idea. They were concerned about maintaining the open adoption if we moved back to Australia and about our inability to contribute to future orientations (the organisation seems to rely quite heavily on successful applicants for a support network and volunteering, which is actually one of the things we really liked about the organisation). I have no reason to think that they would refuse to deal with an infertile foreign couple and I have no hard feelings about being rejected (although we did waste quite a lot of money traveling to the orientation and then interview).

Baby Pocket is also an NPO with a strong network of adoptive families supporting one-another.  You can read blogs by Japanese families who have adopted through Baby Pocket here, here, here and here (Japanese only).


My Experience


We decided not to apply with Baby-Pocket because they required a commitment not to have biological children after adopting and that isn't a decision we have made yet. Anyway, we are ineligible based on their age requirements (both husband and wife (only married couples are considered) must be over 30 (I'm not), the husband under 46 and the wife under 43). From memory they didn't say anything specifically about international parents but one of the bloggers mentioned a Canadian family who had adopted through the agency so I am assuming there wouldn't be any particular issues.


ISSJ specialises in inter-country adoptions and have since the 1950s. They have English-speaking staff and "ISSJ’s caring methodology is based on the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children". They will consider singles and PAPs with biological children, unlike most other agencies I researched. ISSJ is very careful to ensure that PAPs understand that their priority is the child. Their website states:
In 2008, the Ministry of Health and Welfare announced its key policy of shifting social custodial care from childcare institutions to more home-like facilities as part of its effort to improve the placement ratio from foster parents. In contrast to Europe and the United States, where the placement ratios are high as around 80%, the placement ratio is currently only about 10% in Japan.

Recognizing how important it is for children to be taken care of in a more family-oriented setting, ISSJ has been conducting an “international children and families counseling service”. This service supports children in the custody of childcare institutions and for infants resulting from unplanned pregnancies. ISSJ supports intercountry adoption as a means of protecting and raising these children with new families.

ISSJ, with its motto of “Children’s happiness first”, carefully and sensitively conducts interviews with birth parents in order for their children not to be put up for intercountry adoption without prior thoughtful consideration and to support birth parents to bring up their own children if at all possible. If, under certain conditions, intercountry adoption is determined to be the best option for the child as well as the birth parents,ISSJ will endeavor to choose the best adoptive family. In the process of choosing the best family, we will determine whether the adoptive parents can accept the child according to his/her age, racial and ethnic background, any handicaps, and whether they are ready to welcome that child into their home. After all this, ISSJ will arrange a match. Throughout the entire process, we will pour our efforts into providing thorough counseling support to the birth parents who have decided to give up their child for adoption.
ISSJ also assists PAPs in Japan (Japanese and non-Japanese) with inter-country adoptions from countries other than Japan. ISSJ is affiliated with the Intercountry Adoption Board (ICAB) in the Philippines. To read about the experiences of an American couple in Japan adopting a Thai child through ISSJ click here.

My Experience


Our experiences with ISSJ have been all good. Very helpful, transparent and communicative. I'm not going to say anything more than that because we are in the middle of adopting and I am going to need a bit more perspective of time to know how much of what I say about our experience infringes on our son's right to privacy about his experiences throughout this process.

Christian Agencies


For foreigners pursuing a Japanese adoption, some of the most welcoming and experienced agencies are Christian. There is a long history of faith-based agencies sending Japanese children abroad for families. I discuss some concerns below based on both my observations and reading I've done from authoritative sources. I am extremely concerned that these concerns not be seen as an attack on all Christian agencies in Japan. I have no doubt that there are many wonderful faith-based agencies. I am not sharing more contact details because it simply isn't an avenue we researched as we are not Christian.


My Concerns and Experiences

This agency appears to have an ethical approach and do not state that they require PAPs to be Christian, so we briefly considered them. However, they state that
Japanese Children may best be served by placing them within Japan with Japanese families.

Non-Japanese children or mixed race children's needs may best be served by placing them with international families or overseas if immigration is possible.
This sounds an awful lot like "pure Japanese babies should be placed with Japanese families, mixed race babies should be sent away from Japan". They probably don't mean it like that, but that’s the feeling I got reading their website and it made me very uncomfortable. There are some pretty glaring ethical issues with the way some Christian agencies approach adoption. I'm not trying to paint all Christian agencies in Japan with one brush, just raising a note of caution. For some agencies their preferences for placement are 1: Japanese Christians 2: Non-Japanese Christians followed at a distant 3rd by Japanese non-Christians. In other words, they will refuse to place a baby with a local family who have the wrong theology, preferring to send them into a different language, culture and country. I don’t agree with that, but it isn’t the main issue that put us off. The treatment of birth mothers is deeply problematic. Again, I have not researched every Christian agency and I am sure that there are some with impeccably ethical behaviour; but don’t assume that an agency will do the right thing just because they say they are Christian, research first.

I wish I could word that in a way that sounds less like I am generalising but since I can’t think of better wording I’ll just say again: Some Christian agencies may have all or some of these practices. That is not to condemn each and every Christian adoption agency in Japan or to say that there aren’t non-Christian agencies that also have problematic policies and priorities. 

Regional Agencies

For obvious reasons I don't have information on a lot of small local organisations, but one example from Osaka is http://home.inet-osaka.or.jp/~fureai/. They have worked with foreign/Japanese mixed families in the past and are also looking for weekend foster parents. Your local CGC should be able to give you contact details for any agencies in your area.

Gynecologists/Obstetricians Associations


I have no direct experience to call on here but Adoption in Japan describes the process of adopting through various regional medical associations. PAPs indicate their desire to adopt with their OBGGYN and if a pregnant patient indicates that she is considering adoption the association will look over their list of PAPs. These arrangements are usually conducted by word of mouth not advertising and are seen by some physicians as a natural extension of their patient care. According to Adoption in Japan, there are often more babies that PAPs in these situations because the requirements for PAPs are onerous and the costs quite high.

I mentioned in a previous post the occasional instances of practices such as registering a baby's birth to the adoptive parents not the birth parents, thereby side-stepping any actual adoption. The fact that some underhand incidents have occurred should not taken to besmirch the work of all medical associations who assist in adoption placements, particularly when those associations register as NPOs.

Experiences Others Have Shared


This lovely story is about a couple's adoption through the public system.

We visit Yuto in the orphanage for hours, days, weeks, months. Finally we can bring him home for an overnight. Then, finally, we can bring him home forever, just after his second birthday.
We go to a playground where he can see the bullet trains passing overhead. At the playground, he comes up to the other kids and wants to play with their toys, or play ball, or play with them in general. He likes to hold hands. He wants contact, touch, closeness. Because he grew up in an orphanage where everything was communal, he misses it. He has no concept of personal ownership.
The first time we give him Ai-Ai, the stuffed monkey we’d brought to take with him in the car—he tries to leave it at the orphanage. We have to convince him that he can keep it. He’s never had a single thing of his own.
 He is the opposite of other kids, who have to learn how to share. He brings his own toys to share, but the other kids don’t take much interest in them. I don’t want to try to make sense of things like this, or explain everything to him. He’ll learn. I want to cut a path in this crazy forest of life with him.  Sitting Zen. Walking Zen. Playing Zen. Mothering Zen. It’s all practice, and we have a lifetime.
But my aunt doesn’t. I want him to meet her before she dies.
So we bring him to San Francisco. He loves his seven-year-old cousin Shaviv, but he cannot pronounce Sh, so he calls him Habib. My sister tells me Habib means “friend” in Hebrew.
We see a homeless man with a cat on the street in front of Macy’s on Union Square. The cat has been hit by a car and the man needs money for its hospital bills. Everyone rushes by the man and the cat, but Yuto pulls my arm, insists on petting the cat. Then he sits down on the pavement and tries to pick up the cat to hug it. I tell him the cat is hurt and he shouldn’t touch it. So he pets it instead. Now people stop to look at the little boy sitting on the sidewalk, blocking their path. Some mothers pull their children away. A photographer stops to take a picture. Others put money in the basket. More children come to sit by his side.
Somehow, he brings together the splintered worlds of strangers. He is a healer of cats and hearts, a small wonder in this world of so many wonders. If I ever felt any doubts, I do not now.
This touching account of collecting their son from his orphanage is also by a mother who adopted through the public system.
All of Sho’s “siblings” attended his farewell party, which was held only three days after our arrival. The 2-year-old guest of honor sat in a tiny chair at the front, facing the other toddler attendees.
They sang a song for Sho in their inimitable 1-year-old way, and then everyone ate cake. Each caregiver gave him a toy or an article of clothing; these, plus similar gifts they had given him on his first birthday, were the personal possessions Sho would be taking to his new home.
He was placed front and center between his new parents, with a bouquet of flowers, for the final group photo. Later, Sho spent his last night in the communal nursery, unaware that he would probably never see any of these children again.
The next morning, Cha-chan cried as she said goodbye to Sho. Confused by her sad demeanor, Sho burst into tears. He was soon smiling again, however, as we finally began walking to the station to catch the train home.
As we stood waiting on the platform, I heard tiny voices behind us: “Sho-chan, Sho-chan, bye-bye!” We hadn’t noticed, but the caregivers and children had followed us. Despite the sweltering August heat, they were going to give us a station sendoff.
Some were standing, others were seated in baby strollers — all were pressed up to the outside fence. As the train doors closed, I held my new son up to the window. I wanted him to see the waving hands until they were completely out of sight.
This story is about staff from the US embassy adopting in Japan.

Finally, for some stories about parents who have adopted Japanese children from outside Japan, check out

http://ourjapaneseadoption.blogspot.jp/
http://www.netsato.com/2006/09/14/a-japan-adoption/
http://mrsandreas.blogspot.jp/2013/03/japan-adoption-timeline.html
http://familycech.blogspot.jp/2008/05/adopting-from-japan.html

*It is possible to adopt a child over 6, but the special adoption law 特別養子縁組 is exclusively for children aged six and younger.
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31 comments:

  1. Hi Sophelia,

    Many thanks for your posts! We're a mixed couple (Japanese and Spanish) now considering coming back to Japan and doing an adoption here. We agree on many of your comments, and we're probably going for a "special" adoption through a well chosen private agency.

    There's one information however which seems important but we don't find anywhere: apparently the japanese judge (the civilian court) may request a number of legal certificates for the foreigner prospective parent. Do you know anything on this?

    Finally, do you know any foreign couples we could contact to know more aout their experience? There seems to be so few that have done it, and it's hard when you rely only on "official" information!

    But thanks for taking the initiative of the blog, and all the best with your adoption!

    Josep

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    1. Thank you very much :)
      It will be at least six months before we get to the court so I can't tell you from direct experience. However, the agency you apply with should handle the legal side for you. I do know that when a foreign parent is part of the adoption the court will try to ensure that the adoption complies with the adoption law of that country as well. You will also need to show financial records that prove you are stable enough to raise a child. I'm sorry that I can't say anything more than that; if you chose an agency and they give you more information, do please come back and share it! It can be so hard finding information about how things work here, which is why I wrote this post.
      About contacting other couples, there are some groups using yahoo mailing lists (just search for "Japan" and "Adoption"). In my experience people respond to questions sent to those groups but otherwise they aren't very active. I wish there were something more interactive, like a facebook group or online forum. If you find anything, again, please tell me ^_^
      Best of luck! I wish you guys all the best.

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  2. Interesting...I did not know that you had linked to our blog. I have since removed all my posts on the adoption as ISSJ had us sign a new form with a non-disclosure clause specifying that we wouldn't disclose any information about the process, papers, etc... publicly. Having already done so, I asked if they would like me to take them down, and they said yes. Have you not been asked to sign one of these too? My email address if you wish to discuss privately is jesse dot cadd at gmail dot com.

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    1. Hi Jesse, thanks for letting me know that your adoption posts are down. I guess the other blogs I linked to will be as well, so I'll update the post accordingly.
      As I say in the post, I've never had any intention of discussing the process we have been going through publicly, but I have tried to collect the publicly available information about adoption in Japan (in a general sense) in one place here.

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  3. This is a great post Sophelia! Very informative and love the personal experience stories. Wonderful.

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    1. Thank you, and if you ever want to share your experiences please do drop me an email :)

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  4. Thank you very much for your informative articles! I am a proud mom of one, but also faced attitudes of "why are you thinking of adopting when you can have your own?" Grateful for your insights into Japan's process!

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    1. Thank you, nice to hear from you! Yes, it really does throw people for a loop >.<

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  5. Hi,
    I am Single, and over 35 but less than 40 and I am thinking of adopting. I am living in Japan and financially secure. I was wondering if you had stories of other Single people who have adopted? What processes they had to go through, what loops they needed to jump through.

    Ps: why do they not want you to talk about the process?

    Em

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    1. Hi Em, so sorry for the slow reply. Each CGC and private agency seems to operate with different criteria, so you'd just have to ask around. I know that ISSJ does accept applications from single parents and that some CGCs do as well.

      I can make some informed guesses about why agencies want to keep their processes private, but I'd just be guessing, and that probably isn't helpful :)

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  6. Very informative, Sophelia. I say their culture for adoption is totally different here. Thus, this would be very helpful to those who plan to adopt inside and outside Japan. Anyways, how’s the adoption going?
    Dean Glover @ Adoption Network

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  7. Just wanted to say that we are a foreign couple with one biological child who has just returned home from Japan with a second child, adopted. We worked with Baby Life. We started working with them over three years ago, and they were never anything but professional. We received a breakdown of expenses from the get go, and our overall costs did turn out to be just as expected. Our country's embassy also looked over and approved the expenses. From what we can tell (our language skills are limited), accusations agains Baby Life were unfounded, and raised by people who did not fully understand the adoption process or costs. Anyway, just wanted to give Baby Life the benefit of the doubt. Also, it seemed like they were NOT a Christian organization, although we have nothing against Christian organizations. We wish you the best in finalizing your adoption! Our little one is so, so, so worth the wait!

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    1. Congratulations on your adoption! If you are interested in sharing your experiences here I would love to include them. Our experiences are obviously limited, so I am very keen to include different perspectives/ experiences with different agencies and nationalities.

      The investigation into Baby Life (and also Wa no Kai) I refer to is currently being conducted by the police. The investigation is ongoing, and it may be the case that no charges are brought. However, I think it is unlikely (because of the way the justice system works here). I notice, for example, that since I last looked that the website the NPO Baby Life has been disbanded, and it is now the Baby Life Institute. It is not necessarily the case that the investigation into finances implies dishonesty. For example, Wa no Kai charge a fee that is the average of all adoption expenses. We were told in the orientation meeting that some adoptions are much more expensive than others (for example, if a baby requires extensive hospitalization after a premature birth) so in order to avoid some PAPs facing a huge bill they weren't expecting while others pay very little, the costs were averaged and divided evenly. If considering the letter of the law however (that PAPs pay only the actual costs of their adoption), this is a violation.

      I'll amend this post as more information comes to light.

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    2. I've been thinking about your comment, and I realised that I'd thrown in the paragraph about the investigations as an edit at the bottom of the post, which made it look like it was part of the "Christian agencies" section. It wasn't supposed to be. On reflection I've cut the paragraph and when I get time I might elaborate and give it a dedicated post. Thank you again for your comment, without it I would not have noticed the misleading lay-out problem at all!

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    3. The problem with adopting through Baby Life and its US connector Faith International is that the paperwork has been created to fulfill the American requirements for the adoption. Because Japanese Special Adoptions are for the most part unregulated, the actual legalities within Japan are not transparent, and can be legally reversed through the courts, even a year later.
      Anyone educated in recognizing red flags in adoption process would notice some of the disconcerting issues involved with the BL director and his main helper.
      There is information out there, and BL and FI work hard to suppress it, relying on the innate fear of adoptive parents to have a less than "perfect" adoption process.
      The investigation wasn't just about fees it was also about unethical if not illegal business practices. The personal and business relationship between FI and BL relies heavily on the adoptive families not speaking Japanese and understanding what the investigation was in fact about.

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  8. Is an attorney required to process adoptions through the public system? We are at the beginning of our process, and the attorney we spoke with today suggested an agency would be far less expensive than attempting the public route because they are not reinventing the wheel, vs an attorney who may not be familiar with the subject. We are out in Okinawa. The CGC seemed very surprised to see a non-Japanese when I stopped in for information this week.

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    1. Hi Meaghan, my understanding is that you would need an attorney to file the application, but that would come at the very end of the process and the CGC should have a recommended attorney or even organise the whole thing on your behalf. The people I've spoken to who adopted through the public system said they paid very little for anything, but I don't have personal experience. A really good resource if you are adopting domestically within Japan is
      adoptioninjapan@yahoogroups.com and many of the members there adopted through the public system. If both you and your partner are non-Japanese the legal process may be more complicated as the local court will want to process the adoption in a way that complies with the laws of the adoptive parents' home country. In our case, we had to provide the relevant legislation from our home state in Australia, and that needs to be translated for the court, all of which is included in the service offered by our agency.
      So, I seem to say this in every comment, but if you keep a record of your experiences as you go forward and are ever willing to share them publicly, please keep in touch! I wish you all the best as you go forward :)

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  9. Hi, Sophelia,
    I just wanted to say thank you for putting all this information up. My husband and I just moved to Okinawa and we are going to try to start the adoption process with ISSJ. If it doesn't make you uncomfortable, do you think you could let us know, ballpark, how much the process has cost you so far? All the adoption sites give a rough estimate but they include flights and hotels in the equation, which don't apply since we are in country. And if we needed to go to mainland, we can fly super cheap with the military.
    If not, or you already have and I missed it(sorry!), it's cool. I am just so happy to see all this stuff to help us out!

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    1. Yes, finding info is a real nightmare >.< I unfortunately can't share that information, but please drop me an email (sopheliajapan:at:gmail.com) if you have time. I have been in touch with some other military PAP families I can hook you up with, and I'd love to chat in general :)

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    2. Sophelia - would you mind connecting me to other military families on Okinawa? We are living here and are just beginning to research different organizations, trying to decide which is the right fit. Our biggest concern with ISSJ is that we are here until Dec '16 without any extensions possible. needing 36 months (what ISSJ requested) makes us worried that we would run into issues at the end of the process. I'd love to hear what other military families are doing. Thank you!

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  10. Hi Heather, sorry for the slow reply. I had a quick look through my emails and I think it'll take a while to dig out all the contact info I have, which means I probably wont get around to it for at least a month (life is very busy right now). I will get back to you, but in the mean time you may get a faster reply from other channels (is there a base facebook group, for example?). Apologies and all the best!

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  11. Hi Sophelia,
    I can't tell you how pleased I was to find adoption from Japan information from this year! We are in the US and the 2 main agencies ATW and Faith International are not taking any new clients. We are starting to research the possibility of ISSJ, but again not much info out there. If anyone would like to share I would love to hear!

    Alison
    alisong78745@yahoo.com

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  12. My wife is a Japanese national and I am gaijin. We adopted two Japanese children, both when they were infants. One of our children had an adoption finalized in my home country and one child had an adoption finalized in Japanese family court. The process and length of time were about the same, but the Japanese adoption seemed to cost less and did not require us to hire an attorney or appear in court. A judge signed a document 9 months after we filed the paperwork at our local city hall and that was it. One home visit and one office visit with a social worker. There was never any animosity or teeth sucking about me being gaijin. Both children are listed on my wife's family koseki, but there is a code that identifies them as adoptees (dumb). My wife is very open and doesn't put up with any of the usual guff that might come up in conversations with other Japanese women. I am proud of her for standing up for our kids. Most younger people appear to be OK with our adoption, but older Japanese can't seem to understand why we adopted someone else's child and think the whole affair is very strange. I think it's very sad that so many children are in orphanages here when there are families that would love and accept them. Most Japanese I have discussed this with seem to think that orphanages are just a way of life and that's that. I have also gotten the impression from some Japanese that international adoption, by other than Japanese abroad or nisei / sansei, should not be allowed because the parents are not Japanese. For all the outward appearance of order and harmony there are some strange ideas floating around here. And you hit the nail on the head with your eugenics comments.

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    1. Third time trying to reply, blogger keeps eating my comments 0.o
      Thank you very much for sharing your experience. If you are interested in writing about your experiences in more detail I'd love to share your story as its own post. Please think about it and let me know if you have time.

      Delete
    2. Hi Sophelia, I sent you an e-mail to your gmail address.`

      Delete
  13. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  14. Replies
    1. Hi Trace, thank you for commenting. Having just read your post about AP blogging I'm not sure what tone of voice to read "very interesting" in, but I hope you noticed the many posts I have linking to Lost Daughters articles ;)

      Delete
  15. Very nice post. I am impressed. I have learned a lot from your post about baby up adoption and average cost adoption and so on.

    If you want more then visit here: http://heartfeltadopt.com/

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  16. Hello Sophelia,

    My name is JJ O'Donoghue and I am a journalist living in Japan. I am currently writing a piece on adoption in Japan. Wld you mind If I contacted you be email?
    With best regards,

    JJ

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    1. Forgive my late reply, lots of life happening ;) Shoot me an email and I'll get back promptly, I promise. Email address is under the "contact" page (tab is right up the top under the blog title).

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