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Considerations of Adoption

It’s a sleepless 1 am. I cannot promise that this post will make the most sense. But I’m motivated to write it and so I will.

Shu and I have been doing research on the topics of adoption: intercountry vs in-country, schools, mental health of adoptees, and more. Let’s take a look at some of the topics important to us—and the answers we found.

US adoption: We considered this because I have American citizenship and intercountry adoptions from the US require one parent to have citizenship. An American adoption from abroad costs up to $40,000 (20,000 on average).

Now, the main reason we considered this is because Japan is not a Hague Convention country. What does that mean?

As I understand it, Hague countries have a set of rules in place to define what is an adoptee. This can be a child that is unable to be raised by their parents, an orphan, a surrendered child, and I’m sure there are more.

Non-Hague countries define adoptees as orphans. This is where it gets a little odd. Because Japanese parents can relinquish their rights as a parent and make their child into an orphan essentially. But, there have been cases of them later rescinding this to reclaim the child from their adoptive family.

Basically, Japan really values blood bonds of family and has largely used adoption as a means of inheriting names or companies (a topic for a future post).

A Japanese in-country adoption costs ¥2,000,000 or about $20,000. As of now, shu and I have settled on a Japanese adoption.

But why?

My main concern in bringing over a “foreign” child was the language barrier if we adopt a child under six. And another major concern was bullying.

Japan is not the melting pot that America can be. Here, people who are different are told and reminded just how different they are. A child doesn’t need that just because they may be white, Black, or Hispanic.

We considered enrolling a child from the US in an international school. Sadly, it’s beyond our annual budget. Even private school pushes the budget. However, with bullying being less prevalent in private schools than public schools, it’s something we’re open to.

So, there we stand right now. A Japanese adoption.

Which also means—in an effort to understand everything school-related and technical contract Japanese—I will be enrolling in Japanese classes to improve my reading.

We still have a long road ahead and there’s still so much I need to know. But I feel like we’re making the right choice for our family and getting closer everyday.


Published by serenawogawa

Serena Wyndelin Ogawa lives in Tokyo, Japan with her husband and two cats. After emigrating from the USA in 2008 she toured Japan as an English teacher before finally deciding writing was what she liked best. Her days are spent writing and reading and loving her family and friends!

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