Adopting a Deaf Child Domestically

Becoming the Forever Family

The Kimchis are a hearing couple who adopted a deaf child domestically (in the United States). This child was originally adopted from another country in Korea, and the Kimchis are the child's second and last family. About interviewed the new parents.

Q. Are you and your husband or partner hearing or deaf?
A. My husband and I are both hearing.

Q. What is your involvement in the deaf community?
A. I currently train teachers of the deaf and we participate in a couple of activities with the Deaf community throughout the year.

We expect more interaction now that we have adopted this wonderful little girl.

Q. Why did the original adoption disrupt?
A.Apparently not all of her disabilities (profoundly deaf, mild spina bifida with a tethered spinal cord, shortened right arm with missing thumb, corrected ventricular septal defect)were diagnosed in the country she came from and the first family was not prepared to deal with all of them.

Q.How did you find out about your daughter?
A.Deaf kids are hard to find, especially kids that young. I have been a member of the deaf adoption listserv for almost a year. I realized that most everyone there had either done an international adoption or were considering it. So I just watched.

At first, we were not specifically looking for a deaf child or for a child with multiple disabilities. We thought we would adopt a child from the foster care system. We had been foster parents in another state and knew the type of kids in the system that really needed a home.

We were planning on domestic because we felt as though there were so many kids here in the US who needed a loving and stable home.

After quite a while of showing interest in numerous kids through that system and never being contacted, I finally contacted an agency (nonprofit, private) that I had seen people talk about on the deaf adoption listserv that not only did international adoption but domestic as well.

I sent them an email explaining where we were in the process and that we would be happy to consider a deaf child; however, we wanted to do a domestic adoption.

About two days later, we got a response indicating that there weren't a lot of deaf children up for adoption domestically. However, just that morning they had found out about a placement that was disrupting. The agency began giving us information and there wasn't anything that we didn't feel we couldn't handle. So we requested more. We got her medical records, had them reviewed by a specialist and decided that we wanted to pursue the adoption of this little girl.

Q.How did you prepare for your adoption?
A. When considering adoption, especially domestic adoption, our state required us to take classes on behavior management, older children issues, parenting strategies, etc. They felt that people considering adoption should know the type of kids that are in the system. Some of the speakers ended up being so negative about the children that if my husband and I had not already been foster parents, we might have changed our minds.

Q. How much was the home study?
A. Our homestudy alone was $2,500 (in 2005 dollars).

Q. What was the total cost for your domestic adoption?
A. Because our daughter has several special needs and had been in a disrupted placement, our fees were less than they would have been. When you consider attorney fees, our agency fees, the other agency's very minimal fees, and travel to get her. The entire adoption cost us around $8,000 (in 2005 dollars).

Q. She is not a candidate for a cochlear implant? Why?
A.Her eighth auditory nerves did not develop.

Q. What educational plans do you have for your daughter?
A.Right now, she is involved in early intervention services in the home. When she turns 3 next year, we are planning on her attending our residential school for the Deaf. We feel that this will be the best place for her to fully learn her language and culture. Besides we believe that it will provide the most appropriate education for her in the language she prefers.

Q.Do you have any friends with adopted deaf Korean children?
A.No, I have a cousin who was adopted from Korea himself and I have a colleague who has adopted 2 children from China but they are not deaf. We would love to find others who have adopted deaf children from Korea and find out about their experiences.

Continue Reading