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Bringing an Adopted Child into Japan - 08-05-2009, 09:13 AM

I figure Nyororin will probably have to most information for me...

I just recently put my financial affairs in order, and I have about ¥4Million in the bank, I have a steady job here in Japan, I rarely use all of my income on a monthly basis and have a two bedroom apartment for just me. Things are looking good for starting a family...

Except, I have no interest in a spousal relationship any time soon. I am not even looking. I am, however, seriously thinking of adopting a child in the next few years. I firmly believe that with my income level, my household affairs in order, and my general responsibility, that I could be a good single parent.

I realise that Nyororin and I have spoken in the past about the difficulty in obtaining an adoption of a Japanese national, but I have no intention of leaving Japan. I just got back from my first visit to the US in nearly two years, and honestly... that place was weird. More importantly, it was not home. I didn't expect to feel so strongly, but I did.

Instead I was thinking of adopting from the PRC or the ROC, probably the ROC (Taiwan), because I believe I already meet the requirements on the ROC side (I am fairly certain I would meet the US Department of State requirements as well). And while gaining US citizenship for my child is a very simple matter according to State's website, I am concerned about what regulations I would need to deal with in regards to having a dependent child in Japan.

I would want to child to attend Japanese schools, but the language at home would be English. However, this depends largely on the rate of the child's acquisition of Mandarin, Taiwanese, or Hakka.

Thoughts?
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08-05-2009, 12:20 PM

Basically, you`ll need to adopt the child as a US citizen, following regular procedures to do so... And then bring the child into Japan as your adopted child. Which really shouldn`t be that hard. You just have to keep an eye on the age cut off for an adopted child to be applicable for a dependent visa. There is some level of strictness there. I think it is 6 at the time of adoption. A child over that cannot be brought into the country... Or rather, cannot obtain a visa as your dependent.

It should just be a matter of paperwork if the child is under 6. The potential problems would most likely lie with the country you are adopting the child from, and what they require of you.


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08-05-2009, 12:24 PM

The child would need to be six or under for ROC, because I am only 26, and they require a 20 year gap between adult and child. I know the procedures for both the ROC and the US, it was the Japanese issues I was concerned with.

I do know the State Department wants to do a home visit, but I believe consular officials can do that if the home is overseas...
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08-05-2009, 12:54 PM

As you`re not a Japanese citizen, and the child would be below 6 - you shouldn`t really have much trouble with the Japanese side... Other than the pain of paperwork, at least.


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08-05-2009, 01:07 PM

Would s/he be eligible for the public school system? (I don't see why not, of course).
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08-05-2009, 01:21 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tsuwabuki View Post
Would s/he be eligible for the public school system? (I don't see why not, of course).
Yep. Just the same as a biological child of yours.


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08-05-2009, 06:30 PM

Will US adoption agencies adopt to non-US residents?

The ROC is tightening things up in terms of letting its children out of China recently, as is Korea.

Living in Japan you probably know that adoption outside of families is almost unheard of. I am curious as to Nyororin's opinion on this, but I worked for a Japanese newspaper and we did a story on this very topic as it is so rare in Japan.

Sometimes adoptees in Japan don't even know they are adopted until they register for marriage. Even in these cases it is most often adopted to an aunt or uncle after the parents die in an accident or some case like that.

I would think hard before subjecting a child to the Japanese school system as not only a gaijin, but as a adoptee to a single parent, which I think might be more alienating than the gaijin part.
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08-05-2009, 07:25 PM

I think it's great that you are considering adoption. There are many children around the world that need a good home. I'm proud for you, Tsuwabuki.


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08-05-2009, 09:10 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by MMM View Post
Will US adoption agencies adopt to non-US residents?
I haven't seen anything legally that would prevent it. And US adoption agencies are not the only option; agencies in the ROC itself, as the example used, are allowed to deal directly with US citizens.

Quote:
The ROC is tightening things up in terms of letting its children out of China recently, as is Korea.
I knew the PRC had, but according to State, adoptions from the ROC to American citizens is on the rise.

Quote:
Living in Japan you probably know that adoption outside of families is almost unheard of. I am curious as to Nyororin's opinion on this, but I worked for a Japanese newspaper and we did a story on this very topic as it is so rare in Japan.

Sometimes adoptees in Japan don't even know they are adopted until they register for marriage. Even in these cases it is most often adopted to an aunt or uncle after the parents die in an accident or some case like that.
I do, and Nyororin and I have spoken about it elsewhere another thread. However, that thread was directed at a teenaged poster with a fantasy of adopting a Japanese child.

This might be seen as the "adult's conversation" in regards to adoption.

Quote:
I would think hard before subjecting a child to the Japanese school system as not only a gaijin, but as a adoptee to a single parent, which I think might be more alienating than the gaijin part.
My concern is that my income and high standard of living is not transferable to all parts of the country, and Fukuchiyama is pretty rural. I do think I could afford an international school. I do not think I would have any way of getting the child to the international school, however. Biological parents are restricted by these constraints, so I don't feel my case would be special.

I have several gaikokujin students, and I haven't encountered any widespread bullying or racist behavior, even when I intentionally observe when students are unaware of my presence. My experiences is these students: acquire English better, and that time in Japan is what determines acquisition of Japanese.

Take my student Kaori verses my student Marlex. The former is actually Brazilian of limited Japanese ancestry. Her name is not the original name she was born with, her parents changed it for easier integration, but her Japanese is perfect, and she does not remember a time before Japanese. Of course, she also speaks fluent Portuguese, as that is the language at home. Her friends know she was from Brazil, and her parents definitely don't look asian (surprisingly, Kaori does to a degree, in skin and hair color, but not in facial construction at all), but I have never seen her have any issues.

Marlex is another issue entirely. He's Filipino and his parents are Filipino immigrants. He's a late arrival and while he speaks fluent English, Filipino and some Spanish, he struggles with the Japanese school system because it's fully in a language he doesn't completely understand. He knows next to no kanji, and I don't think he should be in a Japanese school at all. He's bright, and funny, and a great kid, and his Japanese is good enough for friendships, but he doesn't belong in a school where the language of instruction is not one of his fluent languages.

I believe this is largely why adopting out of the country is restricted to child under school age: language acquisition. Kaori spoke some portuguese at three or four, but was able to pick up Japanese in Kindergarten. I do not see why a child of mine, living in Japan, in an English household, should not be able to do the same with Japanese/English.

As for the adopted/single parent bullying you imply is possible, I am not sure you can really say. Do you have anecdotal evidence? Obviously, I would think hard about any decision relating to adoption, and this is not something I intend to do this week on my trip to Taipei. At this point I don't think separating the child from the Japanese school system seems to be a good idea. Not just because of constraints imposed by job and geography, but also because I feel strongly that if the child lives in Japan, the child should have the opportunity to live as "normal" a life as possible in the country of residence. Fukuchiyama is very small, most my students live in walking distance of me, students' parents went to school with their teachers... That sort of thing. My friend Dave's children go to Taisho, a feeder elementary for my JHS. And they're pretty obvious with white skin, light brown hair, and green eyes. So far, Dave has not mentioned any issue they have had with the school system here. I highly doubt that it would be as big of an issue as you seem to suggest, at least at the elementary level. At the JHS or HS, if integration seems seriously strained, I could look into an international school in Kyoto.

I don't foresee this happening in the next year, but sometime between now and when I turn thirty. I think that's a reasonable timeframe with which to consider this decision.

Last edited by Tsuwabuki : 08-05-2009 at 09:14 PM.
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08-05-2009, 09:30 PM

Yes, you are right, I confused PRC and ROC.

I don't think being a foreigner would necessarily be a negative experience for a student, but I do think being adopted could be a target point for hazing. To be honest, I think the child might even be more alienated by adults than younger children.

Like I said, I worked on a Japanese newspaper article about adoption and in the course of the research I talked to several Japanese people about adoption. It was something I had never known about, and I found some attitudes rather shocking, to be honest.

I asked several Japanese people if their spouse, blood child and adopted child were drowning and they could only save two of them, who would they save? 100% said spouse and blood child. I asked what if it was spouse or adopted child 100% said spouse. None had to think about it. When I brought up the idea that some Americans would choose an adopted child over a spouse, they laughed or scoffed. "Blood before water" "But a spouse is not a blood relative" I countered. "It is the same as a blood relative. An adopted child will never be the same as a blood relative."

But don't take my word for it. Please talk to people around you and ask them what they think about it and what they think life would be like for you if you did it.

I have never been to Fukuchiyama, so I don't know about life there, but I think you should ask about it to colleagues and neighbors and friends. I hope the answers you get are less surprising than the ones I got.

Last edited by MMM : 08-05-2009 at 09:32 PM.
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