This past weekend, in search of a birthday gift for my father, I browsed the amazing collection of antiques, artifacts and furniture from around the world at Primitive's annual warehouse sale (www.beprimitive.com). I chatted with the owner, Glen Joffe, about his truly unbelievable gallery, the fact that I had to get my father, who has an impressive collection of Pre-Colombian art, down to his gallery and that I was adopting a child from Nepal. He asked "Why Nepal?" I quickly told him that Nepal is one of a few countries that allows singles to adopt, and programs like China (which people automatically think of) have up to a 7 year wait.
The reality is Nepal came to me.
I had spent numerous hours researching adoption programs in other countries - Mongolia, Ethiopia, Ecuador and Russia - and even the "Stans" - Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan. They were all on my list of countries from which singles could adopt. When I first began to look for an adoption agency I realized I was actually searching for an agency with a country program that allowed singles. This narrowed my search considerably. Ethiopia, with one of the largest programs, allows single people. The program gained tremendous popularity after Angelina Jolie adopted her daughter Zahara (pre-Brad Pitt) in 2005. In fact, I have quite a few friends, some single and others married, who have or are in the process of adopting from Ethiopia.
While I was looking into the Ethiopian program, my adoption agency contacted me to give me the heads up that Nepal was opening an adoption program and singles were allowed. I knew a bit about the country as my father and step mother have done a lot of reading about Buddhism and have even met the Dalai Lama. Dad even has a photo of him in his office. I thought it would be advantageous to get in on a program early when the waiting list wasn't so long. So I signed up for Nepal and was given the number 140. This sounded particularly low to me and I was certain the wait wouldn't be that long....for sure not more than a year.
When researching countries, it's hard not to get discouraged with all the criteria. Some countries don't allow singles, others have age caps while still others like China even have a body mass index maximum. It's not easy for singles and it is particularly difficult for single men who want to adopt. There are a few countries including Ecuador that allow single men especially if they are willing to bring home siblings or children who are a little older.
Back at Primitive, Glen proceeded to tell me about his travels to Nepal and the singing nun who I'd have to meet when I visited Nepal. I told him I hadn't visited Nepal because I was worried about becoming attached to a place especially if the adoption didn't work out. He just looked at me and said "you should go." He also told me that as soon as I left his warehouse sale I should drive immediately to his flagship store in downtown Chicago. I was to go directly to the Buddha room and write out a wish on one of the wish cards and place it in a self addressed card. He would then take all of the wish cards collected to Nepal in April, have the wishes blessed by a Holy Lama and then sent back to all of us waiting for our wishes to come true.
When you enter Primitive, you cannot help but be awestruck. The gallery is absolutely stunning. You are surrounded by beautiful objects, furniture and art from Asia, Africa and South America. You instantly feel as if you are in a very special, spiritual place. I entered the Buddha room and spent some time thinking about my wish before I wrote it out on the card and inserted it into the envelope. As I left, I handed it to the gentleman who was working at the desk and he stood up with his hands in prayer position and said "Namaste" as I left the store.
While I wait for my Holy Lama blessed wish to be returned to me, I am seriously thinking of making my first trip to Nepal.