When my nephew and his wife went to pick him up several years ago, they went as part of a group of parents, all of whom were adopting kids. The kids were at different stages of life, and one of them was a 12 year old with poorly controlled epilepsy. The doctors in her country had done all they could, and one of the reasons she was up for adoption was so she could come to America and get better care. That meant, though, saying a permanent good-bye to the foster family that had cared for her for years and was in essence her family. My nephew said the farewell scene was pretty emotional, as you can imagine.
Personally, I don't think I could have done it if I were the adoptive parent. My heart breaks just thinking of tearing a 12 year old away from her family. I think I would have said, look, we'll get her care for her epilepsy in the U.S. and then bring her back after a few months or a year or so. To forever remove her from a family she was attached to at that age? It shouldn't have to happen.
I've written before about my ambivalent feelings towards adoption. It's hard enough to give up a baby for adoption, but a 12 year old? Even though her foster parents weren't her biological parents, they had had her for many years, so it's no surprise it was wrenching to all sides of the adoption.
The things we do to kids sometimes. I'm glad my nephew made it out of there before his first birthday, and I hope he sits still for his dreadlocks.