updated 24 May 2012, 21:18
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Wed, Dec 08, 2010
The New Paper
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Nationality not an issue when adopting
by Veena Bharwani

THEY tried for five years to have a child.

And when even in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatments failed, they decided to adopt.

It didn't matter to French nationals Dorothee and Francois Devitt that the child would be of a different race.

Their dream of having their own family was fulfilled in 2008, when they took home a Singaporean baby girl the day after she was born.

The Devitts form part of the 12 per cent of adoptive parents in Singapore who are foreigners.

They had adopted local children here with the help of the Ministry of Community Development Youth and Sports (MCYS).

Over the last three years, about 200 Singapore- born children were adopted each year.

The Devitts told The New Paper that they opted for a Singaporean baby because the adoption process here was easier than having to go through an agency in France.

Efficient Said Mrs Devitt, 34, a consultant in a software company: "It would have taken us more than five years in France. In Singapore, it took us less than five months to adopt one."

The couple took the baby girl, whom they named Alice, home on May 6 from KK Women's and Children's Hospital.

Mrs Devitt and her husband, 36, a trader in a bank, immigrated in 2005. They started IVF treatments here the following year.

Said Mrs Devitt of the treatments, which cost $30,000: "It was both physically and emotionally exhausting. Dealing with the injections, the waiting, and then hearing that all failed was terrible."

When their third IVF attempt failed in early 2007, the couple considered adopting.

Initially, they explored the idea of adopting a foreign baby through an agency in Singapore. But they dropped the idea as it was too complicated. So they started looking at adopting a local baby from agencies here.

Mrs Devitt added that they weren't particular about the background or nationality of the child.

Said Mrs Devitt: "We don't care about all that...we just wanted to be parents."

The adoption was an emotional process despite the paperwork going smoothly.

"We knew that with an adoption, the mother could change her mind before the paperwork was processed, so we never kept our hopes high," she said.

Even when the agency called her in March 2008 to tell her that they had found a birth mother who was 30 weeks pregnant, she kept calm.

The couple paid the agency $15,000, which covered the legal fees, the mother's back-dated hospital expenses and other costs.

Another foreign couple who adopted Singaporean babies were the Stanleys.

Mrs Suditi Stanley, who adopted three children in Singapore between 2003 and 2010, wrote to The Straits Times Forum page on Nov 26 to express her gratitude to MCYS.

Mrs Stanley wrote: "The social workers who made the adoptions possible were kind and professional.

The adoptive process involved thorough checks and serious questions, asked politely and sensitively. Clearly, the ministry had every party's interest at heart."

The Stanleys are now parents to Hugh, six, Keira, three, and eight-year-old Mea.

Likewise, the Devitts had also considered adopting another child after Alice. But nature had different plans for them.

Mrs Devitt found out she was pregnant late last year and welcomed their son, Adrien, in April.

As for the difference between bonding with Alice and Adrien, Mrs Devitt said: "Except for breast-feeding, there is really no difference. Not once did I feel distant from Alice even if I didn't give birth to her.

We bonded with her right away.

She said she has also decided to talk to Alice about her background from a very early age.

In the future, if Alice asks about her birth mother, Mrs Devitt will give her the original birth certificate, which states her birth mom's name and address at the time of birth.

Said Mrs Devitt: "She deserves to know where she came from."


This article was first published in The New Paper.

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