RALEIGH, N.C. — Since 1998, adoptions in North Carolina have increased by 44 percent. A growing number of couples are turning to foreign countries.
Most people consider childbirth a miracle. For 46-year-old Cindy Popkin-Bradley and her husband Robert, adopting baby Margaret from China is nothing short of a miracle.
"Since I was three years old, that's all I ever wanted to be was a mom," Popkin-Bradley said.
The couple turned to China after they became discouraged trying to adopt locally.
"There were waiting lists. There were 25 couples ahead of me. Some agencies were not able to take new adoptive parents," Popkin-Bradley said.
Adoption agencies said it is getting harder for families to find American babies.
"Domestically, we're seeing a decrease in adoption," said Donnas Kinton, of Amazing Grace Adoptions. "Families starting looking at the two- to five-year wait on a domestic list in this country and they're thinking, 'How can we have a child?' They choose to start looking at international adoption."
The mountain of paperwork required to adopt a foreign child is staggering.
"You have to have a lot of tenacity because you may have to go back to get the document filled out two or three times," Popkin-Bradley said.
Along with police clearances and INS documents, there is also the emotional preparation.
Southern China is half a world away from the southern part of the United States, but Margaret is about to enter a brand-new world in Raleigh. When she comes to North Carolina, it will be a world set up just for her.
From toys to clothes, Margaret will have everything a child wants. From her parents, she will have everything a child needs -- lots of love.
"I'm excited. I think it's the greatest thing that's ever happened to me," Popkin-Bradley said.
There are still hundreds of children in foster care in North Carolina, many of them are older and ready for adoption, but the process can be expensive. Some adoptions in North Carolina can cost as much as $20,000. International adoptions cost even more.