It was St. Patrick’s Day 2010, and Susan Gould was in China for the first time in her life, sitting in an austere administrative office outside of Guangzhou. Beside her sat Patrick, her partner since the mid-1990s. International travel was nothing new to the couple, veterans of far-flung excursions to Africa, Asia, Europe and South America. But this was their biggest adventure of all: they were about to meet their child for the first time.
The couple had been waiting for this moment ever since they had placed their names on a list of interested adoptive parents in 2006. After a couple wearying years spent mucking through the ever-changing and byzantine rules of the international adoption complex, they had changed tactics, offering themselves as candidates for a special needs child. In late 2009, notice came that a little Chinese girl born the year before would be available in six months. The couple immediately began preparations to travel overseas.
As they got organized, Gould, an account executive in Ad Sales, received a surprise: Viacom offered an adoption assistance program, offering up to $10,000 to offset the gigantic cost of bringing a non-biological child into their family.