Two-year-old Carter is right at home with his parents, Bryan and Jenny, and his big sister, 3-year-old Cassidy. But he had to travel thousands of miles to get here, when eight months ago, his parents flew to China to meet Carter and bring him back to Ohio to be part of their family.

Two-year-old Carter is right at home with his parents, Bryan and Jenny, and his big sister, 3-year-old Cassidy. But he had to travel thousands of miles to get here, when eight months ago, his parents flew to China to meet Carter and bring him back to Ohio to be part of their family.

It's been a year of firsts for Carter with his new family: camping, swimming and taking trips to the beach and the zoo. The adoption process was also a first for the family, and for many, it can be a challenging time.

It took more than two years of paperwork and anticipation from the time Bryan and Jenny began the adoption process until they first met Carter. Depending on which country parents are adopting from, it can take several years from starting the paperwork to bringing a child home. Bryan and Jenny had been waiting to receive a non-special needs child, when in August 2008 they got a referral for Carter, who was listed as special needs due to development problems with his right ear.

They had just 48 hours to decide if they would proceed with the adoption, with only a picture and some limited medical information about Carter. That is when they began working with the International Adoption Clinic at Nationwide Children's Hospital to obtain as much information as they could before making their important and life-changing decision. When they decided to make Carter part of their family, the International Adoption Clinic continued to be a resource for them.

"It is all a bit overwhelming," Bryan said. "But we are amazed with and grateful for our son." The family made the trip to China last winter to adopt Carter and finally bring him home to Ohio. The adoption process went smoothly, although Bryan and Jenny had moments of frustration and anticipation due to so many unknowns.

"First, parents must consider why they want to adopt and if international or domestic adoption is best for them," said Dwight Powell, M.D., director of the International Adoption Clinic at Nationwide Children's Hospital, who assisted the family through Carter's adoption. "Then, parents need to consider the length of time and high cost of adoption." Once these and other challenges have been thought out, there are many medical and other unknowns with which the International Adoption Clinic can help, including 24-hour assistance while traveling overseas and a medical examination upon returning to the United States.

Carter just returned to the International Adoption Clinic for a follow-up appointment so doctors could check his progress and overall health and development. "It was reassuring to have all of the different specialists working together from different areas at Nationwide Children's to track his progress and determine how he is doing with regards to internationally adopted children, especially when it comes to unique issues such as tracking speech development," Bryan said.

Today, doctors say Carter is adjusting beautifully to his new family and new life in the United States. Knowing Carter has the support of the International Adoption Clinic lets his parents focus on what's most important - planning the next family outing.