Tuesday, June 16, 2009

We're Adopting!

Since James and I announced that we are planning to adopt, I’ve had a lot of people ask me about the process and what’s involved. So instead of answering everyone’s questions individually, I thought I’d share the experience with you here.

James and I made the decision to adopt for a variety of personal reasons that I won’t go in to now. Please understand that the circumstances leading us to this decision are very sensitive. If you don’t already know the precise reasons why, then I’m not ready to tell you and please don’t ask. I will let you in on the reasons when I am ready to share them. One-on-one and in my own time.

We decided on a domestic infant adoption for a couple of reasons. First, contrary to popular belief, international adoptions are MUCH more complicated and take MUCH more time and money than domestic adoptions. Every country has different regulations as to how you go about facilitating an adoption and some of them require you to live in that country for as long as a year before you can bring your baby home. Not to mention how expensive it is to travel to and stay in a foreign country compare to, say.... Cleveland! So obviously that made it out of the question. But also, James and I wanted to help someone from our own country.

Originally, we wanted to adopt a baby from a birthmother living in our own state. But after doing a little research, we learned that state-run adoption agencies (while less expensive) take a lot longer. They have fewer resources than private adoption agencies or law firms, so they aren’t able to reach as many birthmothers. One local agency that I contacted wanted to put us on a waiting list for at LEAST six months before they could even BEGIN our Home Study (more on that later) and look for a birthmother for us. Most adoptions done this way take several years to finalize. In the end, we decided to trade the slower, less-expensive option for the faster, more-expensive one.

We have been working one-on-one with an adoption consultant over the phone and by email (since we can’t to go CA). She has baby-stepped us through the legal paperwork involved in initiating a search for a baby. Right now we are working on writing our Adoptive Parent Profile and our Dear Birthmother letters. Once we send her those, our pictures, and our contract, out agency will begin marketing us to potential birthmothers and we will start our Home Study here.

I don’t know yet how long the Home Study in our state takes. I’ve read online that it’s usually 8-12 weeks, but it can vary. I’ll talk more about that after we’ve started it. As for the match process (pairing a birthmother with an adopting couple), it is the birthmother that selects the couple. Once we have been selected by a birthmother, we will be given all of her information.... her personal history, health information, financial situation, etc. If we like what we see (that sounds weird, doesn’t it?) then we set up a meeting or conference call (depending on where in the country she is) to talk and ask questions of each other. After that, if we both agree, then the legal paperwork proceeds and we will start supporting her financially until she delivers.

The other possibility is that we are selected by a “baby born” birthmother, meaning that either the baby was just born or is due very very soon. The only stipulation is that we cannot bring the baby home until the Home Study has been completed by the social worker. So either we would have to pay to have the Home Study expedited or we would have to wait and match with another birthmother.

Well I think that’s enough for now. It’s pretty much all we know about the process so far. I will keep everyone updated on the process as we find out more information. Thank you for all your love and support. We are so excited about this and can’t wait to bring our little one home!

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