WHERE IN THE WORLD TO START?
Your heart is telling you that you aren’t done. You are ready for another child, but the biology is all wrong. Why does it seem that mother nature betrays us soooo much?? (I guess that is a rant for another day.)
You might even know that you want to adopt, so, like any other perfectly reasonable human being, you sit in front of your favorite search engine and you type in “adoption.”
WHOA the results are endless, the ads are endless, and now your phone, your computer, and your smart device are all spewing ads about different adoption consultants, waiting children, and local resources. It is overwhelming!
So, I am hoping to provide a 10,000 foot view of your first options with adoption so that hopefully you can narrow down that search just a little.
When talking about adoption, there are basically 4 different types. These include private domestic adoption, foster to adopt through a state service, international adoption, and embryo adoption.
Private Domestic Adoption
Private domestic adoption refers to the process where (usually) a pregnant mother is matched with a family for placement. Generally, this is facilitated through a private placement agency or office such as an adoption agency or an attorney. Many consultants, social workers, and attorneys across the country offer this service. More and more adoptions are open adoptions where the waiting family and the placing mother can actually have a relationship.
Open adoption is a great service to the placed child as it lends to a more comprehensive medical and social history for future medical care. It also allows so many of a child’s identity questions to be answered. Long gone are the days of a child wondering why a mother chose to place or where he or she is from. Now that child can hear the story straight from the placing mother’s lips.
(Oh…and by the way…in case you were wondering. We try to stay away from the term “real mom” and instead use the term “placing mother.” This refers to the woman who chose to place her child into a home where that child would be best able to thrive. If we want adoption to be a more viable option for young, desperate mothers, then we must also create a positive image of adoption. I guess that is a rant for yet another day!)
Private domestic adoption can be a lengthy process, requires extensive background checks and a home study, but what truly sets families apart are their adoption profiles. These books/videos/scrapbooks are a family’s opportunity to tell a placing mother how they are the perfect fit for a child. They should be personal and tailored to what makes your family so special. I have known some mothers to look for a family with a dog, a family on a farm, or a family in a city. Each placing mom is looking for something different, so make it personal!
Foster to Adopt
Unlike private domestic adoption, the foster to adopt program (might have other names across the country) is likely run through your local state human services agency. Foster to adopt refers to waiting families who hope to adopt and are willing to serve as foster parents to children who may be eligible for placement.
Sadly, some cases come up where social services already knows that a child will not remain with his or her mother and father. That child might be a candidate for a foster to adopt family. Ages range from newborn to teenager, and it is imperative that a family understand the potential traumas that this child has faced.
Like private domestic adoption, and any other adoption, a waiting family must have completed background checks, a home study, and other trainings.
Traditionally, foster to adopt is much more affordable than the private and international counterparts because so much of the process is paid by the state. However, there is no knowing how long the wait will be or whether a child placed in your home will actually remain in your home. Uncertainty is a major consideration for anyone who is interested in pursuing adoption through the foster care system.
International Adoption or Intercountry Adoption.
Over the last half century, US interest in adopting children from abroad has grown and grown. Although some were motivated by a quick, closed adoption for a child of any age, most were presumably motivated by love and the chance to make at least one child a part of a family that child would otherwise not have had.
Sadly, due to the lack of international regulation, some countries or opportunists began to essentially sell children. Or, on a milder note, the ease of international adoption dissuaded countries from attempting to correct the problem of orphaned children through programs like foster care or family rehabilitation.
Enter The Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption or The international adoption Hague treaty. Although this treaty was drafted in the late 1990s, it did not become effective in the United States until 2008. The aim of the treaty is to protect children all over the world by requiring signatory countries to first try to find children a home in their country of origin before making them available to International adoptive families.
The aim of the treaty is beautiful –protect children, keep children in their birth families, promote culture for children. But, the practical effect of the treaty has been to drastically change the face of international adoption in the United States. So much so that many international agencies have closed their doors or even let their accreditations lapse.
Not to be discouraged though if your heart is in international adoption. There are still plenty of organizations that are still coordinating international adoptions. The timeline ranges from a few months to a few years and can include infants all the way up to teenagers and sibling groups depending on the program you intend to enter.
Most international country programs are further broken down into two subcategories.
Special needs placements and Standard match programs.
- Don’t be scared off by the term “special needs”. Special needs is a term used for a very broad category of children and can mean any child with a mild or moderate special need ilke a club foot or a cleft palate, all the way to children who are just a little bit older. Many children in the non-traditional placement group are simply older than 4. Many do have very severe special needs and are looking for a home best suited for a life with many accomodations.
The beauty of entering into the special needs placements are that they are often much quicker and even less expensive due to the available adoption grants for special needs placements.
- The standard match program is just like a private domestic adoption except across international lines. You will have to complete the home study process as well as submit a dossier to the international placement committee (assuming you are working with a Hague signatory country). The process can take 1-4 years depending on your program and your preferences and can cost between $20,000 – $50,000. Most countries require at least 1 trip to the country that can be as little as a week all the way up to 8 weeks and multiple trips. Finding the right country option for you is very important and should be determined with the help of your agency and social worker.
Finally, embryo adoption. You know all those IVF successfully fertilized eggs? In line with the knowledge that life begins at conception, IVF parents can choose to donate extra embryos to an embryo adoption organization rather than destroy or store them. In turn, women who cannot successfully conceive but can successfully carry can have the embryos implanted and experience the terrors, I mean, wonders, of becoming a mother! It’s beautiful!
Because the state and the agencies that place embryos follow the belief that embryos are people too, they require that the adoptive families go through much the same process as any other adoptive family. A home study, background checks, and even legal paperwork are required in many states to adopt an embryo. For many, this a great alternative to IVF and the timeline and cost are much more streamlined than a private domestic adoption.
These four types of adoption are the main starting points for your personal journey. My family is currently in waiting for our international match. Our estimated wait time is 24-36 months unless we choose to enter the waiting child program. I can’t wait to see who God has waiting for our family.
https://workplaymommy.com/adoption/If you are looking for adoption support or other adoption information click here!