We had asked our friends and family to ask any questions that they might have on adoption so that we could put together a blog with the answers. Here are the questions we got and our answers. Hope that it is informative and that it helps you to know a little more about adoption!
How did you choose the adoption organization you are working with?
When we decided to not continue fertility treatments any longer we knew that our next step was going to include adoption. We had talked about it from the beginning of our relationship knowing that with my medical issues I might not be able to get pregnant. After stopping the fertility treatments we started requesting information from different agencies (domestic and international) and talking to friends/family that had adopted in the past or where in the process of adopting. Our big issue was making sure we found an agency that was comfortable and experience working with someone who has a disability. We also knew after reviewing information from the different agencies that domestic adoption was what we wanted to pursue instead of international just because of some of the restrictions we found (long wait times in country and that those with short wait times did not do infant adoption) at the places we had contacted. After we had that narrowed down we did more research and went to a orientation session with our agency. After that short session Andy and I knew that it was the agency for us. Even if there might be faster/cheaper/better agencies out there we felt at ease as soon as we were there talking to everyone. There wasn’t any one thing that made us choose the Independent Adoption Center but everything that we heard while there that morning. The fees were average for what we had found at most agencies and so were the wait times. They also offered long term support for everyone involved. If you are thinking about adoption I recommend getting as much information as you can about as many agencies as you can and then eliminate those that don’t have what you are looking for in your adoption and go with your gut from the others that are left (there are so many agencies and they are all the right choice for someone).
Can you go through more than one organization at the same time? Or do all organizations work together?
You could technically work with multiple agencies at a time but you would have to pay the fees for multiple agencies at a time so it would just be too expensive unless you have the money to throw at it. Which if you have more money to throw at your adoption there are agencies that have higher fees and shorter wait times that you could work with instead. I do believe that if an agency has a child that comes in that doesn’t match any of the waiting families that they have they will either refer them to another agency or try and find a family that does match but at most of the bigger agencies that isn’t usually a problem.
What does open adoption mean? or How is open adoption different?
Open adoption is when there is contact between the birth family and the adoptive family after placement of the child. There are varying degrees though within open adoption. If all contact goes through an agency or intermediary then it is a semi-open adoption whereas if contact exists between the birth family and adoptive family then it is a fully open adoption. Our agency does fully open adoptions and we have the opportunity to meet in person, over the phone, send letters, emails, pictures, etc. directly from us to our birth family. How much contact that exists is unique to each adoption though and is decided on between the adoptive family and birth parents at the match meeting. Most people are familiar with the traditional closed adoption where the birth parents and adoptive parents have no way of contacting each other.
Why choose an open adoption?
To start with there are not many adoption agencies that do fully closed adoptions only at this point and if you are wanting a closed adoption you might need to wait longer to find a match because most birth families want an open adoption. This however, did not take part in our decision to choose open adoption. When we started researching adoption we found that we liked open adoption because it adds more clarity for everyone involved in the process. It is better for all three parties of the adoption triad (birth family, adopting family, and child). The birth family doesn’t have to worry and wonder what happened to the child they placed as they know how the child is doing and that they are being loved for and cared for which can make it easier for them to cope with the loss. The adoptive family knows more information about their child’s medical/cultural history by having contact with the birth family that will help teach their child about where they come from. Finally, the child will be curious as they grow up about where they come from and who their birth parents were and with an open adoption you can have some if not all of those answers.
What is a match meeting?
This is usually done before placement (unless child has already been born when matched) and is the time when everyone decides what expectations there are with the adoption match/placement. There is the hospital agreement that goes into information such as when will the adoptive family be contacted about the birth mother going into labor, whether they are allowed in the room, if the birth mother wants to see the baby at the hospital, are photos allowed, etc. Then you have the match agreement that goes into information on what type and how much contact there will be after placement. Visits, phone calls, video chats, letters, emails, and pictures are all decided on how many and how frequently they will happen if they are to happen at all. It is up to the adoptive and birth families to decide what is going in this agreement. Depending on the state you live in this is a legally binding agreement (it is in the state of Georgia) and if it is in the document we have to allow at least that much contact between the birth family and us but the birth family does not need to use the contact if they choose not to in the future.
Do you get to decide on gender/race/age/etc.?
Our agency does not allow gender selection because a majority of their placements are newborns and the gender is not 100% guaranteed even if they have had an ultrasound. There are other things that we do get to decide if we are open to or not though, i.e. race, age, mental disabilities, physical disabilities, multiple births, birth mother expenses, drug/alcohol use, etc. This information is used to match with potential birth mothers that have requested profiles from the agency. Also, if gender selection is important to you there are agencies that allow you to do this that you could choose to work with instead.
Is there an average time frame to get a child or is it case by case?
Each agency has different average wait times. Most are fairly consistent with each other and those that offer an average wait time much shorter probably have higher fees and those with much longer wait times lower fees. Our agency has an average wait time currently of 15 months (which we have just passed this month). With open adoption the wait time is different for every adoptive family because the birth parents choose the adoptive parents rather than the child going to the longest waiting family that matches their profile.