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New to adoption--HELP ME :)

Posted by on Feb. 20, 2012 at 9:46 PM
  • 11 Replies

My husband and I recently found out we cannot conceive bilogical children. We are looking into domestic adoption of a newborn-12 months preferrably. We have not chose an agency yet and are overwhelmed with trying to choose one. We are going to two different informative meetings from two different agencies. Are we headed in the right direction?! Also, can anyone give me any insight to how long we may wait for a caucasion infant with mild to no health issues? We are willing to take a premature child, or a child with minor medical problems. I have no one to ask personally, Im also at a complete loss of what to expect financially for a child like this through an agency. I dont know what else to do besides go through and agency. We have given our names to my OB/GYN in case anyone is interested in adopting their child, but we are the 7th in line, and I feel I cannot count on that to happen. Im so overwhelmed right now, can anyone give me words of encouragement? Thanks everyone :)

by on Feb. 20, 2012 at 9:46 PM
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ARgal
by Member on Feb. 21, 2012 at 2:36 AM

Here is a summary of the process.  I will post it in separate posts, so I won't lose it.  

Overview

  • There are three types of domestic adoption:  (1) foster to adopt, (2) independent, private adoption and (3) agency/facilitator assisted adoption.  
  • Foster to adopt has its own process. You can find out more by calling your local Dept of Human Services. 
  • In both independent adoption and agency/facilitator adoption, the mom considering adoption for her child will choose the adoptive parents based on their "profile."  
  • In an independent adoption, the prospective adoptive parents (often referred to as "PAPs") distribute their profile, find a match and process the adoption without the assistance of an ageny/facilitator.  (Note that an attorney will need to be hired to draw the paperwork up for the adoption).  Some states may require PAPs to use an agency.
  • In an agency/facilitator assisted adoption, the agency/facilitator works as a matchmaker between the mom considering adoption and the prospective adoptive parent (PAPs).  (The agency/facilitator generally has an attorney with whom it works to draw up the paperwork)
  • It is typical for PAPs to pay pregnancy-related expenses and medical costs not covered by insurance or medicaid.  Each state has its own laws on what expenses are permissible and which are prohibited.  (The agency helps navigate these laws in an agency adoption.  The PAPs need to make sure that they consult an attorney or otherwise familiarize themselves with these laws in an independent adoption.)
  • A few caveats:  States differ in terms of whether PAPs must use an agency, the time period during which the birthmom may change her mind after consenting to adoption, and other terms. Some states, eg NY, can be very complicated.

With that overview, the next post will give details about the process. .  .

"A baby is a miraculous gift from God, no matter how one receives it. Some are given the ability bear them, others the ability to rear them."

ARgal
by Member on Feb. 21, 2012 at 2:39 AM

Process for Private, Domestic Adoption

(1) Homestudy:  

All PAPs must have a homestudy before the state will allow them to adopt.  The homestudy is simply a report compiled by a licensed social worker that contains required information and "approves" the PAPs to adopt.  To obtain a homestudy, you merely have to hire a licensed social worker to complete one.  (Googling social worker, homestudy, adoption and your local area will generally turn up a social worker who does homestudies)

The homestudy process will involve three meetings with the social worker, which will include one home visit.  The social worker will also have you run your fingerprints with the state police, run your names through the child abuse registry and tell you what else you need to do.  (These background checks generally just involve your completing a form and turning it in to the state police.  The social worker will hold your hand through it all.

The homestudy usually takes 3-4 months to complete and costs anywhere from $1,500-$3,000.

(2)  Create profile and decide whether to pursue independent adoption or agency/facilitator assisted adoption

Once your homestudy is completed, you are eligible to adopt under state law.  Now, you need to create a profile to find a match.

A profile is nothing more than a "dear birthmother" letter.  There are tons of them on the internet.  They tend to follow a general format  . . . . lots of pictures, each spouse decribing the positive qualities of the other spouse, parenting philosophies, hobbies etc.

Now, you have to decide whether you are going to make the effort to put your profile "out there" (wherever that is) to make it available to moms considering adoption.  PAPs who pursue independent adoption will generally make "looking to adopt" business cards to distribute to friends and family and will network on internet sites designed to help connect moms considering adoption and PAPs.  

The advantage of independent adoption is that can be less expensive because PAPs do not have to pay agency fees.  The disadvantage is that it takes more work  . . .  PAPs have to put their profile out there and have to navigate the state laws governing expenses.  Also, some claim that more scams (eg, women who pretend to be considering adoption only to receive expenses) occur in independent adoption because PAPs are not as experienced as recognizing the "red flags" as agencies are.

(3) If you want agency/facilitator assisted adoption, you need to choose an agency

This is a critical decision.  Do your research on this!!!!!!   Many agencies and facilitators want up-front fees upwards of $15,000.  For most people, once they pay those fees, they are "locked in" with that agency because they cannot afford to forfeit that amount of money.  If they hired a lemon of an agency, they are stuck with that lemon and it might be a very long time before they are able to adopt.

Some agencies and facilitators do not charge up-front fees.  If you want to know some recommendations, PM me.  Also, PM me if you want to know the questions I recommend you ask the agencies to make sure that you are not hiring a lemon.

BTW:  This might be a good time to mention that I am just an AP.  I am not associated with any agency or facilitator.  I just did A LOT of homework in my adoption journey.  I narrowly avoided some lemons myself.  LOL

(4) If you choose to work with an agency/facilitator, understand the process and create a "budget"

If you decide to work with an agency/facilitato, they generally will also tweak your profile.  

You will be asked to set a "budget" of anywhere from $20,000 upwards.  The "budget" doesn't mean how much you will spend.  It is how much you are willing to spend.  The agency fees are a set amount, the budget is really important for expenses for the expectant mom considering adoption.

Here is how it works.  When an expectant mom considering adoption (referred to as "EMCA") chooses to work with an agency, she tells the agency how much money she will need for pregnancy-related expenses (some states allow you to pay for rent, cell phone, transportation, utilities, medical bills, groceries, maternity clothes, time off from work etc.)   This is her "budget."  She will also tell the agency her preferences as to adoptive parents (eg, values, income, race, marital status, geographic location, level of openness in teh adoption etc).  

The agency will then work as a "matchmaker" and show her profiles of adoptive parents who meet her preferences and who are willing to spend the amount that she needs for expenses.  In other words, they will find an adoptive couple who has a "budget" that meets her needs.

As you would expect, the higher your budget, the more your profile will be shown . . .  because it will be shown to EMCA who have a budget equal to or less than yours.  As a matter of probabilities, the more EMCA see your profile, the sooner you will get matched.

For example, suppose you have a budget of $35,000.  Suppose that there are three EMCA.  One has a $20,000 budget, one has a $25,000 budget and one has a $30,000 budget.  Your profile would be shown to all three EMCA (assuming you met their preferences).   On the other hand, if you had a $20,000 budget, your profile would only be shown to one EMCA.   By increasing your budget, you are increasing your exposure.  Also, you might have a $35,000 budget and be matched with an EMCA with a $20,000 budget.  Again, your "budget" is not how much you will spend.  It is how much you are willing to spend.

Keep in mind that your budget has nothing to do with the health of the baby, its genetic propensities or its prenatal exposure.  It is just about how much you are willing to spend and how much the EMCA wants as expenses.

(5)  If you choose to work with an agency/facilitator, you must choose your tolerances.

In addition to your "budget," you will be asked what you are willing to accept in terms of a child.  Are you will to accept a child who was exposed to alcohol in the womb?  If so, how much?  Once or twice?  Multiple times per week?  Are you willing to accept a child who was prenatally exposed to drugs?  If so, what kind? Meth?  crack?  Marijuana?  How much exposure?   Once or twice?  Monthly?  Daily?

Are you willing to accept a child who has a family history of mental illness?  What kind of mental illness are you willing to accept?  Schizophrenia?  Bi polar?  Severe depression?  Mild depression?  

Most agencies will not let you specify a nonsmoking (cigarettes) EMCA as they take the position that the majority of EMCA smoke. 

 As you would expect, the more you are willing to tolerate, the more EMCA will be shown your profile.  As a matter of probabilities, the more your profile is shown, the quicker you will be matched.

For example, suppose you are willing to accept all drug and alcohol exposure.  Suppose there are three EMCA.  One has no drug and alcohol exposure.  One smoked marijuana a few times before learning she was pregnant.  And one has a daily crystal meth addiction.  Your profile would be shown to all three.  On the other hand, if you specified that you were opposed to any and all drug exposure, your profile would only be shown to one EMCA.  If you specified that you were receptive to marijuana, your profile would be shown to two EMCA.

The reason the agency/facilitator wants you to assess your preferences before showing your profiles is because they don't want the EMCA to feel judged.  They don't want to show your profile to an EMCA who has conditions that you are uncomfortable with.  What if she chose you as adoptive parents?  It would be very hurtful to her if you backed out because you were not comfortable accepting her situation.  To avoid this, the agency records your preferences (and her preferences) beforehand, so that you are "compatible."  KWIM?

"A baby is a miraculous gift from God, no matter how one receives it. Some are given the ability bear them, others the ability to rear them."

aprilz1225
by Silver Member on Feb. 21, 2012 at 7:24 AM

 Argal covered it nice job!! good luck and if it seems to good to be true it is!!!! go to the meeting with a list of questions... how long is the contract, if the contract expires with no match what is your recovery.. if the adoption is a reclaim by birthparents what does the agency/facilitator do, are you placed back on the list at no additional ccost or do you have to pay a fee?  what do they offer for birthparents: counciling, things like that, our agency/ facilitator has a warehouse full of donated maternity clothes, shoes, small appliances, beds, the also have a scholarship program for birthparents wanting to further thier education. .. also ask for some birthparent refrences, to find out how they were treated. (very important) good luck welcome to the group!!

meam4444
by on Feb. 21, 2012 at 4:05 PM

Welcome to the group!  ARgal gave great information.  Wishing you the best with your adoption journey.

Jewles35
by on Feb. 21, 2012 at 9:32 PM

Hi!  My husband and I just talked to an adoption lawyer today. It was an educational experience.  I assumed the baby would come from a teen mom. The lawyer told us about babies born in jail and on the street.  It was an eye opening experience. He suggested ways that we can look for a mom ourselves. It really brings down the cost.  In Florida, you have to use a lawyer even if you go through an agency.  I'm going to put an ad in college papers and talk to HS guidance counselors.  Good luck~

doodlebopfan
by Bronze Member on Feb. 22, 2012 at 9:36 AM

 

Quoting Jewles35:

Hi!  My husband and I just talked to an adoption lawyer today. It was an educational experience.  I assumed the baby would come from a teen mom. The lawyer told us about babies born in jail and on the street.  It was an eye opening experience. He suggested ways that we can look for a mom ourselves. It really brings down the cost.  In Florida, you have to use a lawyer even if you go through an agency.  I'm going to put an ad in college papers and talk to HS guidance counselors.  Good luck~

 This is exactly the way that I thought when we first discussed adopting. Amazing how the "myths" fade when we actually start researching and educating our selves about the process. I think there are stats that the majority of teen moms actually keep their babies if they have any support system at all. However, I do believe that there is a need for stability and permanency for children who are born into dire circumstances. Have you considered adopting through your state's foster care program at all? Do you have similar preconceived thoughts about foster care? (I did before we did it.) From what I understand, even not-for-profit agencies and even private agencies have babies or children who have been "funneled" to them via the foster care system. When you look at agencies, you may be asked to consider babies who have been born with drugs in their systems or with medical needs, or even older children whose parents simply could not raise them. 

Please continue to ask questions and I hope that you can find some helpful and useful information here. Good luck in your journey.  

aarksadoption
by on Mar. 8, 2012 at 3:06 PM

Hi there, our office is available to answer any questions you have. Feel free to contact us on out toll free line 888-204-1202. We offer free consults to all prospective adoptive parents. We are happy to help. www.aarksadoption.com

momversuswild
by on Mar. 8, 2012 at 6:40 PM

Best wishes to you in your journey.

enafaye
by on Mar. 8, 2012 at 6:55 PM
1 mom liked this

Hi, I was an interim (foster) mom for Bethany Christian Services for 25 yrs. If you are a Christian couple, they would be a great resource for your adoption plan.  My husband and I adopted two children. The oldest came to us thru her fostering. Her great grandmom asked us to adopt her, and then made arrangements for us to have her brother too.  They are both adults now.  You might want to broaden your willingness to adopt a child of a different race.  If you are willing to take a child with special needs your wait will be shorter.  Special needs is a broad heading to many children who are just as much a blessing as the much sought afer Caucasion baby.   Having fostered for 25yrs, we had a broad variety of babies, each one had so much potential @ half returned to the birth family.   If you choose to adopt thru your state, it can be cheaper.  The cost of adoption can be a block for some families, but there are always children who need a loving parent and security.   Press on it can be a bumpy road.

watsonj0703
by on Mar. 12, 2012 at 10:30 PM
We just got a beautiful healthy baby girl 12 days ago! It took 6 months! The is our 2nd adoption...we need to talk!!!!
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