Adoption


I am both the daughter of an adoptee and the parent of adopted children, making my journey with adoption long and interesting.   Although I am now a strong advocate for adoption, I haven’t always felt that way.  In fact, there was a significant part of my infertility journey where I would have chosen to remain childless rather than consider adoption.   To say I’ve come a long way is an understatement!  That story is fairly well spelled out in a number of my blogs, so be sure to search my categories for “adoption” if you want a personal look at my perspective.    This particular page on my blog is for those who ask questions about how to adopt. 

If you find your heart or eyes being focused on adoption, then welcome to an amazing journey!  I truly believe adoption is redemption in action.  There are many options and directions ahead of you if you are considering adding a child to your family through adoption.  The three main avenues to pursue are private domestic adoptions, adoption of waiting children through your state of residence,  and international adoptions.  Choosing your path seems complicated and overwhelming in the beginning, but does become clearer with education and knowledge.  Obviously, this page is not a comprehensive guide to adoption.  I only hope to pass on some broad knowledge I have gained  and offer some helpful “staring points” for those beginning the journey. 

An important note: foster care can be a pathway for adoption, but adoption is not the purpose of foster care!  Foster care is about helping others reunify their family!   To learn more about foster care, click here.
There is nothing quick or easy about adoption.  It is a long process and very different than treatment for infertility.  I believe that it is impossible to walk out treatment and adoptions at the same time.   I think it’s best to close one door and resolve your feelings about biological family building before starting the adoption process.   There is no shortage of complicated issues to work through, such as the age of the child, sibling sets, race, closed adoptions, open adoptions and children with disabilities or any combination of these factors.   These topics will all come up in the home study process, but it’s good to begin talking, praying and thinking about them now.

Research, research, and more research is the best thing you can do as you begin this journey.  I encourage to you begin reading -whatever you can get your hands on - to see which direction is the best fit for your family.  Thankfully, the internet has no shortage of resources for adoptive parents.  Find some adoption discussion groups and jump right in – adoptive parents are always willing to share their stories and help someone just starting out.  Finding your own support network is simply a  huge key!
DOMESTIC WAITING CHILDREN - If you are interested in adopting waiting children from the U.S. system, the best place to begin is the Department of Children and Families for your local state. There are over 100,000* children available for immediate adoption, including older children and sibling groups.   I don’t mean this to sound crass or to make adoption only about economics, but the truth is adoptioning can be very expensive.  Adopting waiting children whose parental rights have been terminated (TPR) offers financial support and solutions not available with the other adoption options.  This is a great direction for those who cannot afford private or foreign adoptions and those not interested in waiting years for infants.   I also highly recommend research through the Dave Thomas Foundation, a leading advocate for foster care and adoption, as well as the Department of Children and Families (DCF) in your state to view galleries of waiting children and to learn more about your options:

DCFS in IL:  http://www.state.il.us/dcfs/index.shtml
DCF in FL: http://www.myflfamilies.com
Dave Thomas Foundation:  http://www.davethomasfoundation.org/
Adopt US Kids: http://www.adoptuskids.org


DOMESTIC PRIVATE ADOPTIONS - If you want to adopt a newborn, the only real option is through domestic private adoptions.  International adoptions are simply taking too long these days to be able to bring home infants.  Domestic adoptions can either be handled through agencies or attorneys.  These are typically expensive and difficult for families who already have a child, but certainly not impossible.  I personally would go with larger agencies or firms; my personal experience with a smaller organization was disastrous.   Survey at least 5 adoption agencies and find out:

-          How many babies they placed in the past year?
-          How long typical adoptions take/ what is their waiting list?
-          How much they charge/ their expected cost for adoptions?
-          Gather referrals from each agency/ attorney
-          Check them out online and the BBB
-          Check them out with your state’s DCFS

Once you have done significant research you should have a pretty clear picture of who you want to work with for your adoption.  I simply cannot stress enough the importance of this step, making the wrong choice can bring you endless difficulties - even after your adoptions are complete.   After selecting your agency you will need to begin the home study portion with a social worker and begin to compile aspects of your life in paper form you never dreamed possible!

INTERNATIONAL ADOPTIONS are also long and complicated, with the number of children adopted declining each year.  In fact, this type of adoption is in a free-fall decline today with only 6,441 foreign-born children brought home in 2014, their lowest level in nearly three decades ago according to the recent Department of State’s (DOS) annual report.**  We pursued this path for a number of reasons I won’t get into, but it was clearly the right destiny journey for our family. If I were to begin an inter-country adoption today, I would follow roughly the same process as listed above to find an agency.   Money is a huge issue; international adoptions are expensive and can easily spiral out of control. Our two adoptions cost $70,000 which was much more than we ever expected when started the process.   Do your research and be cautious!  There is nothing more painful than falling in love with a child that evades your grasp. 

-          Find out which countries are still open and have strong programs when you begin
-         Check out DOS information at  http://adoption.state.gov/
-         Get connected with an advocacy group and stay informed. 
-          I personally recommend Bethany Christian Services , Show Hope, America World AdoptionAdoptions by Gladney 

Here's a great adoption comparison chart created by the Adoption Exchange:



Adoption is not without its heartaches and is not an easy journey for either the parent or adoptee.  Going into the experience with eyes and hearts wide open makes such a difference in the process.   However, I can tell you personally that parenting any child is full of its challenges, whether or not that child comes from your womb or your heart.   Being willing to admit you are not enough and being able to point your little one to Jesus is the biggest key I have found to parenting all of my miracles.   

Here's a short list of books that I love and highly recommend because they highlight the negatives along with the positives of adoption.  Most of them are more focused on international adoption, since that is the direction our family took.  If you are reading this page, please feel free to add books you like in the comments section below.

  • Twenty Things Adoptive Kids Wished Their Parents Knew  by Sherry Eldridge
  • True Stories that Celebrate Adoption, Loved by Choice by Susan Horner
  • The Primal Wound, Understanding the Adopted Child by Nancy Newton Verrier
  • The Waiting Child, How Faith and Love of One Orphan Saved the Life of Another by Cindy Champnella
  • Two Little Girls, A Memoir of Adoptions by Theresa Reid
  • A Passion for the Fatherless by Daniel Bennett
  • The Defense of the Fatherless by Sara Brinton & Amanda Bennett
  • The Connected Child by Dr. Karyn Purvis
  • Adopted for Life by Russell Moore

*U.S. Waiting Children (assessed Jan 2017): http://www.adoptuskids.org/meet-the-children/children-in-foster-care/about-the-children


**http://www.wsj.com/articles/foreign-adoptions-by-americans-drop-to-lowest-level-since-1982-1427837631

Page Updated 2/28/2017

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