Thursday, October 27, 2011

What to Expect When You're Not Expecting

Marlon and I like information.  Naturally, when we decided to consider adoption, we started researching everything and anything that we could get our hands on. What type of adoption did we want? Open, semi-open or closed and either domestic, international or from foster care.  Did we want a newborn, an older child or a child with disabilities?  What is the difference between an independent adoption and an agency adoption?  We read a lot of articles.  We reached out to friends who have adopted and a friend who was adopted.  I cannot tell you how much it helped us to be able to talk to these friends and get their perspective and support.  We also attended free informational meetings from different agencies. These meetings were a great opportunity to learn about each agency and to give us an overview of what services each provided, what you can expect during the process, and their fee structure.  We attended three meetings in person and two as webinars.  Also, The Adoption Guide website has some great straight-forward information.  The Adoption Guide.

Kevin, Kelley and Kate! One happy family!
Who knew I would be sharing this experience 
with my 9th grade friend almost 25 years later.
Me and Beth ~ Thank you for always answering all my questions.
I would be so lucky if my child turned out half as wonderful as you.

After much research, we decided that we wanted to adopt a domestic newborn through an agency.  If the birthparents want to, we will remain in contact with them.  It’s a personal decision, but we feel our child should know their adoption story from beginning and birthparents are a part of the story no matter how hard you try to ignore it.  For us, it is so much easier to accept this from the start.  Now, we aren't planning to go vacation with the birthparents.  We'll see how the relationship progresses naturally.

In an agency adoption, the agency guides you through each step of the process. Fees are typically set and cover the home study, counseling for potential birthparents and prospective adoptive parents and medical expensesAgencies set their own criteria on applicants they will accept.  You will meet with a social worker several times and create a profile.  Parent profiles are sent by the agency to the potential birthparents, which pick the one they are most comfortable with. Then, most of the time the birthparents and adopting parents meet and decide if the situation is a match.  Your social worker is with you every step of the way to guide you through the ups and downs.

We liked Bethany Christian Services the best. The social workers were warm and caring during the informational meetings. They seemed to genuinely want what was best for the child, the birthparents and the adoptive parents.  So the day after Mother’s Day 2011, we emailed our preliminary application to be reviewed.  We received a response pretty quickly and met with a social worker at the NYC Bethany office about two weeks after we submitted the application.  I was a nervous wreck.  Of course there was no reason to be, but it was a big step.  Our social worker was the same that we met at the informational meeting, so right there we felt at ease.  She sat with us for about an hour and reviewed their program, answered questions and gave us a ton of paperwork to fill out.  We were accepted in the program and our home study was about to begin!

Anyone that is adopting goes through a home study.  It consists of lots of paperwork to show you are qualified to adopt under the laws of your state.  They want to know EVERYTHING.  The home study process will be a post on its own.  All I have to say for now is that I am glad I like paperwork and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  You don’t have to be rich or perfect to adopt. Regular people, just like you and me, who want a child can adopt.  If you are considering adoption, don’t let things like money or issues stop you, we all have those things.  What’s most important is a loving home to welcome a child.

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