Adoption

My wife and I just adopted our little girl from a couple in Arizona. As we have shared our story we have run into many friends and coworkers who are themselves considering adoption (or have been a part of the process in some way already).  Having been through a huge chunk of the process, we have been more then happy to share our story.  It was the hardest and most rewarding thing we have ever done and we are so very lucky to have been found by our little girl.

I am happy that I have encountered so many people interested in adoption.  Here are a couple key items I have shared with others on the topic that may be helpful or useful for those interested in this path.

  • Talk to You Spouse About it – A Lot: As I said before this will be the hardest and most rewarding experience of your life.  I can guarantee it will be an emotional rollercoaster. You will both need to be ready for it and on the same page. You will need each other and you don’t want to get in too deep and realize one of you is not ready.
    • My wife and I had discussed this subject before we got married.  So when we reached the point that we were seriously considering, we already had a comfort level knowing we both were OK with it.  I know this not always the case.  The decision is not easy and everyone processes it differently.
  • Understand You Will Have Very Little Control: One of the hardest things I think about the adoption process is the lack of control. You will spend countless hours waiting on emails, phone calls, updates, and news. You will constantly be wondering how the birthmom and baby are, if they are healthy, and if they will still choose you in the end. The not knowing and total lack of control can be overwhelming.  Be prepared and also know you are not alone.
    • The hardest thing for us was not being able to control what our birth mom was doing to her body.  She was a substance abuser and we were constantly worried for was using, not eating right, etc.  We also only got sporadic updates, so we went weeks without hearing anything.
  • Be Ready: I mean both physically and emotionally.  Once you are in the process and have your adoption profile out there, you could be chosen tomorrow. We had a few opportunities we were not chosen for that had kiddos due within two week. We once had a shot at twins due 4 days later.  In the end it took around a year for us, but we had planned and were ready.  Get the essentials like car seat, bassinet, clothes, diapers, etc.
    • The initial process takes awhile.  Once you choose an agency, there is going to be a ton of paperwork, social worker visits, and you have to create an adoption profile for the birth families to see.  We tried to work through it fast and it still took us around 5 months.
      • I recommend http://www.kohlercreated.com/ if you want help with creating a really awesome adoption profile.  They do fantastic graphic work and can take your content and make it pop.  They took my Powerpoint and made it a masterpiece.
    • Have a baby shower early. We did this after we nearly got a kiddo with only a two week notice until birth.  Turned out great cause we found out we were matched only days before the shower and were able to surprise everyone at the shower with the news and the baby’s gender.
  • Do Your Homework: Understand the process and be comfortable with the agencies and people you choose to work with.  Most domestic adoptions are open, so read up on that and understand what it means. Also, find an agency you like and ideally get referred to. They will be with you throughout the process and will be an important part of your journey.  Cost is also a consideration with the agency, so be sure to look and ask on the financials.
    • We used this local agency:  http://www.ccaifamily.org/.  They also have a domestic program, which is what we participated in.  We went to them on a recommendation and loved them.
      • This was our local agency.  They partner with other places around the county for the actual matching.  CCAI just facilitated the process, helped with training and our social worked, and was our local contact.
    • When we researched costs, the range was around $25K-50K depending on the matching and what service you wanted.  Your agency (if you don’t match through them) will give you a list of who they work with.  I recommend you call and talk to them all.  When we made calls, some made us feel like we were buying a car, not adopting a baby.
    • If you know of others in your circle of friends that have adopted, reach out to them.  They can be a great resource.  I would also encourage you to look online and in your community for other who are adopting.  What we have learned is that adoption touches a lot of people lives, more then you would think.  People for the most part love talking about their experiences and are up for helping.  I honestly wish we had reached out more.

I hope this doesn’t appear that I’m trying to scare you away from adoption.  My wife and I are so grateful and lucky to have found (or been found by) our little girl.  Knowing what I know now, I would do it again in a heartbeat.  I just want to give a glimpse of what is to come.  I don’t think my wife and I fully comprehended what was in store for us.  As I said before, get ready for the hardest and most rewarding time of your life.  Buckle up.

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