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Grown In My Heart is a series written about the adoption process from a mom who has been through it. She will be sharing her entire experience with you all in hopes to help other parents who are looking into adoption or going through the process.
“For those considering adoption, you may already realize how convoluted it seems. There are so many options and it often feels like there is not a lot of support out there. When we began the adoption process, I vowed to help other women who were considering adoption, or were already in the process. Let me start with a small disclaimer. First, I am not an adoption professional. I am simply an adoptive mom who wants to share her story. Second, I am speaking only about my experience. While I know many that have a similar story, each process is different. My goal in sharing this is to help other women know where to start and to have some idea of what could happen.”
When first beginning the adoption process, it can feel as though you are in the middle of a Toys R Us on Black Friday. There are so many options, ideas and stories swirling around you, you don’t even know where to begin. Let yourself have that moment of being overwhelmed, and then develop a plan.
For me, I turned to three very helpful resources that I would highly recommend.
The Adoption Guide Not only did it provide a list of potential agencies and attorneys, it also gave questions to ask as I interviewed prospective agencies.
RESOLVE An organization that supports couples dealing with infertility. They offer regional support groups and adoption seminars to help adoptive parents through the process.
Adoptive Families and Adoptive Families Circle I love reading the discussion boards and articles that they offer.
Once you begin looking at these, and the many other resources, there are a few decisions you’ll want to make to help narrow down the field:
Domestic (within U.S.) v. International Adoption
This is one of the first decisions you’ll want to make before moving forward, as it will guide the rest of your adoption process. There are pros and cons to each option, and you ultimately need to decide what works best for your family. Think about time lines, cost, and requirements when looking at each option. My husband and I decided on domestic adoption for a few reasons: we did not feel that we could afford international, we wanted an open relationship with the birth mom, and ideally we wanted to be there for the baby’s birth.
Agency v. Attorney
Another important decision to make is who you are going to select to help you navigate this process. Again, there are pros and cons to both options. I’m sure there are other options out there, but these were the two that we considered. We chose to work with an agency located in Phoenix (where we used to live). They were a one-stop shop, and we knew all costs up front so that we could better plan. One of our friends adopted through an attorney, and while her process was a lot faster they were not able to estimate their total cost right away.
Open v. Closed
I’ve noticed a trend in agencies expecting families to maintain an open adoption, which research will show is beneficial to all involved. When we began the adoption process, I was terrified of the idea of open adoption. What if the birth mom kidnapped my child during a visit? What if she tried to turn him against us? What if the sky fell during a meeting? I hope you realize that the last question is just a joke, but I think that all three questions are equally ridiculous. Our agency required a 7-week class to prepare us for adoption. During the class, we heard from birth moms, adoptive families and social workers who all shared the same sentiment – open adoption is best. Please keep in mind that there are always exceptions; it may not be in the best interest of your child to maintain a relationship if there is illegal behavior occurring. Ultimately, you need to be comfortable with the situation, so really put some time and energy into researching all types of adoption (there are also semi-open adoptions). We’ve kept a relationship with our birth mom, and I am so glad that we have that connection. The next installment in this series will be a more detailed article all about open adoption.
As you figure out your preferences, you can begin to narrow down your options. At this point, you’ll regain your sanity and realize that the adoption process is “do-able.” Please realize that there are many other things to consider, but when we nailed down these three, it was much easier for us to navigate. Always remember that this is your process. Do what works best for you and your family.
The Grown In My Heart series is brought to you by Katie, a stay-at-home mom from Las Vegas and amazing older sister to our own editor, Emily. After years of trying to conceive, Katie and her husband Matt welcomed a son to their family on January 11, 2011 through adoption. She will be sharing her story through the month of November , so check back for more and leave comments if you have any questions for her! If you are interested in more of her story and following along in the future, you can find the entire blog account HERE.