Steps you can take as a prospective adoptive parent

This week’s blog post is from our professional member Adoptions with Love. You can find out more about adoption options at our 21st Annual Conference on November 8th. Click here to look at our Adoption Track at the conference.

Do you have the impression that adopting a newborn infant in the United States is a long and difficult journey?  While it may take over a year, there are many healthy, wonderful children who need loving families.  Expectant/birth parents understand that they have choices in the adoption process.  Their feelings and desires are very important as they make the toughest decision of their lives.  They are looking to find the best home for their child.  It is very important that you can empathize with the expectant/birth parents as they face this difficult decision.

Here are some concrete steps you can take as a prospective adoptive parent looking to adopt a newborn infant in the United States:

  • Consult with different adoption agencies and programs. Find out exactly how each one works. Licensed adoption agencies typically offer multi-faceted programs to assist you.  Make sure they are licensed and ask for references.  Go with a reputable agency or program.  Ask what services they will provide to you?  Home study? Support during matching process? Matching you with expectant/birth parents?  Support during open adoption meetings?
  • Find out how they locate expectant/birth parents or how the expectant parents find them. You need to know if they do this work or if this is something YOU need to do on your own. If you are required to post your profile on line, how do you accomplish this?
  • Learn about counseling. Who does the counseling of the expectant/birth parent? If there is not proper counseling and assistance to anticipate the grief process, the likelihood of this becoming an adoption is low.
  • Discover what the typical profile of expectant/birth parents is with this agency or program. What is the experience of this particular agency or program? How much and what type of information will be shared about you with the expectant/birth parent? How much and what type of information will be shared about the expectant/birth parent with you?
  • Ascertain if you need to hire an attorney, agency or facilitator in another state in order to locate possible expectant parents seeking adoption for their baby.
  • Determine who works with the expectant/birth parent? How do they take social and medical histories? Do they get prenatal records to share with you and do they confirm the pregnancy before financial support is given to the expectant mother?
  • Get references get references from others who have been successful adopting with the adoption agency or adoption attorney you are interested in working with. Ask what they did like about working with this agency or attorney and what they did not like about working with them.
  • Ask questions such as:
    • What is the process for terminating all parental rights to the child? How do they terminate the rights of unknown birth fathers? How long will this process take?
    • Inquire about how many DOMESTIC adoptions they have done in the past year?
    • Have they ever had to “return” an already placed child? If so, how many times?
    • How long can you expect to wait for a successful adoption? Will you get the opportunity to meet the expectant/birth parent?
    • How does the agency/program support you during the process while you are waiting?
    • Could your age affect the chances of your ability to adopt?
    • How does having other children (biological or adopted) affect your chances of being selected?
    • What are the costs associated with the adoption? Are they “fixed” costs or do you pay for each “piece” of the process? Can you lose the money that you have spent?
    • Does the agency/program escrow your money for the adoption or expectant/birth parent expenses? If the adoption does not go ahead, will you lose that money?
    • What will the level of openness be in the adoption? Will there be ongoing contact with the birthparents of your child? If so, who and how will this be monitored?

Written by Nancy Rosenhaus, LICSW  Associate Director of Adoptions With Love, Inc. a licensed domestic adoption agency in Massachusetts building families for over 28 years.  Adoptions With Love works with expectant/birthparents contemplating the choice of adoption for their baby as well as hopeful adopting parents looking to build their family through adoption. 

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