Hey there sister-friends! If you’ve been following along with our little family recently, you know that earlier this month we introduced you to our newest little love who came into our family through adoption. There are soooo many feels this momma is processing after our most recent adoption experience. To say I’ve been changed by this little one, and his first momma, is an understatement. But since I’m not one to process my thoughts and emotions via the blogosphere (no judgement to those who do), I’m gonna save that post for later. Maybe a 5 Things I’ve Learned Through Two Adoptions? We. shall. see.
Anywho. Because November is National Adoption Awareness Month, I thought it only appropriate to talk a little adoption on the the blog. Although this month particularly focuses on adopting children who are currently in the foster care system, it’s an amazing opportunity to talk about any and all adoption related issues! So, here goes!
I’ve talked here about steps you can take when considering adoption. But once you’ve determined that you/your family are called to adopt, the first decision you will make is what route to take to follow this calling. This is my (super) brief run down of the avenues you have to choose from when pursuing adoption.
FOSTER CARE ADOPTION
It’s difficult to talk specifics about this form of adoption because every state has different laws and policies. Although there are some adoption agencies that facilitate foster care adoption (Bethany Christian Services, to name one), most foster care adoptions come through state agencies like DCS (Department of Children’s Services). This type of adoption costs little to no money and the time waiting to adopt varies widely depending on the state in which you hope to adopt. Because reunification with family is the primary goal for most of these children, in some states you will need to be prepared to foster multiple children before you have a child that is ready to be adopted. In other states, you will quickly be matched with a waiting child who is waiting for his/her forever family. For more information on foster care adoption, call your local public agency or a contracted private provider in your state.
Generally speaking, a private adoption occurs when a hopeful adoptive family is connected with an expectant mother who is considering adoption. As a result, this type of adoption is most appropriate if you are pursuing a domestic infant adoption. Most often, these adoptions are facilitated by lawyers and cost less than an adoption facilitated by an agency. In some cases, you may even contract a local social worker as an additional resource and support for the expectant mother. If you are interested in pursuing private adoption, your best chances of connecting with an expectant mom are by simply getting the word out to as many people as you can that you and your family are hoping to adopt. I personally know of some incredible connections that have been made between expectant moms and hopeful adoptive parents this way. Consider using social media to spread the word!
TRADITIONAL AGENCY ADOPTION
For the adoption of our second son, we used Bethany Christian Services, a traditional adoption agency. There are certainly pros and cons to this choice for pursuing adoption. Although sometimes you might be waiting longer to adopt, this type of agency does almost eeeevrything for you. Of course you’ll still be required to fill out your own paperwork, show up for your medical physical, etc, but much of the grunt work between social workers and lawyers is handled by them. There is something to be said for so much help on what can easily become an overwhelming process! For our second adoption of our third son, we ended up placing through Quiver Full Adoptions, Inc. They have a unique approach to adoption (I highly recommend checking them out) but still give you a lot of the traditional agency feel. Some comfort for this anxious girl, for sure. The cost of a traditional agency adoption can vary widely due to the differing costs among domestic agencies, not to mention the varying costs of international adoptions depending on the country chosen.
(photo cred: @joannamariemorris)
CONSULTING AGENCY ADOPTION
A consulting agency adoption is a newer concept that has garnered a lot of attention recently. Consulting agencies specialize in domestic infant adoptions and typically are the most expensive route to adoption. Not only do you pay the placing agency fees, but you also pay for a consulting fee, and, in most cases, travel expenses. If you are interested in a relatively quick adoption, this is a great avenue to consider as these agencies work to connect you with expectant moms across the country.
If you’re just beginning to consider adoption, don’t forget to check out this post. But for anyone who believes that adoption is a definite for their family, I can’t write this blog post without encouraging one other consideration when choosing an avenue for adoption. Now, more than ever before, I believe it is vitally important for birth moms to receive the proper care and support during their pregnancy, immediately post placement, and for years to come. As you research adoption avenues, please consider asking agencies, lawyers, social workers, or any other adoption professional involved in your situation what care they will provide for the birth mother. As excited and eager as we are to adopt, may we never forget the third, and crucial, part of the adoption triad - the birth mother. She deserves the best care and support that can be given to her. There are plenty of agencies that prioritize care for birth moms. If at all possible, ensure you are working with professionals that value her physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Let’s love her first and love her well.