Why is Adoption Hard?
There are a lot of things that go into adoption in this day and age. The first and arguably the most important is an unfathomable amount of bravery on the part of the family or mother placing for adoption. Even after going through three adoptions now, it is still amazing to me that there are people in this world strong enough to do that. We had the pleasure of meeting each of the birth mothers of our children before we adopted our children. Each one loved their child, knew that they were not in a place in their life where they could take care of a baby, and concisely made the decision to give their child the best chance they could to live a healthy normal life. In a day and age where it is socially acceptable not to give a child a chance at anything; they loved the very concept of their children enough to give them life. And I cannot thank them enough for that. I do not know where I would be in the world anymore without those kids. But without the love of their birth mother, I would not even know what I was missing.
The second thing that is needed for adoption any more is patience. There mounds of paperwork that have to be filled out to even begin the process, not that I should complain as my wife filled most of those out. Then there are inspections that have to be done on your home to make sure it is safe for the child. Then you have to get a physical to make sure you are fit to take care of a child. Then background checks and social references. All of which take between 6 months and a year and a half to get done depending on how driven you are to get them done and luck you are with your inspection dates.
Finally, you put together a profile book for birth mothers to look at. Which is basically a Facebook profile in physical form. It is a 25-page picture book of who you are and what you are interested in and why you are the best possible choice for taking care of any given parents' baby. Something that I don't think most people really realize unless they have in some way been involved in adoption is that anymore the birth mother picks the adoptive parents. Everything is done through agencies any more and depending on the agency that you use for your adoption you could be in a pool of 10 or 30 ( not random numbers, these are the number of active profiles that two of the agencies we used had at any time) other families for the birth mom to choose from. So you are competing with other people that you know nothing about based on criteria that change on a per situation basis. It might sound crude to you to compare the process that one goes through to obtain their precious child a contest but almost anyone that as done a domestic adoption recently will tell you the same thing. In America, there are roughly 32 adoptive families for every child placed for adoption. That means every time someone places for adoption 31 people go home disappointed. Actually most of the time you don't even know that you weren't picked. We were only ever informed if we were the first or second choice of the birth mom. And you might think being told that you were the second choice sounds awful. But in the case of both Sebastion and Gabriella, we were the second choice and the meeting with the first choice family just didn't go well.
So you have decided to adopt, filled out all the paperwork, passed the inspections, and been selected by a birth mom. You should be home free right. Well not quite, you still have two things left to do. First you, you have to pay for your expenses. That would be an agency fee for the adoption agency. Legal fees for the lawyers and judges involved. Birth mother expenses for the time between when you agreed to adopt the child and when you will legally become said child guardian. Travel, food, and lodging unless you were lucky enough to adopt in the same state that you live in. We adopted Sebastian from Nashville Tennesee and that is when we learned about intrastate adoption policies. Where basically the state the child was born in has to release the paperwork to the state you are taking the baby back to before you can't leave the birth state with it. Some states even require an observation period, some places up to 90 days. Lucky Tennesse didn't so as soon as the paperwork cleared we were on our way back to Kansas a quick 13 days after the birth.
Once you have covered all you expenses you only have one thing left to worry about. Will the birth mother actually sign the paperwork. Legally the mother can not sign over the rights to the child until after the child is born and she has return to a sound state of mind. This is also a time period that varies by state but most of them are 12 to 24 hours. That is plenty of time for a mother to start rethinking that decision to give up that squishy little life ball that just came out of her body though. If birth mom doesn't sign. You go home without the child. Or any of the money from all the fees you paid up to that point. In Sebastion's case (using him as an example because his mother was the one we were most concerned about signing) that would have been a little over $35,000 that went up in smoke. And if that sounds like a big number based on my understanding, his adoption was right inside the average price range for adoption.
This was not all to sway you from considering adoption if you were. Every child is a miracle and if adoption is the only hope you have of experiencing that miracle then you should not hesitate to get started a second longer. I even have some advice for you that can help set you apart from the rest a little in the selection process. But that is a conversion for another day.
In the meantime, I hope this message finds you in good health and with a sound mind. I am just another confused father from Kansas wondering...
HOW DID I END UP HERE?
(Two pages from our profile book)