We realize adoption is an opportunity for many in our community to learn alongside us. Katrina has applied her typical research-heavy approach to this decision and is happy to chat with anyone looking to learn more – it actually helps her clarify her own thinking! As you know, John is quieter about these things. He doesn’t mind questions, but he may choose to answer with a joke.
As our journey progresses, we will choose to keep some details about the birth family and the child’s background private. We want to ensure our child has the ability to decide what parts of their history they make public when they are old enough to do so.
What lead to your choice?
Have you tried fertility treatments?
We know we’re both healthy. We did not choose to pursue any medical choices beyond that, preferring to use our money to provide a home for a child who needs one.
Why aren’t you adopting from Foster Care?
The intention of foster care is to reunify children with their biological families. We support that idea completely. Choosing to be a foster parent is an immense act of love. If we are honest, that is not the path we’re on at this time. We are looking to build our own family.
Why a baby?
We began our journey intending to adopt internationally. As we learned more about that process we realized there are many ethical complications in international adoption. There are ethical complications in all types of adoption; but we felt better equipped to identify and follow ethical practices in our own culture.
Domestic private adoption is primarily focused on infants. There are children over the age of 8 whose parental rights have been terminated in foster care and are eligible for adoption. We felt we wanted a child prior to school age so that we can bond and help the child begin healing before adding the complications of school.
Why does it cost so much to adopt?
There are over 100,000 children currently eligible to adopt in foster care. Adopting from foster care can be free or as little as $2,000. We have chosen not to pursue this route, but it is important to acknowledge.
Unfortunately there is an industry built around adoption. If the funds that went towards that industry were instead available to support families in need, or if there was more economic equality in our country, some, but not all, families might choose to keep their children.
Even if economics were not a factor, some families would still choose to make an adoption plan. There are adoption agencies who work to ensure that families are able to explore all their options and then provide services to support expectant parents before and after placement. Funding for these adoptions help pay social workers a salary, provide counseling and support to families, fund overhead and pay lawyer and court fees. We made a point to choose an agency that directs significant resources to supporting birth and expectant families as opposed to marketing and fancy offices.
How long will it take?
Overview of the Process
There are many steps to adoption. These are some of the steps after researching and choosing Domestic Infant adoption:
- Initial Application
- Meetings with Social Worker
- Education Courses
- Preparing materials (financial statements, background checks, medical exams, etc.)
- Home Study
- Profile Key
- Create video and book for expectant families and become “active”
- Wait to be chosen
- Meet with expectant family
- Child is born
- Biological Family decides if they will go through with placement
- Child goes home with us after cleared from hospital and from state of residence
- 6-8 months of social worker visits and continuing paperwork
- Adoption is finalized!
Many of these steps are dependent upon social worker and expectant or birth family agreement.
John and I completed our initial application in September. We completed our courses and paperwork in March 2019, the same week Pennsylvania went into lockdown due to the pandemic. Due to the coronavirus, the agency wasn’t able to complete our Home Study until July 2019 or record our video until October. We were considered active in November 2019. After going active it can take between 3 weeks and two years to match with an expectant family.
Aren’t you worried about…?
Choosing to grow your family by adoption does not make you immune to any of the many health complications that infants and young children are subject to, regardless of their birth story. There are some factors related to prenatal care and genetics that we can express preferences for; however, this depends on the knowledge and openness of the agency and expectant family. We will share more about this in an upcoming blog post about the Profile Key.
Studies have shown that open adoption is best not only for the child, but the birth family and adoptive family. The time will come when a child naturally wants to know about their biological connections. Their sense of identity will be more secure if they know they can reach out to their first parents or other family members to learn about their roots and answer any questions. That security is priceless and certainly worth any inconveniences introducing new people into our circle may cause.
Adoption is costly and time consuming. Unfortunately when any earnest desire is accompanied by finances, people will find a way to increase profits by taking shortcuts. Adoption doesn’t escape this reality. May of these shortcuts include lacking honesty or manipulating a birth or expectant family. This is the primary reason we ultimately chose not to adopt internationally. An international adoption involves so many entities, money exchanges and moving parts, that we did not feel confident we could ensure everyone involved was acting with the best intentions. We interviewed many agencies before settling on one that we felt genuinely offered expectant families full options counseling and care before and after placement. We chose to work with Adoptions from the Heart. You can learn more about them here: https://afth.org/ .
Thank you for asking and showing your interest in something so dear to us!