About six months ago, my husband and I started the adoption process. We have always wanted to grow our family and through a lot of trial and error, we think we have finally found the path forward which best fits who we are. But wow, there was so much we didnt know about the adoption process which is why we took our time doing our research on the entire process. I don’t want you to go into adoption not knowing what to expect either. So, here are a few things I wish I knew when we began the process.
Know Yourself & Communicate Well
Obviously, if you are considering adoption, you likely know why you want to go down this road. Sometimes it could be to help others or perhaps adoption is your path because of infertility. Aside from talking about why you want to grow your family, you will also need to be able to talk about yourself; all the way down to your earliest childhood memory!
Shocking right? This process certainly caught us off guard. In the first stages of the adoption process, you will need to complete a state-certified home study. This involves a licensed adoption investigator coming to chat with you (your spouse if you’re married and any children you already have in the home) about your relationships, your family, your morality, your goals, work/life balance, and all the ways you see yourself (and each other) as a parent. Be ready to talk about the moments that trigger painful memories as well as those which express the joy that come from warm memories.
Explore Your Resources, Path Options & Ask All Your Questions
As I said, we took a significant amount of time when we began this process. We looked into many forms of adoptions, from companies, agencies, consultancies, and foster care … you name it, we looked into it! We even had to start a spreadsheet because we could not keep track of everything.
For instance, you will find that there are endless differences from one agency to the next. Not a single one is the same so have your questions ready and be as thorough as possible. There are obvious questions you are going to ask, like “What are your fees?” but I thought I would share some some questions we didn’t think about considering when talking to various adoption agencies:
- Do you work with mothers nationwide?
- What are we expected to pay on the birth mothers behalf?
- Are legal fees included for the entire process, even post-birth, and ICPC costs? (The ICPC is the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children, the formal procedures for ensuring the safety and stability of placements of children across State lines.)
- Do your costs include legal costs and travel?
- What is your average placement time?
- How many children did you place in the last two years?
- Do you have any references we could chat with regard their experience with you?
- Are you a certified 501(c)3 business?
- Are there yearly renewal charges if we do not have a child placed in 12 months?
Pack Your Pocket Book
As I’m sure you gathered from the previous set of questions, this process can add up; and fast! Be sure to brace yourself for the impeccably high cost of this process. Domestic adoptions can run anywhere from $25,000-$50,000 depending on the agency and situation. That typically doesn’t include legal, travel or any expenses you are likely to incur during placement. But rest assured, there are ways to relieve a little bit of the high cost.
Fundraise, Fundraise, Fundraise!
This is something we focused on early in our process. Along with any grants you are awarded as any money you save, you are going to want to fundraise! Get creative with it. Lean on your community. You will be surprised how much love and support is already waiting for you. Here are a few things that we have done:
- Plan a large garage sale. Have everyone you know donate their items to your garage sale. You do the heavy lift, pick up the items and sell them. It’s a little work for them, maximum results for you.
- Sell adoption clothing online. We loved using Bonfire and had great success. This alone brought in over $2,000 for us!
- Open a donation page at GoFundMe. Sometimes people are going to want to just give and sometimes in amounts you would least expect! This is the perfect way to help people give to your family.
Give Yourself Time
You are going to go through a lot throughout the adoption process. For me, I needed to remind myself no matter what I was feeling, it was okay to feel it, and to sit with it for a while. Any concerns you have with the process are really only feeding the desire for you to to become the best parent you can.
Take the time you need to do this right … after all a little life is involved. And yours too!