Because I have nothing to do these days but life, and mine is pretty lamesauce with all the work, work, working, I thought I’d take the time to answer a question about the actual process of adoption.
Where do we start? This question is my FAVORITE because it means people have gotten past the money or not enough room or different color or too many kids already or what will they think part of it and have moved onto the beginning of something so beautiful!!!! What an awesome blasted overwhelming task they have just signed up for. So hopefully the ABC’s Amber style may help them out. You other adoptive parents throw in some cents/sense if you would like. Here goes…
A-First you need to pick your adoption, how you’ll adopt, domestic newborn, foster care adoption, or international adoption. Like everything else in life there are pro’s and con’s to each of these, you just have to sit down, do the research and hammer them out.
B-Decide your details, for instance, domestic newborn adoption you can choose different programs for African-American only adoptions, for open adoptions, closed, internet pages and on and on and for foster care you can decide to adopt from just your state’s adoption exchange or the entire country, you can foster to adopt or just adopt out of foster care. If you picked international adoption then would you like to adopt a newborn or a waiting child, a sib group or 2 or more unrelated children. The reason it is important to decide these things right away is because pretty soon your research will turn into contracts and loving an agency or country or a director or an idea and then all of a sudden you’re in it and doing it and what you really want isn’t available to you anymore without serious disruption. You don’t want to pick an agency that only works with the adoption exchange in your state if at some point you want to look at the entire US foster care system. You don’t want to pick an agency that offers no discounts for second child adoption if what you really want is to adopt a second child. Some countries don’t allow the adoption of infants and some don’t allow unrelated child adoptions so again the details are important.
C-Now depending on what you’ve chosen as your way to adopt this next part is a little different, if you chose international adoption it’s now time to choose your country. There are requirements and a ton of other things to consider like cost and travel and process and timeline and children available before making this choice so be true to yourself and your family, go with your gut and your heart. If you decided on foster care adoption then you get to pick your agency, your state probably has the DHS and then a number of private agencies to pick from. Remember that some agencies do not place out-of-state kids so if you’re looking for that option check into that. For domestic newborn it’s also time to choose your agency, there are so so so so so many. A friend of mine told me that her and her husband called about 25 and went strictly off the phone interviews they conducted, another friend liked a website and a family reference for one agency the best so picked them. You’ll find your way, again just be true to yourself and what you’re feeling, this is hard so take your time and talk to as many people as you can.
Now if you chose international adoption and picked your country you are ready to pick your agency and homestudy agency. If you pick an adoption agency out of your state you will have to have a state agency complete your homestudy. Each agency only has a few country programs so keeping notes on your research and interviews is super helpful so you are not always scrambling to remember each agency and director or country coordinator.
No matter what avenue you’ve chosen remember that picking the agency is super important and you have to feel good about your choice or it’ll eat at you constantly. I have made some wrong agency choices and I paid with money and time and lost sleep. Still paying. Ask for references and ask them anything and everything, don’t hold back. Read blogs and do your homework. Make sure that your contact person from the agency is prompt, polite, informative and doesn’t avoid any questions, these are bad signs. Please understand that I am in no way claiming to be anything of an adoption expert I just want to answer that question for those people out there wondering what to do first.
Once you’ve picked your agency you will have a coach there with you during every step of the “paper chase” and referral and training and waiting parts of the process. The greatest part is that if you’ve chosen a good agency they won’t even get annoyed.
I hope you’re all having a great weekend, I have been at work for 80 hours this week so…I am going to go home, turn up the music, have myself a drink, (yes during the daylight hours) and dance myself into exhaustion, maybe later I’ll find a way to hang out with grown ups tonight.