People are naturally curious and like to ask questions. Therefore, since we understand that most people have never been exposed to the complexities of the adoption process, we have compiled a list of questions which we are frequently asked, along with our attempt at answering them based on our own research and experience.
How long does it take to adopt?
This is a very common question, yet the answer to this question is quite complicated. Depending on the type of adoption you select and how many specific requirements you indicate, will vary the time frame for a placement. This is the part of the process that can take the longest amount of time. Completing the paperwork, application, and home study can be done fairly quickly compared to the wait time for a match and placement. Our agency told us it could take 6-12 months for a newborn placement and if you opt for an international adoption, it could take 1-2 years.
Can you pick gender?
Yes, but it can lengthen your wait time and some birth mothers don’t like that since they feel as though either gender is a blessing. Additionally the agency does not perform ultrasounds to determine gender, therefore you may just have to wait until a baby of your preferred gender becomes available.
How old is the baby when you get placed?
If you choose private domestic adoption, in many cases you can pick up the newborn from the hospital (2-3 days old). If you choose foster to adopt, the children are typically toddler age or older. With international adoption, the babies can typically be 6 months or older.
Who chooses the adoptive parents?
In the old days, the adoption agency would match the adoptive parents and the baby based on the home study assessment and interview, however most private agencies today, provide semi-open or open adoption which gives the birth mother more rights and gives her the final decision in choosing the adoptive family. Typically a few (3 or 4) families are presented to the birth mother and the profile books for those families are shown to her. She will then make her decision based on these items and sometimes an initial meeting with the prospective parents. Before the mother is shown any potential parents, the adoptive parents have the option to show their profile book once they review the birth mother’s profile and medical history.
Can you choose where to adopt from?
Yes, you can adopt from any country that allows adoption and abides by the Hague Convention or from an orphanage recognized by the US. Otherwise our government is rightfully weary of child trafficking. In the US, you can adopt from any state, not just your home state. We decided to adopt out of state since the wait times in our state were much longer and we wanted to adopt from a state that terminated the birth mother’s rights very quickly, in order to lessen the risk of a disruption. You can also work with agencies that place children from multiple states, in which case your child could come from any number of states that the agency works with. The thing to keep in mind is that every state has different adoption laws and requirements and therefore you will need to comply with the laws of both the adoptive state and your home state, or whichever law is more strict.
When do you get matched with a child?
Typically the agency will match you when the birthmother is around 7 months pregnant. Once the baby is born, you can often go to the hospital to meet the child for the first time and bring them home. However, sometimes a birthmother will decide in the hospital after the birth to place her child up for adoption in which case, the adoptive parents must go immediately to the hospital to pick up their child. So it’s typically best to be somewhat prepared mentally/financially for the child to come home at any moment. Some people recommend not to put together a nursery though, since it could become a constant reminder of the wait and cause anxiety. You should though consider buying a few items like diapers, sheets, and non gender clothes to be ready for the call. Plus, you will be pleasantly surprised to find that your friends and family will definitely help you gather things if the baby comes as a surprise. Also, you can always buy items for your child once you get there. The only thing you will be required to have to leave the hospital is a car seat. Don’t buy formula though, since you may want wait and use the same formula the hospital was giving the baby.
What about your work?
Since adoption is unlike a typical pregnancy, with regards to timing, and the placement could basically happen at any moment, your office should be notified, so that they are aware that you may suddenly need to leave. They should be flexible with your schedule. It is also important to speak to your human resources department and notify them that you will need to add a baby to your healthcare plan as soon as the baby is under your custody. Also take inventory of your paid time off and sick time. If your office does not provide maternity or paternity leave and you are adopting out of state or international, you will need to take time off to wait for state or national clearances as well as travel time.