People are curious about Adoption, but it can be a tricky topic to navigate; I’m sure I’ve asked my fair share or rude or offensive questions to adoptive parents. There is some general understanding within the world of adoption, what are appropriate and inappropriate questions. But many people, especially those outside this process, do not know that. Which is why I want to talk about it, answer honestly, and offer what little I can to help others navigate or satisfy curiosity. There are some things I will share openly, and some points that I will hold tight for the safekeeping of our child’s heart and emotional protection.
I absolutely LOVE talking about children, adoption, OUR adoption, the process, the heart, EVERYTHING. So, THANK YOU for asking! It is a blessing to know people care. Since announcing our anticipated adoption, there are endless questions to answer, but here are a few of those most frequently asked:
Where are you adopting from?
Ours will be a domestic adoption, which means from within the United States. Our portfolio has been distributed to multiple different agencies around the states, so we don’t know which specific state the baby will be from.
Do you know the birthmother?
No, we do not know the birthmother yet.
Most domestic adoptions are birth mother selected. We created and sent out a portfolio overflowing with information about our life: a letter to her, letters about ourselves and our kids, pictures of our house, family, friends, activities, etc. When a birthmother is ready to select a family, she is usually shown 3 portfolios and decides out of those (unless none of them jump out at her and she requests more). We poured over it for weeks, but ultimately there is NO telling what will trigger a decision for her. One story I heard was the birthmother selecting a family based on the car in the background of one of the photographs in their portfolio; it was the car her dad drove when she was a child and that was what tugged on the heart-strings for her selection.
Can the birthmother change her mind?
Yes and No. In most states that we might adopt from the period to terminate parental rights is 48-72 hours. That means once the mother had decided to place the baby for adoption she has 2-3 days to change her mind. Does/could this happen? Yes. But after that time it is highly unlikely that the baby can be taken away. There are very few and extreme cases in which this happens. Mostly in the case where the birthfather wasn’t in the picture and his rights were never properly terminated.
After those hours, the parental rights will be terminated and we technically be foster parents for the first six months (for additional home study visits) and then we will move through the legal adoption process.
When will this all happen?
We literally have no idea. You’ve probably picked up from other posts that we could receive a call when the mother is 7 months pregnant and we would have time to get to know each other via phone and email before making any sort of trip OR when the mother is due tomorrow (or the baby was already born) and we will have to jump in the car and drive.
What will you do once you get there?
Honestly, I’m not even speculating on what will happen as it could be any number of scenarios and no case is exactly the same. All I know is that once we arrive and have the baby we are not able to leave that state until all the necessary paperwork is completed from their state and ours. It can usually take anywhere 1-3 weeks before getting the go ahead. Yes, unless we know someone in the area (unlikely), we will be spending a couple weeks in a hotel with three small children and zero normalcy. PRAY!
What will you know about this baby?
Throughout the home study process, we were asked dozens of questions about our “preferences.” So, our portfolio will be shown to birth mothers whom “fit” that description. There is room for discussion and communication on these preferences, but there is also room for inaccurate information from the birthmother in which case, very little can be fully known. In some senses, this is disconcerting; in others, it is similar to never knowing the health of a biological child before they make their glorious appearance!
Will the child know his “real” mom?
First, let me clear up what from what I hear in the adoption realm can be a very offensive word choice. What most refer to as the “real” mother should actually be called the birthmother. I would be referred to as the baby’s mother. Technically, the adoptive mother, but in the day to day scheme of things, I will be his REAL mother or just Mom :)
If one is wondering about the relationship between the child and his birthparents, that would beg the question on the label of the Adoption…
Will this be an open, semi-open, or closed Adoption?
Again, this is directed by the birthmother, to an extent. During the home study we were asked what type to which we would be open. Either way, we would most likely meet the birthmother; but it is really open for discussion and how much contact she is interested in having and what we’re comfortable with given specific circumstances!
Open Adoption is when they can talk, see each other, etc. with the consent of all parties, within given perimeters.
Semi-open Adoption (which I believe is most common nowadays), is when letters and pictures can be exchanged but through a third party (adoption agency). Primarily, it is the adoptive family sending updates to the birthmother for her to have the privilege of seeing her baby grow, knowing he/she being well taken care of, and that she made the “right” decision (can you imagine blessing a family with your child and then, if you were still interested, having no way to learn anything about him?)
Closed Adoption is just that, a closed relationship. No identifying information, contact, or updates are exchanged and if the child would like to pursue his birthparents that would up to him after the age of 18.
How much does it cost?
This question is asked often and in eager expectation of an exorbitant amount being shared. I do not have a problem talking about the cost of adoption (unfortunately it is a hugely bureaucratic process) especially if people are themselves genuinely interested in adopting. However, many times I feel like sharing any specific amount is issuing an argument for why people don’t or “can’t.” It costs a fair amount of money (but so did having my biological children in the hospital and no one asks me how much that cost) but there are incredible resources to help raise funds so it is not out of reach or entirely out of pocket. There is SO much more to say here, we’ll move on for now!
Please, Please, Please ask any questions you have via the comments, email, or Facebook. It is a treat to hear your thoughts and I’ll do my best to answer any questions!