Lately my soul has been shouting for me to listen regarding adoption.
So we’re pregnant with our second child (yay) and he will be almost exactly one year younger than Kensington. But now that we know we have the blessing of one girl and one boy of our own, I feel that it is incredibly important to me that we explore adoption for growing our family.
I am very lucky that my company has a TON of adoption resources so as I start my journey of exploration I wanted to document it here in case there are other families or single parents out there thinking they want to adopt but not knowing where to start.
First, let me outline the high level process as I have come to know over the last week (or so).
- Find an agency. This is an incredibly personal process so I won’t try to tell you how to find the right one for you, but there are many differentiators. There are Domestic, international, Local vs. Not, Faith based, LGBTQ, etc. The advice I have been given is to ensure that you speak to people who have one through the process with the agency you are considering (no matter how good your “vibe” is) and to ask them about their during & post adoption support for PARENTS. Everyone wants to support the child, but it is equally challenging for parents and you will need resources. Keep this in mind.
- Decide a country – You’re probably doing this at the same time as #1 as you’ll want to ensure your agency does adoptions where you are considering. There are multiple pros and cons to each country include age requirements, visitation requirements, cost, timelines, ages of children, etc. For example we cannot adopt from haiti because BOTH parents have to be over 30.
- Start filling out paperwork. There will be lots Adoption is called a “paperwork pregnancy” so get excited for that.
- Orientation – this takes place in your home. If your agency facilitates the Home Study they may do these together or as 2 separate visits. Basically they need to determine if your home is safe for kiddos and you meet their requirements. Be prepared for this visit! it can make or break the process.
- Certification – you have to get certified to adopt domestically or internationally. Some are just courses, and if you’re adopting form foster care you’ll actually get double certified. Put that on your resume.
- More paperwork…and waiting…
- Profile Review – you’ll be sent your “kids” file. It may be a video or a write up. Advice: you don’t HAVE to choose the first profile presented to you. If you think they are a perfect fit – wonderful, if not don’t be afraid to ask for more. It is not solely your responsibility to save every child. Find the right fit.
- Travel – in many cases you will have to travel to get your child whether it is domestic or international. Obviously budget more for international travel.
- Finalization – Kid is home. You’re home. Life is great. and terrible. #parenting
- 6 month/1 year wellness visit. Someone will come to your home again to check in. Make sure everyone is doing ok.
A few things to keep in mind. BE A REALIST. If you are adopting internationally – there will most likely be a language barrier. Either learn the language, download a translator app, find a local translator, or judge prepare mentally. Also, you are adopting a child. That child has most likely been abused, lived in harsh conditions, experienced things no kid should have to, and perhaps most importantly lived without constant attention and love. EVERYTHING after you get them home will be a shock and an adjustment. Read books. Study up. Read horror stories. whatever it takes to make you as ready as possible.
Then you still won’t be ready – but you tried.
This is about what I have so far. We are currently looking internationally – almost entirely because I am terrified of the “mom showed up 15 years later and wants their baby back” horror story. Right now we are thinking the Ukraine or China but we are open to any Eastern Europe or Asian countries. We’re still working to find the right fit but know we want a child between the ages of 1-5 and with no serious medical conditions (keep in mind many international countries will say a child has disabilities when they have a cleft lip or a heart murmur. Things I don’t consider a true disability.)
As we being interviewing agencies I will post the most helpful questions and some of the agencies we liked/didn’t like and why. In the interim here are the books were reading (recommended by my office):