Thursday, March 26, 2009

Adoption 102: FAQ and Resources

This post is another extract of a presentation I shared with our families over Thanksgiving dinner 2007. This part was designed to answer questions I thought they might have, and also to direct them to other places where they could learn more. (Please remember that the answers related to our specific situation; your mileage may vary.)

How will you be matched?
  • A birth mother will contact us, on her own or through the agency
  • We will collect information about each other, talk, meet, get counseling
  • We will determine if it’s a match
  • We will sign agreements and make plans for the birth and contact afterward
How long will it take?
  • Between 2 – 6 months to finish the “home study”
  • Then between 6 – 18 months, on average (the fewer restrictions we put on the match, the more quickly it is likely to go.)
Do you get to pick any of your child’s characteristics?
With our agency, we can put some parameters on which situation we are willing to consider.

- M. and I will consider a child of any background.
Here are the stats for babies placed through our agency in recent years:
  • 46% Caucasian
  • 11% Hispanic
  • 10% Hispanic/Caucasian
  • 7% African American/Caucasian
  • 6% African American
  • 5% Asian American
  • 3% Asian American/Caucasian. The remaining 12% had three or more ethnic and/or racial backgrounds.)
Genetics (physical and mental health problems) - Again, M. and I have said we'd consider just about any situation. The one that would scare us most is a significant family history of mental illness.

Gender - We will NOT have any choice here, and we really don't have a preference. In fact, if we were having our child the "old fashioned way," we would probably opt to be surprised by our child's gender at birth.

What will you know about your child?
It will depend on our relationship with the birthfamily.

How much contact will you have with your child’s birth parents?
This will also depend on our relationship with the birthfamily. We have become strong advocates for open adoption, and hope it will include regular contact including visit.

The average through our agency is about two visits per year, plus photos, etc.

What will it cost?
  • That's private
  • A lot
  • We'll get a $11K tax credit (regardless of type of adoption)
What are the next steps?
The Dreaded Homestudy:
  • Questionnaire and autobiographies
  • Medical records
  • Financial records
  • DMV records and finger printing
  • Book reports
  • Personal references
  • Interviews
  • Home inspection
  • “Dear Birth Mother” letter and web site
Completed in May 2008!

As we were considering our options, we found the following resources to be very helpful, so we encourage anyone who would like to learn about adoption (especially open adoption) to check them out too.

- IAC’s web site:

- Adoptive Families magazine:

- "Adoption for Dummies," by Tracy Barr and Katrina Carlisle
(surprisingly "smart" and comprehensive)

- "The Kid: What Happen When My Boyfriend and I Decided We Wanted to Get Pregnant," by Dan Savage
(this is a sometimes poignant, always funny story. M. and I read it to each other at bedtime over several weeks, and it really helped us get our heads - and hearts - around open adoption. I highly recommend it...if you can handle a bit of bawdy talk.)

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