Optimistic and I never felt the big pull to adopt outside the U.S.
For about 6 months I researched different ways to adopt domestically.
Here is a short list of what we seriously considered and the pros and cons I see in each.
1. Fostering to Adopt
This is typically one of the most
inexpensive ways to adopt.
Each state has it’s own qualifications
for a prospective family
so you’ll be guided through the process but
many times there’s parenting classes,
visits from a social worker and many papers to fill out.
If you are open to adopting older children
(please consider it!!),
sadly there are many who need a loving home
from the foster system.
This avenue can be an emotional rollercoaster;
sometimes the state supplements the living expenses for the child.
Another stipulation is that the child may not
leave the state until the adoption is finalized.
2. Private Adoption Lawyer
Adopting through a private lawyer who
specializes in adoption has a lot of advantages.
You will always need to use a lawyer
to complete stateside adoptions.
Many times in this route you are cutting out
the non-essentials like a coordinator
who helps facilitate conversation and smooths any issues
between the birth and adoptive families.
You will need to stay up with all the logistics
with the home study, lawyers and birthfamily.
Because you are removing any
from the adoption journey,
you’ll have a lot clearer communications for all parties
(and in our personal experience, less expense).
The flipside is that you won’t have any paid support
in the event you wait a long time
and are looking for some encouragement
or if you have questions that don’t have to do with legalese.
Finding a good adoption lawyer is important
in having a smooth adoption.
*Tip: Do as much of the business
with the paralegal
as the hourly charge is significantly less.
3. Birthmother Facilitator
This option is similar to an adoption lawyer
but with extra perks (and typically extra expense).
Facilitators are basically coordinators who
help in various ways to promote your adoption,
ease communication between the parties
and provide your information to birthmothers.
Having this third party involved in the adoption can help if tensions rise
or families feel they need extra care.
4. Adoption Placement Agency
A well-known way to adopt is through an agency.
While there are some agencies that are very similar to facilitators,
I am highlighting the agencies that maintain more
of a presence during and even after adoption.
These agencies help shield adoptive families
from much of the emotional roller coaster.
Some agencies maintain the right to choose
the adoptive family for the child.
If this is the case, many times the families are not
notified of the baby’s birth until after the waiting period is over.
(This waiting period is when the birthmother can still legally take the baby back.)
Some agencies have stipulations where you must send annual reports
to them so the birthmother has an opportunity to stay in touch.
This is a “safe” option for adoption as many times
the agency guarantees a baby though it may be years.
5. Personal Relationship Adoption
Finally this unique option is a possibility
though not very likely.
When someone you know asks you to adopt the baby,
all you need to do is legalize the adoption
thus the expenses are significantly less.
I know of grandparents who legally adopted
their granddaughter and raised her.
In the past we have also been approached
about adopting a friend’s relative’s baby.
When I noted in an earlier post
about letting the word out about your hopes to adopt,
I was thinking of this type of situation
when it may be a local acquaintance who is the birthmother.
I know that was a quick breakdown of information.
Hopefully it encourages you that adoption
doesn’t have to be scary or overwhelming.
Just take a little bit at a time!