Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Adoption: The Process.

I recently posted on my Twitter/Facebook that I needed ideas of something to write about here on my blog. One of the suggestions was to write a bit about the actual process; costs, etc. I think some of the myths (along with the cost) of adoption is what scares a lot of people off. Folks who would otherwise consider adopting.

Firstly, adoption is not a Lifetime movie. No birth-mother is going to stalk your family a la "boiling a rabbit" in your kitchen. The most disappointing thing to me that I have learned while on this journey is the bad rap that birth-moms get! It is almost disgusting. As soon as you say you are adopting, or your child is adopted, folks automatically assume that the natural mother was strung out on crack or a 12-year rape victim. This is VERY rarely the case. Most of these women are responsible people making a life-altering decision. They need our support, not our assumptions.

Additionally, ask yourself: Why am I adopting?  Many people are led to adoption because of infertility issues.  Others because it is something you just felt called to do.  Some maybe it's because you had an adopted sibling or family member.  Who knows?  It doesn't really matter as long as the reason does not lead to unreasonable expectations or an attitude of deservedness.

The most important thing you can do before adopting is to educate yourself. Read some blogs. Visit some message forums. Read books. Do your research. Release yourself from the mindset that you are "rescuing" a child. No one, or no child, deserves to be your rescued victim. This thought only puts you above them and their natural family. Christ teaches us that we are all brothers and sisters in him. No one better than another. And chances are your adopted child probably would have been fine and loved with their natural parents. They are just choosing adoption as another option for them. Yes, some women are coerced. Some are drug addicts who maybe could not adequately care for their child. But more often than not; this is not the case.

Let me clarify that so far I am talking about DIA (Domestic Infant Adoption) now obviously if you are adopting internationally or from the foster care system things are very different. But since we did not do those types of adoptions I can only speak to DIA. (End disclaimer) :)

Secondly, choose a good, reputable, ethical agency. (If you are doing a private adoption and not through the state.) I have a friend who had a great list of questions to ask an agency you are considering. If I can find it I will post it here with her permission. Some of the ones I have asked are: What types of counseling do you offer? Do you provide interim care for the waiting period between when a mom/dad sign and when it is irrevocable? How many placements did you have last year? How many expectant (birth) parents did you counsel? Agencies should be (and this is hard to come by) encouraging mothers to parent before they make an adoption plan.  Adoption should be a last resort.  Not a business venture.  So if they have had fewer placements than birth families counseled that is a good thing.  Not every contact should lead to a placement.  That would just scream of coercion.  (Off soapbox.)

Lastly (in this post, anyway); there is the cost of DIA.  This is what scares most people away I think.  It is not cheap.  An agency should provide you up front with their list of fees.  Do not let the cost deter you, however. There is a Federal tax credit that is now up to around $12,000 that you can claim and recover those costs for your adoption.  You do have to pay the money up front but most agencies offer some sort of financing which you can then pay back with the tax credit.  There are some organizations which will give you an interest free loan that you can then pay back with the credit.  You can do fund-raising, you can hold a yard sale, you can take out a home equity loan, you can borrow from your rich Uncle Bob... just be creative.  If this is what God is calling you to do He will not let money stand in the way.

I look forward to your comments and questions.  This was written over a couple of days so I am sure I forgot something!  In a follow-up post I'll provide some links to resources that I have found that I really like.

Have a great day!


1 comment:

{ jamie's cottage } said...

Good post. And I was reading the previous one as well, & wrote about the weird wording recently myself (though some of our wording is different since we're adopting thru foster care).

Your son, by the way, is a handsome little guy! ♥