First..CONGRATULATIONS! Adoption is such an amazingly beautiful path in life and my journey to adoption expanded my life’s horizon in more ways than I ever thought possible. Congratulations to you and all the very best wishes on your journey.
I remember when I first started the ‘internet research’ at the very beginning. I very quickly became overwhelmed with all the different internet jargon, abbreviations, types of agencies, adoption laws, etc. Too much too fast and I just wished I knew someone who could spell it out just a little bit clearer. Well.. now that I have had the chance to make mistakes through our journey – and believe me we have… I thought why not pay it forward and put together the information I’ve learned. It may just help others out too. So here it goes:
Disclaimer: I am not a licensed professional, nor a licensed adoption planner – just an adoptive mom sharing her journey. Please make decisions as they suit your individual family.
Step 1: Discuss your Adoption Path.
Adoption can look so different for every family and every child. Are you looking to adopt an older child? Are you looking to adopt a newborn? Girl or boy? Do you have any other preferences that come to mind? Domestic adoption or International? Jot these things down as they will become very important to selecting the right avenue for adoption.
Step 2: Searching for the right Avenue.
There are a few various avenues for adoption. Our adoption journey was Domestic – which is where my strong suit lies. When it comes to Domestic Adoption, these are the major 5 avenues that come to mind and a brief explanation of what each one is:
Consultants – Consultants are independent business entities that are in the business of consulting with prospective adoptive parents to help them get the word out, profiles made etc. They can often connect you to various agencies and can on occasion help maximize your outreach/footprint. Consultants primarily focus on the prospective adoption parents providing a guided process but do not handle birth parent(s) support nor the legal side of adoption finalization. You will likely need a separate adoption attorney.
Facilitators – An Adoption Facilitator is an independent business entity that is in the business of matching prospective adoptive parent(s) with birth parent(s) who have decided to place their child for adoption. Facilitators often work with birth parent(s) directly and provide additional support services for the birth parent(s) during and sometimes after the adoption. They “facilitate” the connection but do not handle the legal side of adoption finalization. You will likely need a separate adoption attorney. You can see a registry of facilitators here: www.childsworld.ca.gov/PG1701.htm
Licensed Agencies – Agencies are licensed by the state where they operate, usually by a state Department of Health & Human Services. They are licensed to carry out both matching and the legal side of the adoption finalization. You may or may not get the individual support for yourself or the birth parent(s) depending on the agency.
Foster to Adopt – “Children placed in foster care are coming from a crisis situation and one in which the birth parents are not choosing a placement. They have been removed by the government from the parents’ home for reasons that include abuse, neglect by a parent or a death of a parent. Some of these children have never experienced a stable, loving and secure family life.”- http://www.familybuilding.com/adoption/foster-parent-adoption/
Independent Adoption– “Private (or independent) adoption is a procedure in which the birth parents select the adoptive parents and place the child directly with them. Custody is transferred directly between the parents, rather than through an agency.” Most law offices for adoption attorneys can execute independent adoptions. https://www.pactadopt.org/adoptive/services/placement/independent.html
As you can see there are many things to consider. Check our my other posts about our journey to follow along with what we avenues we took!
Take some time to think about these various options and then visit my posts about budgeting for your adoption and what to expect financially when getting started!
As our adoption journey continues – I will provide a detailed break down of what our costs looked like too!