Anyone who has been through the adoption process knows that it is often just one “oy vey” moment after another. All of the decisions you have to make, the paperwork you have to fill out, the intrusive home study, the waiting, the disappointment, etc.
It is nothing at all like the process my friends who gave birth to their children experienced… except in one big way. Like the memories of labor, the painful memories of the adoption process faded so quickly after bringing my new family members home, that I was actually willing to go through it all a second time!
In Oh Joy, What a Family, I shared a brief history of how my family came to be, and how our numbers changed over time. What I didn’t talk much about was the process. It was long and hard… and ultimately worth every moment.
After many years of trying to start our family the “old-fashioned” way, and another couple of years tests and fertility treatments, we chose adoption. For us, it was always a positive choice. I know that many people struggle with the decision, and I cannot fault them. It can be difficult to imagine bringing a ‘stranger’ into your home and immediately feeling that they are 100% yours. But it happens!
We were lucky. We have several friends and family who have adopted. One of my favorites revolves around my and Rahn’s Las Vegas wedding:
Prior to the wedding, our friends who had been trying to adopt for years RSVPd that they would attend if they were still waiting for an adoption placement.
Unfortunately, they did not have a placement, so they traveled thousands of miles from their home to attend our wedding. The day before the wedding, they received a call from their adoption agency – a baby had been born that day, and the birth mother had just decided to place him for adoption. The agency had shown the birth mother our friends’ profile, and she wanted to meet them.
The most amazing part of the story is that the baby, their little boy, had been born in the same city as our wedding. They were already in town and able to go meet the birth mother right away. They attended our wedding, and took their son home from the hospital the next day.
In addition to that amazing story, I also have a close family member who is a birth father. His daughter was placed with an amazing family as a newborn. He is lucky enough to have an open adoption and a great relationship with his now-17-year-old daughter and her parents.
Adoption is a difficult process. My friends tell me that pregnancy is as well. I suppose the only difference is in the type of difficulty… and that a pregnancy has a fairly definitive time frame. 😀
Some things we did that made the process easier:
- We worked with an adoption consultant. Now, this is not for everyone – it does add an additional expense. Some folks I know who have worked with consultants felt it was unnecessary… and there are disreputable consultants out there. However, without a doubt, our adoption process was easier because we worked with Nicole Witt of The Adoption Consultancy.
- We did a lot of research. The adoption consultant helped us to understand a lot of what we needed to know (including the fact that different states have very different laws governing adoption). Knowledge definitely helped relieve some of the stress.
- We worked with a reputable adoption lawyer who knew her stuff. I will admit that I didn’t always like our attorney or her staff – they didn’t have the best “bedside” manner… but they weren’t there to be my friends, they were there to facilitate an adoption.
- We scanned all of the documents we had to submit to anyone (home study agency, adoption agency, etc.). In many cases, the same documents were requested over and over again (such as birth certificates, etc.). If you have them scanned in, you just find the file and hit Print to submit it to the next person. We also put them on a thumb drive when we traveled for our adoption.
Note: MAKE SURE YOUR FILES ARE PROTECTED. If you do decide to do this, keep in mind that these documents contain a lot of personal information – you do not want to do this unless you have very good security (possibly, including encryption) on any device on which you save the files.
Has your family grown through adoption? Are you going through the adoption process now, or do you know someone who is?
Disclaimer: All content in this article is for informational purposes only. The information provided above proved helpful to us in our adoption process. However, I am in no way recommending a proven strategy for a successful adoption. Should you choose to do any of the things mentioned in this article, you are accepting full responsibility for all cost and liability.