How To Tackle the Adoption Process
Step One: Read everything imaginable on the internet. Google everything you can think of. If you are anything like me, you will become overwhelmed by all the negative stories and some good stories. You will learn all about the horrors of failed adoptions. You will hear the happy stories of international adoptions and open adoptions.
Step Two: Start talking to real life adoptive families. If you don’t know any directly, ask around. We have direct family in a different country who have adopted internationally so we have been able to learn from their experience. However, we really wanted to speak with a local family who has done a local open adoption. International closed adoptions are a lot different then open adoptions, and we wanted to better understand the all the details. We stumbled across a friend whose sibling has adopted. They offered to speak with us and after building up the nerve to phone them, they invited us over to talk. They were amazing and opened there home and hearts up to us. We learned so much from them, and I will forever be grateful for the information and comfort they gave us.
Step Three: Meet with an adoption agency. Meet with the people who truly know the process. Learn the actual process that you will have to go through – this will vary depending on the agency, your city, province, country, etc. Learn what you will have to do to even get on the official waiting list. How long will you have to wait once on the list? What type of decisions will you have to make – race, age of child, birth country, birth mothers drug and alcohol consumption, etc. What are the significant differences between international and domestic adoption? How much is adoption actually going to cost?
Step Four: Panic over everything you have learned. We became overwhelmed by all our fears and ultimately decided we needed to take a break from all of it. I assumed the break would include doing a bit more research and reading books. Instead it turned out I did not read the stack of books I planned to read, heck, I didn’t even read one. We didn’t speak about adoption in detail all that frequently. We didn’t obsess over our fear of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. We just didn’t go there. What we did do was focus on our decision to try one more time for a biological child – we spent our money and our effort getting a second opinion so that we could make an educated decision about trying one more time. Based on the preliminary diagnosis, we are more comfortable closing that door.
Step Five: Initiate the official adoption process. This is where we are now. We are meeting with the agency one more time to discuss in detail the international adoption options. We hope to learn about the process for an open infant adoption from the USA. Once we pick local or international we will have to attend a mandatory weekend seminar before we are allowed to do anything else. But, as I am always organizing things, we are officially on the list for January’s local adoption seminar and on the wait list for the December one. We are also considering taking the upcoming November International seminar which usually never fill up. So, we hope to make a decision one way or another right after we learn more about the USA route. We could be sitting in a seminar in a few weeks, or a few months. And once that is done, we get to jump right into all the official paperwork and processes.
Step Six: Official Application Process. I anticipate lots of paperwork, including our official application, medical checks, financial history, criminal and child welfare checks, etc. Ask friends/family to provide written references. There will also be the ever so important home studies and interviews with social workers. We are told this process typically takes 6 months.
Step Seven: Placement on official waiting list.
Step Eight: Wait.
Step Nine: Match with Birth Mother.
Step Ten: Become parents.
Step Eleven: Call our family complete, or start again at step five.
And because I love charts and graphs, here is my version of the adoption process. Simple, no. Worth it, I sure hope so!
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