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!

20141110 - How To Tackle The Adoption Process

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46 Comments on “How To Tackle the Adoption Process

  1. Aw, I love how panic on your chart is pretty big, but have a family is even bigger. Love always wins! I think it will 100% be worth it, but man it does seem overwhelming. Every time I even begin to research adoption on the internet I go straight to number 4 panic mode. I’m really looking forward to reading more about how the process is going for you. It’s so exciting that you are now officially kicking things off. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that all goes smoothly and quicker than anticipated!


    • Yup, number 4 caused us to stop all things adoption for a number of moths – we just couldn’t see through the forest of fears and complexities of the process. Somehow, now that we both realize it is our best/only viable option, the fears seem a little more manageable. They can still be incredibly overwhelming at times, and I suspect I will have many more panic moments, but at least for today I think the potential benefits of adoption outweigh the fears.


  2. It’s never easy is it? I love that you have so much of it written down in steps, may it go as planned.
    There is a lady, Rain, whose blog I follow that has 1 open adoption and a 2nd potential adoption happening now. I think she deals with the whole process beautifully and selfishlessly. If you haven’t ran across her, she can be found at:


    • I am very tied into the RPL/IF world, but definitely feel that I need to expand my horizons on the adoption front. Thanks for sharing the link – I’ve spent a bunch of time reading her blog this morning!
      Oh, and if there is one thing I have been told about adoption, it is that it will not go as planned! I think I can handle just about any unexpected bumps/curves on the route to adoption – except a failed adoption. But, I’m trying to keep that fear at arms length because that is so far away at the moment.


    • It is such an overwhelming process, and the panic for us has been palpable at times. Now, I’m working very hard to keep the panic/fears in check with reality.
      Wishing you the best in your research, and looking forward to learning from you! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Love the chart. I would add that if you aren’t matching with a birth parent, then the matching with the child and that process would be a great alternative. 🙂


    • Thanks for sharing such a great point! As we are looking at infant open adoption, I tailored the chart towards that circumstance, but it could easily be manipulated to show process to be matched with a child directly. 🙂


  4. Love the graphic! We skipped Step 1 and 4, but only because we’ve always known we wanted to adopt at some point. We are waiting to hear from the adoption agency on when the lottery date is for January and how many families they get to pick. Very, very anxious to get started! I’m glad that we will be going through the process at the same time so I have someone to commiserate with! 🙂


    • It will be so awesome to go through the process at the same time – I am sure we will have a unique perspective and will be able to learn so much from one and other! And, I suspect we will be going through the USA, so we will even have a few more similarities to discuss! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Your chart is fabulous. I am so excited that you guys are moving forward with this. I hope things really come together for you!


  6. You have an amazing talent for representing info. visually. Love it. You’re at a very exciting stage in the process. Look forward to following this journey.


    • Ha! Funny that you’ve noticed this about me. I really do love data, statistics, and information. And, given my professional background, I’m used to finding ways to present it to varying audiences. 🙂
      Here’s to hoping the process goes as smoothly as I presented it. Somehow I suspect it will not be this straight forward, but I’m not going to worry about that right now.


  7. I love this. I’ve been dipping my toes in this adoption thing recently and I hope you share your experiences! I really value what I can learn from my blogger community! None of this is easy but I feel like (watching from the outside in) you have handled it well and thoughtfully! I can’t wait to watch this all unfold! XO


    • I will absolutely share our experiences and process. It could be really interesting to re-do this chart once we have actually made it through the adoption process to see what it turns out to be in reality.
      And as always, thank you for your encouragement! 🙂


  8. It seems so deceivingly simple when you chart it and list it like this! I am so glad you are getting more information and really doing your research on this. Your child is out there, I just know it, and you are doing everything right! Looking forward to reading more about this. 🙂


    • Charts really help me see things more clearly, and I’m glad you found it simple rather then convoluted.
      Thank you for your kind words of encouragement! I sure do appreciate them 🙂


  9. I think you have to be a truly special person to adopt. To welcome a child into your home and hearts regardless of their start in life. The world needs more people like you x


  10. I’m so happy to see you digging into this and laying it out for yourself and others. I’m wishing you so much peace, patience and success on this leg of your journey.


  11. I LOVE YOUR BLOG! I was just telling my husband how well you explain the process of events that you are going to begin. This was broke down amazingly and I wish you both the best of luck. I have an old co-worker who has done closed international and one of my close friends is doing closed domestic but if I heard of anyone that can give you any insight I will let you know. Good Luck and Congrats!!


  12. I just love the chart! Been thinking about you! I’ve been meaning to comment all week and have just been so busy! I’m planning to send you a little something. I’ve ordered it twice and for some reason it hasn’t arrived yet, but just wanted to give you a heads up that I will be sending you something once I get it and can get through the holiday craziness at the post office 🙂


    • Thanks so much for thinking of me. You don’t need to send me anything, it’s just enough having you on my side and supporting us through all of this. Thank you! 🙂
      I used to worry when I didn’t see you comment anywhere for a few days, now I’ve just decided that everything is going so well that you are happily busy! 🙂


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