Hi! I’m Joy and I’m writing about adoption for 31 days. Check out the beginning of this series HERE.
When I wrote about adopting through a private agency, I told you how to decide on an agency. But somehow, I forgot to tell you how the process went for us, so you could have an idea of what to expect.
Once you choose an agency, you will probably have similar steps to these:
-Fill out and submit an application along with an application fee. Expect to provide personal references, financial information, personal testimony, etc…
-Once your application is accepted, you will begin scheduling meetings/visits with a social worker. You’ll probably get a lot of paperwork to begin on. You’ll also start working on your background checks, fingerprints, etc…
-This is a good time to start fundraising efforts.
-I think we had three visits with our social worker. Most of these were spent doing interview type questions about marriage, parenting, birth mothers, adoption process, transracial adoption issues. Only one visit was spent on a home tour. Don’t worry about this, your house does not have to be spic and span. They are mostly checking for the number of bedrooms/bathrooms/closets and safety items like smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, guns locked, etc…
-Once we completed our home visits, piles of paperwork, and all drug tests, fingerprints, background checks, etc… there was nothing left to do on our part. It was all up to our social worker then. She took several weeks to write up our homestudy and get it approved by her superiors.
-When our home study was complete, we officially became a “waiting family”. This means that our profile could then be shown to potential birth mothers.
-This step is called WAIT, WAIT, WAIT, and WAIT SOME MORE.
-When the agency has a birth mother who has decided to work with them, she fills out a form about the type of family she desires for her child. (This includes what level of contact she would like with the adoptive family and child.) The agency looks at that form and sees what families they have that match those desires. Then they look at the families desires for the type of child they will accept. The families whose desires intersect those of the birth mother are contacted to see if they would like their profile shown to the birth mother. If the family says “yes”, then their profile will be shown. There may be 2 family profiles shown or 10, you don’t usually know. Sometimes, you don’t know when your profile will be shown…the next day, in a week or two. And then you don’t know how long until the birth mother will choose. So, it is another waiting game.
-The birth mother may want to meet or Skype with a few families before deciding. Or she may be able to choose pretty quickly.
-When the birth mother chooses your family, you are officially “matched”. You agree to not pursue any other birth mothers and she agrees not to pursue any other families. You pay a big chunk of money for the matching fee and the birth mother expenses (she is legally entitled to a certain amount).
-You may begin bonding with the birth mother or you may never meet her. It is up to her. She may want you there for the birth or she may not.
-This step is called WAIT SOME MORE until the baby is born. During this time, you will probably want to fund raise a little more. You will want to make your announcement! You will want to prepare your home and family for a new baby. Start picking baby names.
***The biggest fear at this point is that the birth mother will change her mind about adoption. I think this is a natural concern, but one that you need to surrender to Jesus because I have learned through our experience that there is no way to predict whether or not a birth mom will change her mind. It can happen at any time for any obscure reason. You can’t dwell on it and you just have to be willing to take that risk.***
-When the baby is born, sometimes the baby will leave the hospital with the adoptive family. Sometimes the baby will go to “interim care”. In GA, a birth mom has 10 days to change her mind after signing papers. That is a long time! So, some agencies have families that will take care of the baby in that interim period until the birth mother can no longer change her mind.
-When you take placement of the baby, another big chunk of money is due and the last chunk of fees is due around the time you finalize the adoption.
-Official adoption day is usually 30-90 days later.
Questions? Please ask in the comments. Or tell us how your process differed.