A lot of people have asked me for an update on how the adoption is going. I feel bad, because I really haven’t done a good job of keeping everyone informed like I really need to. Thank you for being interested. Thank you for asking!
I suppose the reason why we’ve been a little quiet on the adoption front is because we don’t really have much to update you on. So, I thought I’d take a little moment to explain what that means. I realize that not a lot of people know what the process to adopt is. So, I wanna take you through where we have been and where we are hopefully headed. An adoption journey timeline, if you will.
First, we had to decide we were going to pursue adoption. This was a LONG process. We always knew we were interested in adopting someday. We both have family members who have adopted, so it’s actually something we talked about before we were married. But, it was still a LONG process to figure out the timing. After dealing with the ups and downs of infertility for nearly six years, we decided to pursue adoption.
The next step was applying to adopt. I called Millcreek Counseling & Adoption Services and we filled out an application. After submitting the application, they set up an interview with a social worker. She came to our home to interview us and talk about the reasons we wanted to adopt.
The next step was the home study. Home studies are the legal document that certifies you to adopt. We are pursuing a domestic private adoption. This means we can adopt in the USA, and we are not adopting via foster care. International and foster care adoptions have a completely different process. A home study had a few parts: a long 11-page questionnaire about us, our home, our finances, our work history, our health, our past mental and physical health. Any traumas in our past and how they were dealt with, our family dynamics growing up, our relationship dynamics, how we plan to parent and why. It goes on and on. Our social worker probably knows more about us than our closest friends. We also had to get health exams, letters of support, background checks.
Once we turned in all our paperwork, our social worker read it and returned to our home for interviews and a home inspection. She made sure our home was safe and an acceptable environment to raise a child. She also spent a good couple hours interviewing us about our responses to our questions. When all of that was done, we waited for our home study document.
We received our home study approval — meaning we can legally adopt — in January of last year while we were at a 10-hour adoption training. Training hours are not required in all states, but it was recommended to us because it makes you more prepared and makes it easier to adopt from another state. We would have done it anyway, because there is so much to learn! It’s really important to hear the perspectives of birth parents and adoptees from these trainings.
The first few steps are really exciting, because it feels like everything moves quickly, and you’re reaching all these milestones! Now we are in the Waiting-to-be-Matched phase. I think there’s a lot of confusion about what this phase means. And it looks different for everyone. We are trying to adopt without an agency. Agencies are extremely expensive. The difference between going through an agency and doing it privately can be a $30,000 to $35,000 difference. Going through a lawyer can be much less expensive.
What this means is that we have to find the match ourselves through our network of people. We have to “market” ourselves and get our names out there for expectant parents to see. We are doing this through our website, Facebook, word of mouth and Instagram. We had a profile up on adoption.com but ended up removing it. This was a huge leap of faith for us, because adoption.com is a heavily visited website. We had ethical problems with them and didn’t feel right giving several hundred dollars to them every month.
I think a lot of people think about agency adoption when they hear about matches — that there is somebody working to match you to an expectant parent. That’s not the case with us and is actually not often the case in agencies either. Expectant parents get to choose who to place their baby with — as it should be. So when we say we are waiting to be matched, we mean that we are waiting for somebody to choose us. This is a very sensitive time. There are a lot of things that are kept private out of respect for those expectant parents making decisions for their baby. This step of the process has been slow. And sometimes kind of disheartening. Many people stay in this step of the process for years.
The next step is being matched. Once we have a match, we will begin to work with a lawyer who will help with paperwork. Being matched means the expectant mama has chosen you and spoken with you and you’ve both agreed that she will place her baby with you. This can happen at any stage of the pregnancy or even after the baby is born. Many people are matched one day and bring home a baby a few days later. Others have many months of getting to know the expectant mom before the baby is born. It’s important to note that being matched is not a legal agreement. Mothers can choose to parent their child — as it should be. Utah has a two day waiting period before a mom can sign her papers relinquishing her rights. That’s also as it should be.
That’s the next step. Mamas (and in some states, as it should be, fathers) relinquish their rights and become birth mamas/papas. She places the baby with you.
6 month’s later, the adoption is finalized with a judge and you become legal parents.
I think the process is a lot like air travel. There is a lot of hurry up and wait. A lot of rushing and a lot of sitting around.
There are things we need to be doing more of right now — like posting and sharing. We also need to find another, more ethical, site to post our profile. We are also considering going with an agency, because we are completely bad at marketing ourselves and talking about ourselves. But the cost is significant and prohibitive. There are a lot of unknowns.
Home studies last for one year. Ours needs to be renewed. Plus, we’ve since bought a home and will need a new home visit. We have taken the year so far to step back and explore all our options. We are still in this phase. That’s one of the worst things about this growing our family stuff — the time. Everything takes so much time. Every month that slips by feels like an eternity and that we are running out of time.
I’m so grateful that people are interested in our journey and for the love and support we’ve gotten from our network. We have good people in our lives. Please keep asking about us — even though we probably won’t have updates. It helps us feel like we are still here, living this life alongside you.
Photo Description: Jeff and I have a goal to bake at least 52 times this year. We’re learning a new skill!