In this post, learn about the personal joys and challenges of the adoption process from a family who has lived it. Also, discover 7 helpful adoption tips to guide you as you decide whether to adopt and how to proceed.
The journey to starting the adoption process is very personal and unique to the individual family. Ours is no different.
Questions to Answer When Considering Adoption
There are so many decisions to be made, like foreign or domestic, open or closed, single child or sibling group, state or private. All of these factor into the equation.
How will my extended family feel about our decision to adopt? What about our biological child (children)? Have we considered interracial adoption? These are all questions that need to be considered when you start your adoption journey. I’m going to give it a go and let you into my family’s journey to adoption. Hang on!
The Long, Winding Road to Adoption (Our Personal Story)
Our journey began in 2008. We had wanted another child after the birth of our son in 2003, but knew that I could not safely carry another child due to the complications of preeclampsia.
We had lost a daughter to prematurity in 2002, and our son was born in 2003, 10 weeks early, due to the dreaded condition as well. So, we began our search for our child.
We had decided that we wanted to have a domestic adoption. Also, we were pretty sure we wanted a closed adoption (one in which no contact is made between the birth and adoptive parents).
Next decision: do we go with the state or a private agency? The state process is free of charge in Florida, except for the newborn track. A private agency may be cost-prohibitive. We began the necessary classes that would lead to a completed home study that both options would require.
At this point, we had decided to pursue both options. We filed the necessary paperwork with both the state and the private agency with which we had decided to go. Now began the waiting game.
Through the state, we could view different children and their profiles on a website. We could read about specific needs or interests that the child or children had. Through the private agency, we provided a family book all about us. This gave potential birth moms something to look through and eventually choose the family for their child.
In the fall of 2008, we put in an interest into a young sibling group of a 2 year old little girl and a 1 year old little boy. We went back and forth with the agency. In December, we found out we were 1 of 42 families interested in these children. Later, we discovered it was down to 2 families, and we were one of the 2. Then, the other family was chosen.
Our hearts broke. As with any child that you add to a family, we had already made plans in our heads as to what we were going to do with these new children. They, however, were not meant for us. The process continued with the private agency.
The Day Our Lives Changed
Then, the call that would change our lives came. Early one morning the following spring, the agency called. Our daughter had been born the Friday before.
She was healthy, but small. They asked if we would be open to a biracial little girl. There was no hesitation; our answer was YES! Our baby girl was born, and waiting for us.
We went and saw our baby that day. She was beautiful and we knew she was ours. Due to her being so small, they wanted to keep her one more night to see if she’d gain any more weight…she didn’t.
The next day we were called to come and get our daughter. We were now a family of four! God had blessed us with a daughter born to another family, but meant for us. God had answered our prayers.
We brought our baby girl home to a houseful of relatives waiting to meet her. About three months later, in July, we went before a judge as a family and added a little girl to our family forever. She was officially and legally our child!
7 Adoption Tips to Help You Through the Process
You may be thinking, “So, how do I start my own adoption journey?” Here are some important lessons I learned during our adoption process.
Adoption tip #1: Make sure you and your spouse are both on board and agree on to how to proceed.
This is a must before you even begin the process of adoption. Adoption itself can be a long and arduous trip, and if one spouse is not fully committed, or has differing ideas as to how to proceed (whether it be the gender, age, or racial makeup of the child), the process will be far more difficult than it already is.
Adoption tip #2: Begin adoption with much prayer and reflection upon your marriage.
A strong marriage is crucial to a successful adoption, whether you bring a child into your family through adoption or naturally. Many agencies require you to be married a certain number of years. Prayer will help bring you and your spouse together in ways you never thought possible.
Adoption Tip #3: Find out the local/state requirements to adopt.
We found that the requirements of the state were also necessary in a private adoption. Once you’ve contacted a local or state agency, they are able to point you in the right direction as far as paperwork and classes.
Adoption Tip #4: Research all of your options.
Decide if you want to stay domestic, go international, one child, or a sibling group. These are all questions that have to be answered in order to go on to the next step.
Adoption Tip #5: Once you’ve decided on your personal route to adoption, find out all of your options.
You need to be aware of all of the expenses before you settle with an agency. Something to consider with state adoptions is that they may have little to no cost. Private and international adoptions usually range in the thousands of dollars, and international requirements (such as staying a period of time in the child’s native country) may be necessary for adoptions outside of the United States.
Adoption Tip #6: Prepare your home study and family portfolio.
The home study will be comprised of many different things. The state or agency needs to get an overall picture of you as a possible family for a child.
The agency we went with not only needed the home study, but also a portfolio as well. This agency is birthparent-oriented, meaning whenever possible, the birthparent(s) choose the adoptive parents for their child.
When creating this special book, be sure to show all aspects of your family. Birthparents like to see the type of family and environment their child is going into. Show grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, dogs, cats, hobbies, vacations, church involvement, and anything else that might set you apart from the next family.
Adoption Tip #7: WAIT!
Yes, this is the hardest part. Once all the papers are completed, inspections done, and portfolios turned in, the waiting begins. This may be a matter of months or years depending on your agency or specifications.
The agency we went with averages 9 months to a year for placement. Our placement was in 9 months, and then everything happened within 24 hours! During this time, it’s still wise to keep more than one option open.
Sometimes God opens doors that you weren’t expecting. The wait will all be worth it when you bring home that special child. The child that is meant for you! Your child!
After following these steps and embarking on your own journey, have faith that the Lord will place the right child in your family.
Disappointment does happen, but don’t let it keep you down. Don’t lose heart in the process, but keep your eyes on the goal, bringing home that precious soul that will call you “mom” and “dad.”
Your child is out there. You, my friend, just have to be ready for the journey. It may be long or short, but it’s worth it.
Are you considering adoption or do you have an adoption story to tell? Please comment below and tell us!
Sarah Musgrove lives in Live Oak, Florida with her husband, Eric of almost 20 years, and two children Alex,15 and Abigail,9. She is a graduate of Faulkner and Harding Universities, a homeschool mom, and has taught Bible classes for nearly 30 years.