Friday, November 15, 2013

For Prospective Adoptive Parents

Noah's Adoption Finalization | September 2012
Since adopting our son, family members, friends, and acquaintances have asked us lots of questions about the adoption process.  Most are simply curious (which is understandable), but a handful of people request information because they have an interest in adopting a child one day.

This post is meant for the latter group--the prospective adoptive parents. 

Before I continue on, though, here's my little disclaimer:  My husband and I adopted an infant here in the United States (in other words, it was a private domestic adoption).  Everything I write here will be based on that experience.  I know very little about adopting through the foster care system.  I know even less about international adoption.  And I am not an attorney, social worker, or adoption expert.   

I'm simply an adoptive mom who is passionate about the beauty of adoption. 

So, with all that said, let's talk about the process.

Chances are, if you're considering adopting, you've done some preliminary research.  But if not, here's where to start:

  • Read, Read, Read | There are many good books available about adoption.  I would highly recommend the book, You Can Adopt.  (I checked it out from our local library.)
  • Ponder & Share | Take some time to think about your views on adoption.  What are the pros and cons for you?  Then, talk with your significant other.  It's important that both of you are committed to adopting a child before you proceed.  (I prayed a lot, too, which helped me.) 
  • Talk to Adoptive Parents | You may think you don't know anyone who has adopted a child, but chances are you do.  Reach out to your colleagues at work, your friends at church, your social circle on Facebook, and share that you're interested in learning more about adoption.  It's likely you'll discover someone who has adopted and is willing to chat with you about their experience.
  • Choose an Adoption Path | In other words, are you interested in domestic adoption or international adoption?  Select the one that feels right for you and your family.   
  • Hire Experienced Professionals | You'll need to hire an attorney, agency or facilitator (or as was the case for us, a combination of these).  Start by obtaining referrals from family and friends and acquaintances.  Interview potential attorneys/social workers/facilitators by phone or in person.  Inquire about their years of experience and their expertise.  Request a breakdown of their fees.  Ask for a list of references. 
  • Start Your Home Study | Once you've retained an attorney or agency, you'll need to work on your home study.  The home study process involves many steps, including fingerprinting, a physical exam with your doctor, a detailed accounting of your finances, writing a short autobiography, choosing a guardian for your future child, sending out reference forms to friends and family, and being interviewed by a social worker.  Try not to focus on the length of the list; just take it step-by-step and eventually, you'll check off everything.
  • Create a Book About You/Dear Birth Mother Letter | In most cases, your attorney or agency will request that you create a short booklet or scrapbook about you and your partner (and any children you have).  This booklet will be shown to potential birth parents.  Initially, we put together a 6-page book on MixBook.  Later on, a friend of ours, who is a graphic designer, created additional books for us.  
  • Build a Website | I would highly recommend creating a website.  Why?  Because our son's birth mother found us that way!  We used Homestead to create our website, and it was fairly easy.  I've also heard good things about Wix.   
  • Link Up | Once you have a website, link it to Adoption Online or another adoption website.  While it costs money to link up, some attorneys will pay the fee to have your website listed.
  • Share Your Desire to Adopt With Family & Friends | Send out a mass email.  Post a link to your website on Facebook.  Write a blog post (here's the post I wrote).  Tweet about your wish to adopt a baby.  Hand out pass along cards  
Initially, I was not open to sharing our desire to adopt with anyone and everyone because I'm a very private person.  But as I thought more about it, I realized that it would only help to let people know about our adoption dreams.  

It is my hope that these suggestions will help you as you proceed on your adoption journey.  
If you have any questions about adoption or desire recommendations (keep in mind, I live in Northern California), please email me at:

I'll be back next Friday with another post on adoption. 

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