I'm sure many of you who haven't been able to talk to me about our adoption have some questions. So, I thought I would share with the you the answers of the most common questions I am asked when I tell people that we're adopting. So here goes - our adoption FAQ's:
1. Where are you adopting from?
We are adopting domestically and most like here from Houston. Our agency is licensed in the state of TX.
2. Why did we choose to adopt?
I have a chronic illness called lupus, which is an autoimmune disease. It's possible for women with Lupus to have healthy and successful pregnancies, but all lupus pregnancies are still considered high risk. Doctors generally recommend that your lupus be in full remission before you consider getting pregnant. For the past few years, we've been waiting for that to happen, but my lupus has remained mildly active. On the outside, I look fine, but I do occasionally experience symptoms that indicate my lupus is not in the best shape it could be in. On top of that, if I were pregnant, I would need to switch off some of the medications that I am currently taking. We tried doing it last year, but the new "pregnancy-safe" drugs I tried were not able to manage my lupus as well. So, after years of waiting and praying, we have decided to move forward with adoption and save everyone (including ourselves) the stress and worry of risking my health in pregnancy.
As Christians, we also believe that adoption is truly reflective of the love God has for us when He adopts us as His own children. In the bible, James 1:27 says, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world". While our baby may not be a true orphan, s/he is still separated from her birthparents because they are unable to care for her.
3. How did we pick our agency?
Through a resource guide provided by Legacy685 and a friend who had done some similar research, I found a list of agencies families in the ministry have used before. While the ministry does not "recommend" any agencies, they are happy to help provide a list for you to look into. I just went down the lists and called a whole bunch of agencies, in and out of state. We chose our agency, AIM, for various reasons. 1. It was located in Houston, so we wouldn't have to travel for orientations and trainings. 2. The agency is Christian, so it is pretty aligned with our beliefs. 3. (Probably the most important reason) Their predicted wait time was 9-12 months, which was the shortest out of all the agencies I called. This is because they only choose to work with a small number of adoptive families at a time so the wait time is shorter since the waiting pool is smaller.
4. How old will the child be?
We will be adopting a newborn baby.
5. How does that work?
We create a photobook and give it to the agency. Potential birthparents the agency is working with will view our photobook based on whether or not they fit the profile we specify. The birthparents then select the adoptive parents and can meet with them if they choose in an open adoption. The adoptive parents usually receive the baby a few days after birth.
6. Is it final when the birthparents make their selection?
No, the birthparents have until 48 hours after their baby is born to change their minds. At 48 hours after birth, the birthparents either take the baby themselves or relinquish their parental rights. The birthparents must wait until 48 hours after the baby is born to relinquish their rights to ensure that they are mentally coherent and no longer suffering from side effects of medications (mainly for the birthmother) when they sign. After they relinquish their rights, they cannot get the baby back unless they can prove that they were coerced to sign.
7. Can you pick a boy or girl?
No, our agency does not allow us to choose the gender of the baby. You don't in real life, so it's pretty fair. Also, if the birthmother does not find out the gender of the baby, it would be a hassle to pick different families for each gender.
8. Can you pick the ethnicity of the child?
Yes, you can specify which ethnicities you are ok with and then the agency will show your books to mothers that match your specifications.
9. Will the adoption be open?
Yes, most likely. It really depends most on what the birthparents want. Our agency promotes open adoptions, but they do do closed ones if the birthparents request that. In a closed adoption, neither party shares any information. In an open adoption, there are different types of openness. A semi-open relationship is where contact is made through the agency. You share first names, but not any more identifying information. The agency acts as an intermediary and is responsible for delivering letters and pictures. In a full open relationship, you share information and can contact each other directly. Very open relationships may include face to face visits.
10. Isn't it scary to do an open adoption?
Initially, I thought so, but after much reading and training from the agency, we've learned that it's actually beneficial to the healing of the birthparents and the child to know more information about each other. The child will always wonder about where they came from, and having that information satisfies that need. Birthparents usually care a great deal about their baby - that's why they chose to carry the baby until birth. Having information reassures them that they made the best choice for their child. It's common misconception that birthparents will want to get their baby back at some point. Really they want what's best for the child so disrupting and upsetting the child's life is the least thing they want to do. We have heard that good relationships with birthparents usually end up where birthparents are like extended family members that are remotely part of the child's life.
So there you have it. I hope you found this helpful. If you have any questions, feel free to email me at jslikdesigns (at) blogspot (dot) com. I'm always more than happy to share more about adoption and our process!