There are lots and lots of different ways people adopt children, but the four that are the most common are:
1. Intra-family adoptions
Adoptions that occur within the same family. Step-parent adoptions would fall into this category, as would adoptions that happen by aunts and uncles or grandparents (often the case when a child is orphaned).
2. Foster care adoptions
Adoptions of children in state custody after a parent loses or surrenders parental rights
3. Independent or parent-placed adoptions
Adoptions that occur without assistance (or with minimal assistance) from an agency. The birth parent(s) and the adoptive parent(s), work through attorneys acting on their behalf.
4. Agency-placed adoptions
Adoptions, either international or domestic, that are arranged with the assistance of a third party who handles the advertising for and counseling of birth mothers.
Don and I are simultaneously working on both independent and agency-placed situations.
There’s something to be said for having the agency do all the legwork for us. It’s easier and our agency places more than 300 children a year so they have a pretty successful track record with a slightly lower than average wait time. But, it’s not cheap.
However, we’re exploring an independent adoption for a couple of reasons. One is that if the right situation presented itself, it could be a significantly shorter wait time. Since we’re pretty open to different races and cultures, don’t have a gender preference and are will to consider some minor substance issues, we fit into the category of folks who can have a successful independent adoption. That doesn’t generally happen, though … and independent adoptions generally take about the same amount of time unless you can really commit to aggressive advertising.
BUT, we’re pretty busy and we don’t have a lot of time to spend on the advertising and networking. We figure that at the point when the advertising will cost significant money, we’d be better off putting that money into an agency to find our birth mother.
Having said that, we decided that we would at least get the word out to our friends and family members on the chance that someone were to hear of a situation that might help us.
Before Christmas, I got an e-mail from Snapfish for 100 4 x 6 photo prints for $1 plus shipping. We had originally thought about making adoption business cards, but decided the 4 x 6 prints – especially at that price – were better.
Using Photoshop, we created the image below with our pertinent information and tucked them into our handmade Christmas cards.
I wrote a little note in each one that said something along the lines of this:
In 2012, we’re hoping to adopt a baby. If you hear of a situation that might be helpful to us, please share the enclosed card with our contact information. Thanks!
I also hand them out to people when it comes up in casual conversation. I’m sure I could be more aggressive about it, but I have not been for some reason.
Either way, the word is out. Only time will tell if it works, but we’ve had some inquiries from it. A co-worker mentioned a niece to me, but she’s largely out of communication with her family AND we think she found a successful match (yay!). Another co-worker told her daughter who told a social worker friend who knows two California families looking for an adoption match. No movement on either of those fronts, but that’s how it goes. Lots of interest, and maybe – maybe – one will turn into something.
So – if you know of a woman who is considering placing her child, consider us. We’re think we’re super great people and will try our best to be super great parents, too.