Wednesday, May 2, 2012

So You Want to Adopt?

I'm so thrilled to have my friend, Mandy Campbell, sharing on my blog today. When Keith and I first began thinking about adoption, she was one of the first people I called. Her advice and support were invaluable. I asked her to write a post about adoption because several people have asked me to explain the process, and she knows far more about it than I. So...if you're wanting to adopt someday, I hope you'll take time to read this post. Without further ado, here's Mandy:

One of the questions I get the most when it comes to being an adoptive mother is this: "Where do we start now that we are ready to adopt?" The first step to any adoption is to do your research! There are several types of adoption from open, closed, to semi-open. Then there are several ways you go about adopting:  doing a private adoption, using an agency, or adopting through foster care.

First let’s break down the types of adoption and remember that an adoption and the limits within each adoption are up to the adoptive parents and birthparents. Our adoption, for example, is a closed adoption due to the birthparent's request. Closed Adoption means we have no contact with our daughter’s birthparents.  A Semi-Open Adoption can mean different limits, but to most it means letters, pictures and maybe even emails every 6 months and then yearly after the child turns one. An Open Adoption means that your child will see his or her birthparents and have visits with them at the limits of what is comfortable for you and your child’s birthparents. I have several friends that have very open adoptions that includes texting, emailing, and blogging with the birthparents. It is very important for the hopeful adoptive parents to know what limits they are comfortable with before going into an adoption. One thing as an adoption advocate that really fuels my fire is when adoptive parents promise the moon to birthparents and then don’t keep their word. Please realize how important it is that you have an honest relationship from the beginning of your adoption.

When it comes down to how you want to adopt a child, you have several options. Our adoption is what is known as a private adoption. We did our own birthmother outreach which means we searched for our birthparents and made contact with them on our own without the help of a lawyer, agency, or social worker. Once our daughter’s birthmother said she wanted to place her child with us, we found our own lawyer and went from there. You’ll find that some people believe this is not a safe way to go about adoption and can often lead to scams. As with anything, you need to be very careful when it comes to people approaching you online stating they want to place their child with you.  However, I have several friends that have recently become parents from doing their own birthmother outreach! Another option you have is an agency adoption, and most agencies do all the work for you. You send them a profile that includes information and pictures of your family. They in return keep these on hand to show to birthmothers who come to them looking to place their child. Some of the best agencies have a flat rate that will cover everything from birthmother expenses to finalizing your adoption. Another option you have is to contact your local DHS and see if foster adopt is something you might be interested in! I have several friends that have amazing, beautiful babies due to adopting through their local foster care system.

One thing that everyone must have no matter what route you choose to adopt is a home study. Do me a favor, and don’t Google "adoption home study." Often times online people make them out to be something they are not! A home study is where a provider comes into your house and makes sure that your family is capable of physically, emotionally, and financially taking care of a baby.  They will also make sure your home is safe. Sometimes people get so overwhelmed about an upcoming home study. Let me tell you, I have been through two of them, and they are not that bad! A normal home study will also include paperwork you have to get filled out by your physician, financial information, background information, and possibly fingerprint background checks. Every home study provider does things differently. Our two home studies had a couple things in common but a lot of things were done differently. In the end both when smoothly, and we passed with flying colors. One thing to keep in mind when you do a homestudy is this: they are not looking for perfect parents. They are looking for real parents with real lives, and that includes your house looking like you live in it, not like you have a live in maid! Depending on what route you take to adopt will also reflect the way you have your home study done. If you choose an agency, they will more than likely have someone come out, whereas with our private adoption we found our own provider. Once again if you are looking for your own provider, do your research. Unfortunately there are people out there that mark up the cost of a home study. Normally if you ask fellow adoptive mothers in your area or do your homework, you will find the best provider to fit your needs!

My biggest piece of advice to anyone looking to adopt is don’t get overwhelmed. Often times you will hear stories via the media or a friend that have some type of negativity towards adoption or you will hear a story about someone who was matched overnight and became adoptive parents in a matter of hours. Remember... every adoption is different and however you choose to form your family needs to be in the way that you are 100% comfortable with! Turn to adoptive mom blogs, forums, and adoptive mothers for advice! We really are a small community that loves to welcome new members! Please feel free to contact me with any adoption related questions at mandyjocampbell{at}gmail{dot}com.

Thank you so much, Mandy!! If you want to read more from Mandy, check out her blog at

1 comment:

  1. There are several types of adoption. But the most important element in the process is the couple or the family who will adopt the child. It is important that they have the qualities required from an adoptive parent or family, so that the child will live a normal and happy life, whether he finds out he’s adopted or not.

    Aiko Dumas