8 (Potential) Bottlenecks in the Adoption Process

These times of waiting cause bottlenecks, or areas of blockage, in the adoption process.

Virginia Spence September 06, 2018

Novelist Paulo Coelho wrote, “Life has many ways of testing a person’s will, either by having nothing happen at all or by having everything happen at once.” The adoption process is much the same way. There is a lot of “hurry up and wait,” where you rush around gathering everything that you are required to turn in, only to turn it in and have to wait for others to do their part. These times of waiting cause bottlenecks, or areas of blockage, in the adoption process. They can be infuriating.

On your adoption journey, these bottlenecks will test your patience and threaten your resolve. When you get to the point that you want to give up, just remind yourself of the reason that you held on so long. Author Mandy Hale aptly said, “You are not just waiting in vain. There is a purpose behind every delay.” The following slides are some instances that could potentially cause a bottleneck in your entire adoption process.

Trainings and Parenting Education Classes
1. Trainings and Parenting Education Classes

You will probably be required to take some form of parenting education and adoption training courses as part of your home study process. This article states that adoptive parent education can include but not be limited to information on the “lifelong implications of adoption on the child and the family, attachment and bonding, sharing adoption with the child and others, open adoption, and medical, emotional, and academic developmental issues. There will also be a review of discipline techniques and general parenting to meet a child’s needs. (For specific state domestic adoption requirements, go to: //statelaws.findlaw.com/family-laws/adoption.html). These courses can be time-consuming, but they are so worth it.

Putative Father Registry
2. Putative Father Registry

The United States has something called the Putative Father Registry. “It is a state-level legal option for unmarried men to document through a notary public any woman they engage with in intercourse, for the purpose of retaining parental rights for any child they may father.” Not all states require this registry to be checked prior to adoption placement of a child, but in those that do, “putative fathers will be notified when actions to terminate their parental rights as part of adoption proceedings are filed for a child they may have fathered and registered for.” If the putative father is located, he may choose either to claim or relinquish his paternal rights. These notifications can take time and hold up the placement of the child with the adoptive family.

Documents and Dossiers
3. Documents and Dossiers

The adoption process comes with a lot of paperwork, and just when you think that you have filled out every piece of paper there is, another one will arrive. It is a brutal process. And if there wasn’t enough paperwork for the domestic process, the international adoption process has so much more. Each step of paperwork causes a slowdown that pushes your goal of adopting a bit farther out. Most of the paperwork isn’t even contingent on you, but rather on the expediency of others—a fact that can be rather annoying. However eager you are, it is important to remember that you are not the only case that your social worker, the lawyers, the judge, and the foreign government is handling. Every paper, document, and dossier piece is meant for the positive well-being of a child who cannot speak for himself and to ensure that when the adoption is finalized, the child is irrevocably your child.

Background Checks
4. Background Checks

It is no secret that the government does everything on its own timetable. The same is true in the adoption process since background checks are mandatory. Background checks have to be requested for any state in which you have lived in the past five years. A thorough FBI background check has to be completed as well. Prior to having the checks submitted, you will have to go to a courthouse or police station to have your fingerprints taken. Once you have those, your agency or lawyer will need to submit them to the appropriate federal and state departments. No matter how quickly YOU get your portion of this part done, you will still have to wait for your lawyer and the government to do THEIR parts. This can take a decent amount of time.

Waiting for Various Approvals
5. Waiting for Various Approvals

When government is involved, red tape can cause snags and delays. In domestic adoptions, you may have to wait to be accepted to adopt by your agency of choice; and once you meet all the requirements to adopt, you will wait to be approved by the state in which you reside. If you are pursuing an interstate adoption, you will need to meet their requirements to proceed. International adoption isn’t much better. You’ll have to wait for UCIS (US customs and immigration), as well as the country from which you are endeavoring to adopt. From there it gets tricky as every country has its own time frames, requirements, and approval processes, many which involve their individual justice system and may move at slower-than-snails pace. It can be nerve-wracking, especially since we have been raised to believe that we don’t need the approval of others. Needless to say, these approvals can cause a HUGE bottleneck situation.

Changing Adoption Laws and Regulations
6. Changing Adoption Laws and Regulations

Change is inevitable. Just when you think you have something figured out, it is going to change. Adoption laws and regulation can have a similar problem. This website states that “international adoption [as well as domestic adoption] is regulated…by a vast tapestry of laws, rules, and regulations. These are designed to protect the best interests of the child, and as such they often change and evolve with time as governing agencies explore new ways to make the process safer, more ethical, and more effective. These changes can mean delays for you if they happen while your adoption is in motion. Be patient and understand that as frustrating as these changes might be, they are intended to protect the child you are welcoming into your life.”

Waiting for Matches
7. Waiting for Matches

Probably the hardest bottleneck in the adoption process is the wait for a match. You’ll anticipate every phone call to be that an expectant mother has picked you or that an internationally born child has come available and needs a family. Even foster adoption will have a period of waiting so that the child can legally be free and clear to join your family. Regardless of your avenue of adoption, there will be a period of indefinite waiting before a child joins your family.

Additional Expenses
9. Additional Expenses

As with anything in life, unexpected expenses arise. If you are in a private adoption, there may be more fees associated with caring for the expectant mother and the baby she carries. If the state from which you are adopting is different than the one in which you live, there may be requirements that stipulate how long you must remain in the state prior to and after the baby’s birth. Most international adoptions require you to spend time in their country before and after you have your child in your arms. The expenses for these things can cost quite a bit more money than you may have originally budgeted for.

10. Conclusion

There you have it: eight (potential) bottlenecks in the adoption process. Eight things that could lengthen the time it takes to bring your child home. Don’t give up in the middle of the wait. Waiting is hard to do, especially when you want something so badly. There is an old quote that says: “Don’t get discouraged. It’s often the last key that opens the lock.” Don’t give up the wait. Cling to hope. Continue to pursue the vision of being a mom and dad. A wise person once said, “The worst part of life is waiting. The best part of life is to have someone worth waiting for.”

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Virginia Spence

Virginia Spence and her husband Eric are the proud parents of two awesome boys who joined their family via domestic infant adoption. Their journey through infertility and into the world of adoption awoke in her a passion for life at all ages/stages, especially the tiniest lives in the womb and the women who carry them, and a desire to champion the cause of those who choose to adopt. Virginia desires to be a voice for adoption through advocacy and education as well as an encouragement to those suffering through infertility. Virginia loves to read and considers herself a coffee connoisseur. When she isn't writing or drinking giant mugs of coffee, Virginia can be found watching Paw Patrol and racing hot wheel cars with her boys.

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