So you’ve made the big decision to adopt. Now what?
There are several options available, and the right option for you is the one where you will find your child. I know that may sound flippant, and maybe you were expecting an article comparing the costs, age of the child, waiting time, or listing the pros and cons of each option. (See the links at the end of this article for those.) But if you’ve seen all that and you still are not sure which type of adoption is for you, read on.
If you are the praying type, start there. If you enjoy meditation, think it over. Research options on the internet. Talk with others who have adopted. But when it comes down to it, you will know.
Our first time around, we knew we wanted a newborn. We knew we were most likely to find a newborn in a domestic adoption using an adoption agency. So we started researching adoption agencies and found the one that fit our financial means and our ethical standards, and provided support for adoptive families as well as birth families. And we found our child because our child’s birth parents found this adoption agency too.
Next, go around, we were open to a child under age one so we began to consider foster care. As I looked into the foster care system and began the application process, something didn’t feel right to me. I felt like I couldn’t take the heartbreak of falling in love with a child to have the child reunified with their birth parents. I had to be honest with myself. I really wanted to be the kind of person who could help care for a child without the guarantee that I would become his/her mother, but I just couldn’t get myself on board. I talked with many friends who had gone this route and found their stories inspirational. I was in awe at their attitude of loving and making a difference in a child’s life no matter how long it lasted. But still, something held me back. I know now that it was because my children weren’t in foster care.
We went ahead with adoption through an agency again because it felt right and we were led there. We found our twins. We were stressed over the cost because it was more than what we had budgeted for, but in the end, it worked out and our girls joined the family.
After newborn twins, we were done with babies. We wanted an older child and the seemingly obvious choice would be foster-to-adopt. Once again, as we started praying and considering where our child was, we were led in another direction. We began to consider international adoption.
I had brought up the subject of international adoption before and my husband quickly shut the door on it. He is not the adventurous type. International adoption seemed overwhelming to both of us. There is more paperwork. There is immigration. There is coordinating with two countries and abiding both countries’ laws. It seemed daunting. We had a friend in the process of adopting from Haiti. She had been waiting over two years since being matched with a child. The wait seemed impossible.
We met a prospective adoptive couple at an adoption-related education class we were hosting. The husband was from Ghana and he told us about the orphanages there. He talked to us about the culture and people of Ghana. Something about that conversation stuck in my husband’s head and he began researching adoption in Ghana. He came across a Yahoo group of people who had adopted from Ghana. He joined. I was shocked!
We made contact with someone willing to help us complete an independent adoption in Ghana. It felt right. All of the sudden, what was once daunting seemed possible and we began the process. Seven months later, we had our 5-year old daughter home with us. People have asked me why I would adopt from another country when there are so many children in need of homes right here. My answer is always, “Ghana is where my daughter was.”
My advice to other prospective adoptive parents is this: Keep an open mind, listen to your heart, pray, and follow your impressions. You will find your child whether it is through foster care, independent adoption, agency adoption, international adoption, or embryo adoption. The right option is there for you. Find it!
And if you were looking more for an article of comparisons and a list of options, try these:
Are you ready to pursue adoption? Visit Adoption.org or call 1-800-ADOPT-98 to connect with compassionate, nonjudgmental adoption specialists who can help you get started on the journey of a lifetime.