Open Adoption

There are so many different types of adoption to consider or so it seems. Really there’s only three different types of adoption: International, private domestic and fost/adopt. It’s how you go about your “journey” that makes it seem so much more complicated. These three types of adoption are very different from each other – before , during and after. International adoption requires a different type of home study, a set of educational classes, a trip to the country you are going to be adopting from and it seems like a whole different- for lack of a better word “post adopt culture” families that adopt internationally tend to hang with other families that adopt internationally. Fost/adopt is another way. This can be done two ways..you can go directly to the county Children and Family Services office, sign up to be a foster parent or concurrent adoption family and wait for a baby. You may or may not have to do foster care depending on the policy of the county. What you need to remember is that this type of adoption is child centered..they are looking for a stable family for a child, a family that will be tolerant of this child’s needs. They are not looking or networking to find an adoption situation for you. The Bureau’s goal is family reunification whenever possible so you may have a child in your home for a year with the anticipation of adoption and if the child reunifies with the birth family then you start all over. This is hard for many potential adoptive families especially since the child may be returning to a birth family that is not as financially stable or that lives in an environment that the potential adoptive family feels is not suitable for the child. When the county does not have any potentially suitable homes for the children they are looking to place for adoption then they outsource or network to foster family agencies. The moral of this story is that the children who reach these agencies or the children you see on waiting boards on the internet are children who are hard to place. These are children that when adopted will need families that understand they will have special needs or support systems put in place.Very rarely, i’m not going to say never, if you work with a foster family agency will you be placed an infant. The infants who will go into early chance homes will go into the homes that are contracted directly with the county. There are no fees for adoption when you go directly to a county, but there will be fees involved in foster family agency adoption. In fost/adopt many states still have adoption subsidies. This monthly reimbursement was originally set in place to find homes for hard to place children. Rates can be 300.00 a month to 5000.00 depending on the needs of the child. States are looking more closely at this subsidy now and only releasing to placements that truly are hard to place. Lastly there is private domestic adoption..this is usually an infant placement. There used to be agency adoption and an adoption that was arranged by a friend of a friend. Now there are many ways to accomplish this. There are still agencies which have an established fee that usually pulls all of the expenses together. Sometimes they may not include finalization fees, this is a fee that comes from an attorney to finalize an adoption in front of the court and file the paperwork. You always need an attorney in an adoption. Then there is attorney driven adoption where the attorney has a “package “fee and does the networking and legal work for you. Not all states allow an attorney to facilitate (match) so the paperwork will still need to pass through an agency to make the adoption legal. Not all agency’s or attorney do networking, some may require you find your own birth mom and then they will do all of the coordination. There are facilitators who work with both birth parents and some that work with just adoptive parents, in Calif all professional who provide adoption eduction support or resources have to call themselves a facilitator, carry a bond and be registered by the State , in other States they may call themselves a referral service or consultant. Facilitators and referral services find you a birth mother and then help support the plan. If you hire a facilitator or referral service you need to know we don’t place children for adoption you will need an attorney or an agency to do the placement. You can still network and advertise on your own to find a birth mom, through media or friend to friend, but you will still need an attorney or an agency depending on the laws of your state to make the adoption final and legal.

Open adoption can be anything you and the birth parents decide it to be, it can be letters and pictures, it can be a once in a while visit, telephone calls, holidays, whatever , it may be an initial phone call and review of medical records. The most important piece of an open adoption is that you have basic information about the birth family so that your child will have some knowledge of who they are and where they came from. The earlier you expose them to adoption information the easier it will be for them in adolescence. Every child will react differently to different information. Some will care, some will not, some will say they don’t and do. Just like birth children are different, adopted children are different. There are so many books out now about open adoption with professionals telling you how to have an open relationship. Most of these books are written by social workers or therapists who aren’t raising adopted children, they just have an idea of how life should be if your adopted. My advise is to read a few different books and form your own opinion..gauge it by what is going on with your child and in your home. Don’t give up on an adoption situation because the birth mom may not want to have contact with you initially. Remember you will be raising the child, not the birth mom. What’s important is the knowledge you have and not so much the relationship you have. You may start out with a great relationship that takes a turn or start out without a relationship that develops later, what I want you to hear in this is don’t miss out on a great opportunity to raise a child based on what may be happening with the birth mom right now, she is in a crisis, and may not be able to make the same choices about what is important as she may be able to do in a few months. Give her some room.

I hope this gives some of you a bit more insight to the different types of adoption. The most important thing to remember whatever type you choose.. be flexible..you can make a plan but be ready to take risks and make a left instead of a right. After all that is what parenting is all about.

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