I’m buckling down with list-making and paperwork filing, because Alex and I are so excited to announce that we are adopting a baby!
Those who have been long-time readers know that we have struggled with infertility for over two years now. (If you haven’t read it, my post about Five Things You Should Know About Infertility is geared toward better understanding the struggle any friends and family may be going through, even if silently.)
I was diagnosed with Stage III Endometriosis at the beginning of this year and had 3 surgeries (the longest of which lasted nearly 8 hours) in the first half of the year. Unfortunately, in spite of the successful surgeries, I continued to develop Luteinized Unruptured Follicles (LUFs) that were preventing us from conceiving. Add to that the loss of my mother in July, the passing of Alex’s dad in late August, and the death of my maternal grandfather in early November (among other things)…we suddenly found ourselves exhausted and at a crossroads.
Enter our decision to adopt.
We’ve gotten a lot of questions since we made the announcement to our family and friends, so I wanted to answer some of them in a blog post for everyone. While we are still early in the process, sharing this journey with all of you is important to me – if sharing our experience helps one other person to understand adoption better or inspires someone to take the leap into adoption that they’ve been considering, sharing will be more than worth it.
Put on your seatbelts – this is gonna be a long one!
Why did you decide to adopt?
Adoption has actually been on our radar for years. It is something we both always wanted to do – we just thought we would have our biological children first. So when we started to have trouble conceiving, our thoughts turned immediately to adoption instead of to IVF (which, as it turns out, likely would not have worked for us anyway).
Our families also played a big role in our decision to adopt. Every.single.one of our family members and close friends is thrilled that we are adopting and could not be more supportive. Having that kind of support behind us is so important.
We also believe that my mom has already picked the baby who needs us most, and is hogging time with her grandbaby up in Heaven until it’s time for us to meet him or her.
While adoption is certainly not the right decision for every couple, for us it feels exactly right. We do not care if our child looks like us or where they come from – for us, a family is so much more than biology. We already love our child so much, without knowing a single thing about him or her.
And to be honest? I have never felt more called to anything in my life than I do to this process. Every time I think about it, I burst into happy tears.
(God bless my sweet, patient husband.)
How far along are you in the process?
This has been a bit of a surreal process so far, because even though we just started everything a couple of weeks ago, we have been getting things done very quickly. It helps that we are working with entities that understand that we were ready to be parents 2+ years ago and don’t want to make us wait any longer than we have to for that dream to come true.
This week we submitted a whole host of photos and written materials for our profile. Our agency’s media team will be putting everything together for us to create our profile, so hopefully we will be “online” in a matter of a week or so.
At the same time, we are working on our home study. We have already filled out a whole host of forms and gotten the background check process started – now we continue to gather paperwork (things like tax forms, CPR certifications, notes from our doctors, TB tests, and more) and get the house ready for the home visit.
We are lucky to have found an adoption entity that does not require us to have a completed home study before listing us as a waiting family for birth mothers. The home study process itself can take 3-5 months to complete (much of this is dependent on how quickly we complete the various paperwork items), so being able to do the two things simultaneously really does save us a lot of time.
Once our profile is live, the average wait time is 4-13 months for a match. From there, we could be matched with a birth mom who has several months left in her pregnancy, or just a few weeks – it is hard to say.
Basically, we have to really relinquish control and trust the process – something that is not necessarily easy for some of us (cough-me-cough), but will be well worth it in the end.
What do you know about the baby at this point?
Seriously, though. We listed that we are open to either sex and any race – we believe we will be matched with the exact child who needs us most!
When we are matched with a birth mother, at that point we will get a lot more information about her history, the baby’s records, etc. Though I will likely share when we accept a match, we will not widely share details about the baby (sex, name, etc) until we bring him or her home, for everyone’s privacy and in case there is a disruption in the adoption.
Will it be an open adoption?
Most likely, yes.
Closed adoptions are actually the exception these days – most adoptions now have some degree of openness, which just means the sharing of information. We are totally open to sharing pictures, letters, etc, with our birth mom, and are open to discussing things like annual visits.
At the end of the day, it’s really not about us – it is about the child. Even though open adoptions can add a layer of complexity of their own, research has shown that it can be good for removing some of the mystery behind a child’s heritage and background.
We of course always want the best for our child and will be continuing to research and educate ourselves on the best way to approach and navigate the many complex conversations our future holds.
Isn’t adoption really expensive?
Uh…yeah. Sure is.
Average costs range from around $35K-$43K. We won’t actually know the final cost of everything until we are matched with a birth mom, as the costs to finalize vary greatly based on where the baby is born. Some of the costs include agency costs (marketing, liaising with the birth mother, helping make sure all the legal pathways are open), legal fees for finalization, the home study and birth mother expenses.
Oh, and travel/lodging when the baby is born, since it is likely that the birth mom won’t be anywhere local to us. We will have to plan to be in the birth mom’s state for 5-10 business days while the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) clears.
How can we support you?
There are a few key ways our family and friends (and readers!) can support us:
Learn more about adoption and research positive adoption language – Adoption has changed SO much, even in the last 20-30 years. The way in which we talk about it has started to change as well! Things like retiring the phrase “give up for adoption” in favor of more positive language like “place for adoption” or “create an adoption plan.”
Do some research on positive adoption language and why positive adoption language matters – it may take some time to get used to, but the fact that you are making an effort will mean so much to adoptive families you may know.
Pray for our journey – Pray that this will be a smooth process, that we will be matched with the right birth mother, and that any big decisions along the way will be clear to us. (And that we can keep the nursery in budget…ha!)
Consider providing financial support – As weird as it feels to ask, financial support is a huge piece of the puzzle. We are saving what we can and will be applying for some grants when our home study is finalized, but will need to raise at least $10K when all is said and done.
We have created an AdoptTogether profile, which will allow you to make a tax-deductible donation to help fund our adoption. Everything donated through AdoptTogether will be paid out directly to the adoption entities, so you know the funds will be definitely be going towards the adoption.
Every little bit helps and we are so grateful for every donation. If you feel led to donate, you can do so via our AdoptTogether profile. (And if not, continue to pray for our journey and learn more about adoption in general!)
We love you all and are so grateful for your love and support in our next big adventure.
Stephie and Alex