February 14, 2013

Fears Related to Domestic Adoption

A friend emailed to ask some questions about domestic adoption, and I can almost guarantee that they're the same questions any of us have had if we've thought about domestic adoption.  In fact, they're probably the two main reasons that people shy away from adopting domestically.   

1. Waiting potentially for a very long time to be selected by the biological family  
2. Potentially losing the baby at the last minute because the birth mom changes her mind and decides to parent the baby

Of course, we know there are countless stories where #2 is not what happens. But both of these things can be concerning enough to make us pause before considering domestic adoption.

When I think of domestic adoption, at least at this point in our family, I think of #2 in particular.  It's the main reason we went with international adoption the first time around, though many of you know God worked in our hearts to stir up a love for international adoption as we went through the process.  

But God has changed our hearts about being fearful of a birth mom changing her mind.  I'm sure it's partly because this would not be our first child.  I think the grief would be different then.  Aside from that, our agency is just so excellent.  We know that they are counseling biological families with the gospel.  They seem very wise and compassionate.  They told us last week that 90% of the ladies they see are at risk for abortion.  90%!  Here are some of the notes I took while we were on the phone with them:

70-75% of the moms are African American and the majority of them are on Medicaid and struggle financially.   There is a counselor that each birth mom meets with regularly when she decides to make a birth plan for her child.  They don't coerce her or make her feel pressure, they want her to be educated about her options and feel good about her plan.  They have parenting classes and resources if the birth mom decides to raise her baby, and counseling whether she decides to keep her baby or make an adoption plan for her baby.  The counselor is experienced, and if our family is selected by a birth mom they would give our family an indication about how committed they think the birth mom is to her adoption plan.  This makes a big difference to us!  In Tennessee (where the agency is), birth moms cannot surrender their rights until 4 days after the birth, and then they have 10 days to change their mind.  The counselor would make a recommendation to us about when/whether to come to Memphis depending on their estimation of where the birth mom is at.  There are foster families they call Cradle Care that could take care of the baby until we arrive, if we and the counselor think it's best for us to wait to come until after that 2 week window.  We'll wait and see how it all works out depending on the circumstances.  If possible, we'd love to be there for the birth and stay for a couple of weeks to get to know the birth family and the city.  It's a risk, for sure, but we're just deciding to trust the Lord and not be fearful because it seems clear that He has directed us in this way.  

Families could also opt to wait to be informed by the agency that a birth mom has selected them until after the 2 week window has passed, so that would essentially remove the risk of your experience of a birth mom changing her mind.

As far as #1 (waiting a long time to be picked) there could always be factors that might decrease the length of time a family waits to be selected by a birth family.  Our agency has emphasized the family profile (pictures in particular) and the list of questions we answer, since those are the two things a birth mom will look at to make a decision about which family to choose.  Putting together a thoughtful family profile could make a big difference in how long a family waits.  For example, they mentioned once that birth moms tend to feel some amount of confidence that a family will love their child and welcome them readily if the family has already adopted before.  I'd think that expressing some positive things about friends that have adopted or our adoption in Christ would provide some amount of confidence for a birth mom too.  Our agency has also expressed that it's often important to birth moms that a family has diversity in their lives.  They've encouraged us to share details about the diversity among our friends, church, neighborhood, etc, and ways we might incorporate diversity in our family in the future.  But of course, we know it comes down to the fact that God builds a family.  He will place the right family on the right birth mother's heart if it is His will to do so.  

So if you're thinking about adopting domestically, depending on your situation, I'd say don't necessarily make a decision based on those two factors.  If God leads your family to adopt and to adopt domestically, He will work out what is right... and He even has a purpose in the loss of a potential baby if a birth mom decides to parent.  

1 comment:

  1. I know the Lord has great things in store for your family, and I can't wait to see how it all unfolds!