Determining the Best Path

Adopting Intentionally – Day 6

For 31 Days I am blogging about Adopting Intentionally, you can find an overview and links to daily posts here.

Adoption Paths

Each adoption is unique as it is the integrating of a child from one set of circumstances into a different family.  This happens in the United States in four different ways.  When one begins the adoption process it is important to seek out information about all of them and intentionally choose what path feels like the best fit.

I will explain the four ways in the order from the circumstances I personally know the least to those with which I am the most familiar.

Path 1 – Adopting through a Private Lawyer

There are times when adoptive parents already know a birthmother or have heard of a possible match.  In these circumstances they can work with a private lawyer to facilitate the adoption.  Lawyers are also able (in some states) to initiate a birthmother search.

I know very little about this route.  In our state of Massachusetts independent adoptions are illegal.  And as you will learn as we share our story we have grown to really appreciate all the players in the process.  We love that each of our boys has a team of experts who has helped them to the place they are today.  We completely recognize that this is just the right fit for some families.

Path 2 – Adopting Internationally

These adoptions work with agencies domestically and overseas.  There are times when adoptive parents want to adopt from a specific country.  There are thousands of children in orphanages around the world.  In times past this was a more predictable and often faster way to adopt.  As of late we know of families who have waited years for their placement (you will here from one on Saturday).

We decided not to adopt internationally, though we have celebrated with other friends who have.  It is an incredible adventure and a beautiful one.  It is often unlikely that a child will have a relationship with his or her birthparent, after working in foster care, we were most interested in the possibility of what is called an “open adoption.”

Path 3 – Adopting Using a Private Agency

Working with a private adoption agency domestically means the agency works with birthmothers and most often she will choose what family she wants to work with (by looking at books you have created or a website about your family).  The agency then facilitates the process.

We initially began working with a private agency.  We liked the idea of giving the birthmother the choice to pick a family she thought would be a good fit for her child.  We also wanted to work with an agency that was well practiced and resourced in adoptions.  We felt well informed, enjoyed knowing the birthmother was being supported, and were encouraged at the quick matching process.  However, full disclosure a private agency did not work for us. 

Path 4 – Adopting Through Foster Care

There are thousands of “waiting children” in the foster care system.  These are children who have a goal of adoption and are waiting to be matched with a family that is a good fit.  They are currently living with a foster family.

We adopted our first son through the Department of Children and Families when his adoption fell through with the private agency.  We are adopting our second son (today!) also through DCF.  He came to us at two months old with a dual goal.  The primary goal was reunification, but the agency saw the potential for that not remaining the goal, so he was placed with an adoptive family.  Neither of our boys were “waiting children” when they came to us.  We took a risk with each of them that they would be removed from our care and return to a birthparent or someone else that was biologically related.

Each path is different.  The players, the finances, the time table, the risks are all different.

The amazing adventure is similar.  Each path leads from one place to something entirely different.  The journey is invaluable.  The risk is worth it.

To read more and see more statistics I recommend this link   

Choosing adoption: Cost, benefits, and risk of the main options


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