Some may or may not understand the complete process of adoption so in a few blog posts I will summarize what the process is like. Adoption is made up of a few steps: “The Decision”, Finding The Right Agency For You (“You’re just a fish in a pool of sharks” – Jay-Z), Home Study (which is broken down into several phases), Waiting for A Match (“I don’t know what to do with my hands” – Will Ferrell), Matching (Open/Closed Adoption and how will that relationship with the birth mother manifest itself), Delivery (we’re doing a newborn so any details after matching will be from that perspective), Finalizing The Adoption (So we have the baby but we can’t go home yet, gotcha!), Baby Bonding Time (please don’t come over yet!), and Visitation (Let the endless parade of visiting commence!) As we go through this process and I gain understanding I will attempt to enlighten maybe even educate. I will also try to add links so that you will be able to differentiate between my opinion and that of an expert. First, “The Decision”….
Unlike LeBron James when we he took his talents to South Beach there won’t be an interview with a famous reporter, fanfare or any type of ‘hullabaloo’; it will be you and your significant other in your living room or at dinner in a public place countlessly reliving painful infertility experiences trying to figure out of if this is the way to go. There aren’t any flashing cameras from the paparazzi, just painful memories – some you try to avoid going through step by step others you have to because you need remember how painful it was. It will help making a decision to see if expanding your family is worth it.
You two (or one) will come to a decision that yes it’s time to start a family – great! Now what do you do? Well there is In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), Foster Care, Surrogacy and Adoption. If you choose the latter then you have to figure out do you want an infant, toddler, school age or someone already in the foster system. Whew! This just went 0-100, real quick. This is just the pre-game. We haven’t even kicked off yet. For Leaeryn and me our initial choice was IVF. We thought this way we could become parents in the closest of traditional ways possible. The child would still be “a sprinkle of B and Lea”.
IVF is a gamble. It’s a costly one in the most perfect of circumstances. You go through 1 cycle for an average of $20K; it takes and you get one child. Awesome. That’s great, you my friend just hit the procreation lottery. If I were you I would push my luck find some cheap stock of a little known tech company invest and buy a lottery ticket. Another scenario is you have multiple cycles (again at $20K a shot) and she gets pregnant, yes! Victory! Oh wait, there’s one, two, you’re kidding me right, wait 5 in there?You just spent anywhere from $60K to $100K trying to get pregnant (most of it not covered by insurance…which is a whole other post) and now have 5 extra mouths to feed. It’s a blessing and probably the nightmare scenario all at the same time. That cold chill down your spine is the fear of sending 5 kids to college (or setting aside emergency bail money).
We never considered seriously considered surrogacy. But I’m sure it works for some people. We didn’t really opt for the foster care either because a new born in foster care is Tom Cruise status (Mission Impossible and sometimes Risky Business – see what I did there?), we did not want an international adoption, and we didn’t want an older child. It didn’t fit our lifestyle.
We finally decided that for us to grow our family adoption would be right choice. So what do you do first? For us our first step was to talk to people who had adopted. As you saw in my other piece I leaned heavily on Christy and because I saw firsthand the process she went through I was able to talk with her about some of my fears and apprehensions. Also you should read articles and books on adoptions and find out if you can deal with the emotional roller coaster of false starts and broken promises. Then you must figure out how you will pay for it. There are fees for everything: the agency, the home study, the training, the security clearance etc. Adopting a child is like running for president you are thoroughly vetted and you need to raise funds. Those small skeletons that you hid in the back of your closet are bound to come back. You must ask yourself do you want to place your life under that kind of microscope. But wait there’s a little more: what kind of adoption do you want?
You know the kind where you get a child, a baby, that kind.
No silly, do you want an open, closed, partially open adoption?
How much contact do you want the birth mother to have with your family? Wait, birth mothers (parents) still talk with me after I have the child. Yes they do and they will (in varying degrees) become a part of your life. Is that something that you are ok with? These are the nuances of modern day adoption that “Diff’rent Strokes” did not tell you about. If all of that is okay, then you have successfully completed “The Pregame Show for Adoption”.
Next step…find an agency…which can get even more complicated…