One of the posts made a list of all the things that "can happen if you try to adopt." I think the exact way the list was presented is what bothered me the most. The list included all the negatives for each type of adoption. It gave the impression that anyone starting the adoption process could potentially run into all those issues.
It's funny that the most common conclusion to the adoption process was left off of the list. The one where the waiting couple brings home the baby that forever changes their life for the better. That outcome seems to be missing.
All of the things listed about adoption were supposed to be in contrast to the IVF process. I am not going to write about IVF much because I never did IVF. Please refer to my previous post if you would like to know more about how I feel about IVF and all the amazing people I know who have done it, are currently doing it, or will be doing it in the future.
What I am going to try to do is write about my own experiences with adoption and answer some of the concerns brought up. Or at least give my "take" on those concerns.
As you are reading, please keep in mind that every state is different. Every agency is different. And there are so many different ways to go about adoption. Foster-adopt, private adoption, using a facilitator, adoption agencies, adoption lawyers, international adoption, etc. As I made it very clear in my previous post, I am NOT an adoption expert and I am typically very hesitant to write about adoption at all.
You can spend all your money and go into debt trying to adopt:
I found this one a little funny because many people I have talked to listed money as a reason they did adoption instead of IVF. On one hand with IVF you spend a lot of money for no guarantee of a baby. (Even if the doctors think your particular situation makes you the perfect candidate for IVF, there is still no guarantee.) On the other hand, with adoption, you will have a baby in the end. Especially if you get to the point where you are writing a large check. We didn't go to the bank to get our big cashier's check until the day we got Jayden from the hospital. (The check paid for all the work the agency did, separate lawyers for the agency and Jayden's birth mother, birth mother expenses, future counseling for Jayden's birth mother, and all the post placement visits that our social worker would be doing.)
Yes, we went into debt. We took out a personal loan that we make payments on every month. Sacrifices have to be made sometimes in order to make those payments. Never has taking a loan out been more worth it. (Adam and I will probably be paying off our student loans for the rest of our lives.) And the good news is that there is the adoption tax credit!! The tax season following our adoption finalization, we will be getting a large portion of our money back. We can use that money to pay the loan off or adopt again. Also, Adam's job offers money back after finalization.
If you don't think you can afford IVF or adoption, I would recommend looking into foster-adoption. I am not an expert on the subject, but I know more than one family that has adopted a newborn through foster-adopt. In fact one of my friends was placed with two babies a few months apart and now that they are one year old, she is able to move forward with adopting both of them. (A story that deserves it's own post.)
Years of bureaucracy and paperwork:
Maybe this is geared more towards international? I know the paperwork is more intense for international than domestic. Maybe there are countries with more complications than others.
The paperwork we did for our homestudy was easy. Maybe sometimes annoying, but really easy. And we did it all within about three weeks. Then we had three visits from a social worker, which were very easy. We had to renew our homestudy every year, but that is only because we live in NY state. I think most states only require you to do it every two years.
Yep, we waited two years. I know people who waited only a couple months. You never know.
But, you know what? I am completely at peace with how long we waited. If we adopted quickly, we would not have Jayden. In fact, I am at peace with our whole journey to parenthood. Everything that happened led us to Jayden.
If someone told me right now we had to wait another two years to have Jayden, I would wait.
You can end up with a special needs child:
There are grids you fill out that cover every detail of what medical risks you are open to. Both family history information as well as prenatal exposures to different things are included in those grids. It's not like all of a sudden you can end up with a child with serious special needs. People that adopt special needs babies/children are people who were open to that.
When you enter into a match, there is information you get. Either from tests done during pregnancy or apgar scores and tests done if the baby is already born. You can choose not to enter into the match if you are not open to the medical conditions. If you are pregnant, many things can come up regardless of your family history or your perfect prenatal care. You have no control over that. Many examples are running through my head right now of friends, friends of friends, and extended family that had to deal with major medical issues with their babies that they were not expecting. It's crazy to me to hear people say they couldn't do adoption because they couldn't deal with possible special needs. Anyone who chooses to get pregnant needs to realize there is a risk. It's all part of being a parent.
Personally, there were many things we were open to. We opened up to more and more as we talked to adoptive parents. (Just because you are open to things doesn't mean every child you are profiled for will have all those things.) We knew Jayden's specific risks and it was our choice to accept them. Anyone who has met Jayden can tell you, he is a perfectly healthy 4 month old. On the small side because he started small, but he is growing at a perfect rate and hitting all milestones either on time or early. He is very strong and quite smart with an adorable little personality. Could we discover, for example, that he has learning disabilities when he is school age? Sure. That can happen with any child, adopted or not. What's funny is that our biological child would have had a much higher chance of that since I have ADD (by the way, this post has taken me 3 days to write) and Adam has a reading learning disability.
If anyone is considering adoption and would like to talk to me about which risks and exposures we were open to, please feel free to contact me. It was because of conversation with adoptive parents that we were able to open our minds (and our grids) to more things. I would love to be able to help any of you with that if you were interested.
You can end up with an older child who has had trauma in their life:
You won't be placed with an older child unless that is something you are open to. It's not something that can just happen to you.
This could be referring to either international or foster-adoption of older children. I don't have enough experience to really talk about either of them. From families I know that have done foster-adoption, the rewards far outweigh the challenges. But, there are challenges. Maybe at some point I can get someone to write a guest post on foster-adoption. If Adam and I ever get a bigger house, I think we would consider adopting an older child or maybe a sibling group. Well, I have always thought about it. It might take some extra convincing with Adam.
One blog that comes to mind is Stare If You Must. I am sure there are many others out there, but that one happens to be a personal favorite of mine.
As your child grows up, you will need to talk to them about their adoption:
Yes you will.
A good rule to go by is that your child should never remember the day you tell them they were adopted. You should always be talking about it from the beginning. Adoption language will be a regular part of growing up.
We have a wide selection of children's books that are adoption themed. I will be making him his own scrapbook. Our baby book we have for him has two family trees in it and places to put as much information about his birth family in as we have.
We have other adoptive families that we spend time with. Jayden will always have friends growing up that were also adopted. Being part of the adoption community is something I love. We have all these amazing friends that we never would have met otherwise. It's so great to have other people to talk to, share things with, and get advice from.
Every adoption comes from loss. The loss Jayden's birth mother feels as well as Jayden losing his birth family. I hope in the future that we can have a more open adoption with Jayden's birth family, but right now that is out of my control. Every month I send letters and pictures to the agency and Jayden's birth mother can choose to get them at any time.
The bond isn't the same because you didn't grow them inside you, they don't look like you, and you don't have skin to skin contact the minute they are born:
Anyone that has spent any amount of time with Jayden and I knows how strong our bond is. Adam often jokes about how infatuated Jayden is with me. I always say the feeling is mutual.
When I first met Jayden, he was in his little hospital bassinet and was wheeled into the room we were in. He was screaming and I asked if I could pick him up. I did and he nuzzled into my chest and immediately stopped crying. Every nurse watching said "Aww..." in unison. In that perfect moment I fell in love with that tiny person. We've been inseparable ever since.
Maybe I can convince Adam to write a post about his bond with Jayden. For now I will show you a picture of Adam and Jayden at the hospital.
Adam and Jayden watching a baseball game together a month later: `
One thing I would like to end with is that we in no way feel like adopting Jayden was a noble thing to do or that we were saving a child. There is not a day that goes by that we don't think about how lucky we are to have Jayden.