Here is an update.
Last night I had a meltdown because I was certain we would never be able to adopt. At that point in time, I had only talked to one agency, the one that charges $32-42k. My awesome husband talked me through it, reminded me that I had only begun my research, and that, most importantly, I was under the influence… The influence of freaking hormones, I mean! I do not recall how he put it, but that is what he was saying! He was right. He is the best! I love that man!
For the record, I am grateful that my reproductive system works well. Otherwise, I might not have Ari. But I hate how I get during that one week of the month. Moody, sad, achy, hot flashes… Any or all of the above!
Back to adoption. I spent some time looking up and calling agencies this morning. It turns out that most of the agencies I found in western MA no longer exist. Thus far, I only know of one local agency that is still operating, the one that charges over $30k. Oh, by the way, this is the same agency that Mr. Geek worked for almost ten years ago! I called, spoke to the director, and she recognized his name!
I found an agency in Cape Cod that does international adoptions. The wait period ranges from six to eighteen months. They do closed adoptions. The child typically comes home around ten to twelve months of age. The fees? $25-30k. Better, but still a lot of money for us. But, hey, it was progress.
The next agency I talked to has offices in four different states: Indiana, Georgia, North Carolina, and California. They can work with me even though I live in MA. I would just need to find a local agency that would do our home study (I will define home study later.) This agency does open adoptions. The mom could be anywhere in the U.S. 80% of the moms are in the four states where the agency has offices. Birth moms (while pregnant) and prospective adoptive parents can contact each other via phone or email. Once there is a match, we would fly out to meet the birth mom.
We would fly out a second time around the mother’s due date. We would stay there for about two weeks. We would meet the baby at the hospital. The baby will be discharged to us. After completing some paperwork for both states (basically informing both states that a minor is leaving one state and moving to the other state), we get to fly home with a newborn!
The wait period with this agency ranges from six to eighteen months. This agency’s fees range from $11 to $17k, depending on our income. We are in the $13.5k bracket. We would have to add the cost of the home study and travel expenses (I am guessing; forgot to ask re travel expenses).
A frequently asked question: substance abuse. These moms are placing their children for adoption voluntarily. 80% of them are not consuming alcohol or drugs during their pregnancies. Of the 20% that are, most might have had a drink before they knew they were expecting. This group of moms is very different than the group of moms we would interact with if we were adopting through the local department of children and families. I prefer this option; it would be better for our mental health!
My opinion on the moms working with the agency I am interested in: I admire them. They are dealing with an unplanned pregnancy in the best possible way. They are taking care of themselves and doing everything in their power to do right by their children. They could abort and be done with it. But, instead, they carry their pregnancy to term, give birth, and give their children to loving families because they feel that would be best for their children.
Adoption lingo, if you are interested:
Home study: This is a process whereby the agency gets to know the prospective adoptive family. The agency conducting the home study visits the adoptive family three to five times. They learn about us: our home, our personalities, our state of mind, our employment status, our income, etc.
“Dear birth mom” letter: Basically, this is the adoptive family’s biography or profile. It includes about five pages of text and photos. Its purpose is for the birth moms to get to know us.
Open adoption: the birth and the adoptive families remain in contact, limited contact. We would provide letters and photos of the baby. The birth parents choose whether they want them right away, later, or not at all.
Closed adoption: Once the adoption is finalized, there is no longer any contact between the two families.
I feel like I might have forgotten something… The edit feature is useful, isn’t it?
Oh, a little update on us: Mr. Geek and I are talking about it. If we decide to pursue adoption, we would need some time before we sign up, mostly so we can save, save, save! I am happy. I have hope. I feel like we would be able to do this. There might be a new member in our family in, say, two years! Wow!