Saturday, November 12, 2011

Educational Post: Different Types of Adoption

I haven't spoken too much about what the "adoption options" are for parents interested in having children this way.

There are four types of adoption, with many variations involved.

International Adoption. Just as the name implys, international adoption is adopting a child internationally. Many different countries world wide have programs to facilitation the adoption of children to families in the United States. With this option the risk of the birth parents "changing their minds" is nill because most of these children are in orphanages, or another type of foster care. These children are not newborns. And, paperwork often takes up to 6 months to complete. So, you could received a match to a child and have to wait months to bring him/her home. The other risk, medical information is unknown. And, you don't really know the true situation with the child until you meet them. I met a couple on this journey that went to adopt their little girl in China, and she was severely disabled. So, they did not bring her home due to her extensive medical needs. They were devastated. That's another thing, most often, you have to travel to the country to get your child. The price tag for this type of adoption: 30-50K or more.

Domestic Adoption. More often called "Domestic Newborn Adoption." This is the adoption of (usually) a newborn baby in the United States. This is what we were doing with the birth mom we were working with. The drawback? We lived it. About 1/3 or birth mom's will change their mind during the process and decide to parent their child. The perk? You can often be involved in the prenatal appointments, and get to know the birth mom, or birth parents. This gives the adoptive family medical history, and provides comfort that the birth parent's will know who will be raising their biological child. The wait can be long if the adoptive parents are waiting to be chosen by a birth mom. This means that once the adoptive couple finish their homestudy their profile sits at an agency, or lawyers office and waits for a birth mom to come along that meets their criteria. Also, the adoptive parents situation has to be one that the birth mom has stated she is interested in placing her child in. For example: if a couple is caucasion and has no children they would be presented to a birth mom who wants the same for her child, or something similar.
Cost can be less (4-6K) if you know the birth mom. But, if you're going through an agency or consultant, and are having them do a birth mom search for you, the cost increases to 15-20K. More cost can be added in addition if the adoptive couple are paying any expenses for the birth mom while she is pregnant. I've heard of these situations costing up to 31K.

Fos-Adopt programs are just as the name implys. Adoptive parents adopt a child who is in the foster care system and has biological parents who's rights are either terminated, or about to be terminated. This means that a child was removed from their biological parents care for one of several reasons (a lot of times abuse or violence or neglect are a factor). Then, they are put into foster care and the parents are given guidelines by a court to get their child back. When they fail to meet these guidelines, adoptive placement is sought out for the child. The benefits are that the cost is low: $1500 dollar range for the entire adoption. The legal risk is low because the parents are going to loose their rights based on court judgement. However, again, these children are not newborns. And, they were put into the system for a reason. So something negative was going on that they lived through.
When you adopt through foster care you are given a list of things to consider and you actually check a box that their says "acceptable, not acceptable, or willing to discuss." The wait time in our state can be weeks to one year before a placement. Instead of going into a "birth mom search" you go into a "child search" based on the adoptive parents given criteria.

Lastly, are kinship adoptions. This is where a child is adopted within an extended family. In these scenarios many times the birth parents can sign rights over to the family member. In most states the adoptive parents still need to complete a homestudy. Cost is usually just that of a homestudy and a lawyer, so about 2-4K.

There is a great book that thoroughly explains these different types of adoption, its called You Can Adopt by Susan Caughman and Isolde Motley.

As for our homestudy, we are meeting our buddy family tomorrow night. Hopefully our caregiver's prints will come back this next week and we will FINALLY get our social worker. I think, unless they find something else for us to do! Ha.

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