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ADOPTION THESE DAYS — No Comments

  1. I can’t tell you about baby adoption because all our children were older when we adopted them (Please suggest that your friends consider older children; yes, they can bring baggage and emotional problems with them, but they also need families.)

    Do have your friends check their state’s family services agency; adoptions of children in state custody are usually free of charges other than legal fees for the adoption and often subsidies are available for hard-to-place children.

  2. I have adopted two children personally within the last five years. As an attorney I have also been involved in adoptions. In fact, I have an adoption proceeding tomorrow for a client (first stage is to terminate the father’s parental rights to make way for the adoption).

    Both of our adoptions were done through a private, Christian agency but were not the “typical” ones they handle. Our two adopted kids (we have three biological as well) are 1/2 siblings. We got preferential treatment on that basis. We were selected for the first child by the agency, not the mother as is typical. I will share privately the reasons for that.

    Selection, basically, came down to our openness to adopt from another race and willingness to consider other placement concerns (special needs, lack of background history, abuse, etc.). Black children, unfortunately, are not nearly as in demand as white children.

    The cost, as I recall, was between 10k-15k each time. There is a federal tax credit (dollar for dollar) which substantially offsets this the following tax year.

    We have three friends in the process. Most of them are doing fundraisers, a concept which I fully support. There are organizations which offer grants or no interest loans. http://www.showhope.org/ is one. Some states, if you use their human services organizations, will subsidize in part or in whole.

    Mas, you can put these folks in touch with me if they want. I will be glad to talk to them.

  3. I adopted my niece when my brother & his wife were unable to care for her about seven years ago. Inside family adoptions (uncles adopting nieces, grandparents adopting grandchildren, step-parents, etc.) are considerably easier but still involve a ton of money and the court system.

    After struggling on our own to figure out how to get the adoption done even though we had the child in our custody, we ended up at a Christian family services center. I found the entire process extremely bureaucratic and invasive (considering we had the child in our custody and it was intra-family) but I would certainly understand that intense level of scrutiny for a “sight unseen” (closed) adoption.

    We found no way to avoid the parenting classes, the multiple family counseling sessions, and the three times over three week repeated “are you sure you’re ready for this since it is forever” legal counseling sessons. And, of course, each meeting, class and counseling session cost money. And then came the whole court proceedings including a lawyer for the birth parents, a lawyer for the adopting parents and a lawyer (guardian ad litem) for the child.

    My best counsel – don’t waste your time trying to weed through it yourself. My personal opinion – a religious adoption service consistent with your family values is going to give you better service for your family’s particuler situation than a for profit agency that brokers babies or a state agency that is placing wards of the state.

    Don’t get me wrong, every child deserves kind and loving parents but the question asked was family values based, not charity / therapy based.

  4. My wife and I adopted four children (a sibling group) through the state system (in our state, Dept. of Children/Youth/Families). No, they were not infants (9, 7, 6, 4 when adopted); that didn’t matter to us. We had one biologically too; it was a concern but we thought/prayed about it and a few years later all is going really well.

    There are plenty of children in this country, in the various state systems, who need homes and families. Infants are generally adopted very quickly for obvious reasons – less “baggage”, cuddliness, and opportunity for parents to get the purported ego gratification of having baby imprint only on their personality, not the birth parents’. The older children will sometimes have “issues”; naturally, anyone who already has younger children in the family will want to be extra-careful, but people without that concern and who have strong, loving personalities and want to give a child a loving home, will discover many, many children that will touch their hearts if they let it happen. and with some help will be able to deal with almost anything and help a child become a great adult.

    Going overseas is expensive and slow. By contrast, our experience with state social workers (at least in our state, NH) was fantastic. They were all caring, committed, helpful people who were very understanding about our questions and concerns, helped us with the paperwork and worked with our schedules, and were there for us after fostering and adoption. The whole “process” part of it was handled well, quickly, and efficiently. The training and certification requirements seemed reasonable (and I’m not the patient or bureaucracy-tolerant type) and the state has a great and flexible program. Plus: we paid no adoption fees.

    So I guess my comment would be, start with your state family and children agency. Find out what fostering and adoption programs, requirements, and training there are; the social workers will be very happy to talk about this with you, I suspect. Once you’re checked out, try respite (i.e. very short-term) or foster care; don’t jump right into adoption, especially if you’re open to post-infant children. Again, there are many children right here who need families and homes; think/pray hard about what matters most to you and you may be surprised how “cheap” adoption can be (of course, raising a child is never cheap, I mean in terms of tens of thousands of dollars in overseas adoption fees) and what a rich reward it will be.

  5. We’ve adopted three children from China; Emily 2004, Mary 2006 and Nathan 2009. We looked at the domestic adoption route and were torn at how much the parents could be thrown around emotionally, financially and legally. In open domestic adoptions the birth mother could have visits every 6 months and can legally take the child back at almost anytime. We didn’t like the idea of raising a child that could undergo such trama throughout their lives.

    At the time adopting from China was relatively simple. You can go two routes; basic (China picks) or special needs (where a child with special needs can be picked from a portfolio). Emily, now 8 and just finishing 2nd grade was from the basic route. Mary, now 6 and just finishing kindergarden was our first special needs child with a cleft lip and palate. Two minor surgeries later and Mary looks like any other kid. I don’t want to even think about what would have happened to Mary if she didn’t become part of our family. Nathan was our third child, also special needs and is a work in progress. We adopted him as a 6 year old, literally kicking and screaming during the initial transition. His special need is a malformed left arm with two fingers on that hand. Nathan is now 8 finishing up 2nd grade and we are trying to work through some of the difficulties of him being in an orphanage for so many years. The girls were nearly babies when they came home and they started out with english speaking, along with reading and writing. Nathan has been a big transition, within 3 months he was proficient with listening and speaking english. And he is caught up with his age group in school.

    I would avoid China adoptions at this time since they have realized that it gives them a political black eye. The adoption process at our first adoption was just a little less than a year start to finish. But due to intentional slow downs and bureaucratic delays (mostly on the Chinese side, but also a few on the US side) things are now taking more than two years.

    With all the delays the initial paperwork you submit expires after 1 year and has to be renewed. More fingerprints, more home studies, more background checks and more good citizen notes from our local sheriff’s department.

    Mas, there is a huge adoption community out there with lots of folks from all over the country.

  6. I would echo what others have already said about adopting via their own state’s family services agency. My wife and I went through a local Christian adoption agency that hooked us up with the state’s foster care system where there were plenty of children up for adoption.

    Yes, because of how the state system works, even children taken from their parents at a very young age are usually older by the time they are eligible for adoption because of how long it takes to find any potential family members interested in adoption and to terminate parental rights. We adopted a 5-year old and an 18-month old sibling set and have no regrets.

    The adoption was a closed adoption, and because they were a sibling set, they were considered special needs and qualified for additional state assistance as well as the maximum federal adoption credit at that time, which was over $10k for each. Adoptions do not have to be expensive as long as one is willing to be flexible. Our $2k spent was more than offset by the credits, but beyond the finances, our kids are still priceless! I finally got my CCW permit because I now have a family relying on me to protect them.

  7. I know someone who gave up a child for adoption at birth. There was a fair amount of paperwork involved. However some (most?) of the money that the family adopting pays is for the girl’s medical costs. You want the mother to get prenatal care, go through childbirth classes, and have the child where there is an excellent an OB with NICU capability. This is far from free.

    I have no idea what else the adopting family gets billed for, but I’m sure the overhead of running these sorts of agencies needs to be covered plus the lawyer expects to get well paid.

    For the foreign adoptions I expect there are a lot of “documentation fees” and similar thinly disguised bribes that you have to pay, but the people I know who did this are not close enough friends that I’ve ever discussed this. I know foreign adoption was an enormously frustrating process for them.

  8. My next-door neighbors went through the foster-care system as well, and were lucky enough to a). Get a baby and then b). two years later get her infant 1/2 brother. If anything, your friends might actually be saving a child from a foster care system that is even more cruel than the home the child originates from, as many foster parents see these kids as money-makers and not as human beings to help shape into adults.

  9. I adopted my step son (granted, it was about 10 years ago) and the cost was under $100. An attorney filed one form and we had a hearing. That was it. A couple I know also adopted their daughter from Guatemala and it was substantially less expensive than an American baby.

    They might be better off finding a mother at Planned Parenthood and offering to cover expenses if she will let them adopt. From what I hear that’s not uncommon.

  10. Some good friends are looking to adopt. They are both college educated, financially well off folks. She’s a teacher who is now a stay at home mom. He has a masters degree from a major U.S. university and a good job. They have four healthy, well adjusted children and wanted to adopt one more. The process has been going on for two years and has cost $$$$ and lots of time. Contrast that with some 15 year old dope head girl who only has to spread her legs, doesn’t need to know who the father is, can go in and out of jail and will invariably get the kid back each time after the kid is moved from foster home to foster home. My friends had to take CPR and First Aid and had to retrofit their house for a level of safety unheard of anywhere else. Then there is drug testing and background checks to undergo which I fully support. The 15 year old crack head’s child will probably not be checked on by overburdened social workers who don’t have time. The child will be in poor living conditions with little if any parental support, poor diet, and all sorts of other bad things. Yet to adopt this same child should the mother decide to give up her parental rights requires someone along the lines of Mother Terressa married to Ghandi with a pocket book the size of small bank. Something doesn’t seem right about this….

  11. This varies widely state to state. It is illegal to sell children in this country unless you call it adoption. The ex-parents and child see no money, but every agency and entity involved has their hand out.

    Had a friend that adopted the unwanted child of a friends daughter. It was voluntary on the part of the mother and my friends were identified early on. Still cost them around $20,000 dollars in legal and adoption fees. This was for an adoption that was simple, in the best interest of all three parties (parent, child, adoptive family). State had to be paid, and the “certifying” agencies that the state contracted the work out to had to be paid. Total process took 3 years and it was fast tracked.

    They should not be detered from adoption, but in most states it seems to be a needlessly painful and expenzive experience.

  12. I was an adoption caseworker for many years, and I am also the parent of 4 adopted and 6 biological children. And the only thing I have to add to these many great comments is-What else would you rather spend your money on? We don’t do big vacations, or new cars, but we have the opportunity to raise the next generation of young people who know and understand what a family is all about.

  13. We adopted two beautiful girls. We used a facilitator who provided our profile to prospective biological mothers. In Pennsylvania we were prohibited from providing for expenses, and this I think was a positive. We were selected by a mom out west, and found ourselves arriving to meet our baby girl 6 hours after she was born. The second came along several years later, and is the biological half sister of our first. The states Children and Youth Agency placed her with us as the mother ran into legal problems and had to give up the child.

    It was expensive the first time around, however this was offset by an employer adoption benefit from my wife’s company. The only expenses incurred with the second adoption were the airfare. It is fortunate we stayed in touch and had a decent relationship with the biological mother.

  14. Once again, the good people of the gun culture warm my heart.

    Many thanks to all for the helplful advice.

    Please keep it coming!

  15. Last year while at FT Sill, I met a Warrant Officer that had 3 kids of his own, 2 kids adopted and another adoptee on the way. We had extensive conversations, over and over he expressed how much those kids meant to him and his wife and how they do it over and over again. With all the kids, his wife decided the best thing do was start a day-care center.

  16. We have adopted two kids internationally. Both times we used Children’s Hope in St. Louis, MO. Had a great experience both times. Please google them and check out their web site. After hearing expensive horror stories about various domestic adoption’s falling through at the last minute we decided on China and were very happy with the process. We adopted both kids at age three (various times). Our daughter is now 17 and our son is 13. Both are great kids and doing well. Bruce- http://www.SafeShoot.com

  17. My view of an instructor I previously disliked went WAY up when I overheard her telling someone else that she’d raised five of her seven godchildren. Enough said.

  18. Adoption was the best thing to ever happen to my wife and I, We too found out we were infertile and after moving on through those issues and opening our hearts to adoption, we adopted a beautiful newborn little girl. The process is completely long and involved with many hoops to jump through but as everyone will tell you they would do it again in a minute.
    We went through an adoption agency and had home studies interviews and background checks, employment checks, reference checks, criminal checks, medical checks, and then made a profile which is like a scrap book that birth mothers get to look at and see about our lives.
    We were selected by our daughter’s birthmother and we send her updates a few times a year with pictures and a letter. This does a couple of things for every one it reaffirms the birth mothers decision by letting her see the child grow up in a loving home and gives the child a unique keepsake and knowledge that this was the best for everyone involved when she gets old enough to understand.
    To answer some of your questions, try to go through an agency, they have been through it before and know all the steps involved. If it doesn’t feel right there are others out there. The price is expensive but many agencies offer counseling for birth mothers and also serve as a crisis pregnancy out reach which i don’t mind supporting.

  19. Bill Handel, host of “Handel On The Law,” specialises in adoptions. He is also a proponent of citizen carry.

  20. If you mention the state, then someone might be able to get you or the couple in touch with the some of the religious groups that help out.

  21. We have three adopted siblings that were adopted through the CPS system in Texas. The good news about adopting through the state system is that it is essentially free – legal fees are typically small and can be offset by adoption assistance programs through most employers. College tuition & fees are also waived by the state of Texas if these kids choose to attend a state school (in Texas anyway). However, IF one chooses to go this route – I would highly encourage them to read up on Reactive Attachment Disorder (aka RAD). RAD is somewhat common in kiddo’s that have been “in the system” and suffered from trauma or abuse. RAD is also common in international adoptions where the kids have spent lengthy times in orphanages. You may have seen recent TV segments about Russian kids being sent back, etc. The news programs have made out that this is only an international or Russian adoption issue – it is not. RAD is prevalent in any adoption where abuse, neglect or other extreme trauma has existed at a young age. I can’t judge those parents. Bringing up a child with RAD can be hell. It does not “go away” with time. Our prisons are full of people who if you looked into their backgrounds – you’d find that they exhibited RAD symptoms. Please don’t take my comments as all negative – these kids do need homes. However, please, please read up on RAD before adopting.

  22. I work in an OB department, and can say a lot of the babies that are not pre-arranged adoptions often have been exposed to drugs/alcohol in the womb. Not always, but much of the time. Also, I work with several ladies who became foster parents first, and then had the chance to adopt the babies/kids they fostered if they became available. It’s a pretty good idea, you get to see if the kids are a good fit before being 100% committed to them. Plus it’s less expensive that way. Another idea, if they are willing and dedicated, many times babies born with congential anomalies and chromosomal abnormalities (like Down Syndrome) are last to be adopted- just checking with local shelters and adoption agencies might help there, too. It all depends on what they are looking for. Another option (expensive, but still an option) would be using a surrogate to carry a baby for them. If only one of them is sterile, the baby could at least be half-biological if that is really important to them. Best wishes and may they be blessed with whatever path life leads them!

  23. We adopted a beautiful newborn boy domestically two years ago. I was excited to see this thread and have the opportunity to give a little back to Mass, who’s done so much for all of us.

    Financial Assistance
    Some folks have mentioned the tax credit. Also check the Dave Thomas Foundation website. The founder of Wendy’s was adopted and devoted a great deal of effort to the cause. They are a good resource to find grants and identify companies that offer tax free financial assistance to their employees. My employer gave us $5k and paid leave.

    Attorney
    Adoption law is complicated. Most adoption law is at the state level. So where you live, where the birth parents live, and where the adoption is finalized has HUGE ramifications on the process and the rights of everyone involved. A clear understanding of the laws that apply in a particular circumstance is important to keep you from going broke and/or having a child removed from your home, potentially after years of attachment. So it’s necessary to have a good attorney that specializes in adoption law. However, I would also recommend finding others who’ve recently been through adoptions of similar circumstance. Then you can call them before running up the meter with your attorney with questions. We spent over $5k on our attorney addressing concerns with jurisdictional issues, insurance issues, contract review, and paperwork errors. If we did it again, we could do it with the same attorney for under $1k knowing what we know now.

    Indian Child Welfare Act
    This federal law, designed to protect children belonging to Native American tribes removed from bad situations, is having a profoundly negative impact on many children that the law does not even apply to. On it’s surface, the law seems so slanted against the adopting parents, that most simply remove all children of Native American descent from consideration. If your friends are open to adopting a child of Native American descent, I strongly encourage them to keep an open mind in exploring this law.

    Finding a Backwoods Home Compatible Circumstance
    Don’t be afraid to look for birthparents in the big city. Even in cRook County Illinois (or especially there), a birthparent can appreciate the benefits of a wholesome rural upbringing. Many people fear open adoption because they don’t want a birthparent second guessing their parenting. When our son’s birthmother held him, she would hold him with just as much love as us…but as soon as he started crying she’d give him right back to us every time. My point here is that it may not be necessary to find a christian oriented agency that works with rural christian birthmothers. Your friends just need to be honest in their portfolio about their values and vision of families so birthmothers that aspire to have that for their children can find them.

  24. Another note about domestic infant adoptions is that the wait doesn’t tend to be as long as it once was. Our agency said expect the process to take a year. It took us less than six months. I imagine this is partly to do with current economic conditions, but also the increase in availability of overseas adoptions and more advanced fertility treatments over the last few decades. It was also less expensive in our circumstance than any international adoption program.

  25. My parents adopted a 5 yr old, it didnt turn out very well, she had lots of developmental problems and after many years and lots of love and money, they simply had to un-adopt her, which wasnt a big deal since she was spending most of her time in jail anyway.

    Turns out she got into the foster system when one of her parents who was mentally ill and placed in an institution.

    The state never mentioned this to my parents, who if they had known, might have been able to get her some counseling or treatment.

    The judge that undid the adoption, told my parents that over 90% of children adopted after age 5, will wind up in a state supported home or institution. (that means mental hospital or jail)

    So I would caution prospective parents to remember that children that have been abused so severely as to be permanently removed from their bio parents, that the child WILL have major psychological and mental damage. And the state will keep all this info from you, because the states main concern is to get the child into a home so the child becomes some one elses problem.

    Use caution, and demand the state provide you with the complete background history of the child, including psychological evaluations of the child, siblings and bio parents, if the state refuses, you know they are hiding something.

    Of course this usually does not apply to children who came from normal homes, ie: parents killed in accidents etc, but usually orphans are taken in by family instead of adopted by strangers.

    If your friends are open to adopting a non Caucasian infant, that will speed things up alot.

  26. My son was adopted a bit over 13 years ago. Since it was a directed adoption through an agency the agency fee was $10K. Lawyer & medical expenses were slightly more than that.

    As to where to find a woman willing to relinquish a child, look at shared hobbies, & depending on age possibly the children of friends or younger women in the same generation as the people wanting to adopt. Chat with people at the range or gun shop, mention it in your sig on gun-related fora.

    Might also consider surrogacy. Depending on the medical problems of the people wanting to adopt, the baby might be able to be biologically theirs. First find a doctor & lawyer willing to handle the case, then advertise at a local college to find a surrogate. And/or take an ad in the Mensa magazine, or one of the NRA magazines.

    Too many social workers & agencies are anti-gun. If you admit to having firearms they may quietly blacklist you, or they may have actual written policies against self-defense. Having proof of lots of training / competition & a safe to store guns not being used might overcome those prejudices.

    I will STRONGLY urge that every part of the agreements be put in writing & signed by all parties, ESPECIALLY the ‘informal’ ones between mother & adopters. It’s nice that you all know & trust each other, but consider it a baby pre-nup.