A & I were very lucky in our adoptive placement. While we had been called to adopt, and had already known it would be our path, we did not have to sign up with an agency/attorney/facilitator to be match with a birth parent. God intervened and brought Sam* into our lives.
Many adoptive families do not have this experience. In a traditional setting, when two people decide to adopt (not through foster care) they must make a difficult decision of chosing to work with an agency, an attorney, a facilitator, or a combination of these. Basically, the purpose of these options is to match an expectant birth parent seeking an adoption plan with a prospective adoptive parent.
If A & I were to adopt again, we would likely use Rita as our attorney, and look to her to match us with a prospective birth family. In our state, agencies are quickly depleting the number of matches between adoptive and birth families, each year, while the number of attorney matches is an uptick. However, before we could be matched through an attorney to a prospective birth mother, we would first have to certified by the state to adopt, as we were when we adopted E.
To be certified the following process must be followed:
– Homestudy completed by a licensed social worker
– FBI finger print clearance completed
– Criminal and financial background check completed
– Behavioral background check compeleted
– Recommendation from a social worker to be adoptive parents
– Ultimately approved by an Adoption Commissioner
Our homestudy consisted of the following tasks:
– 1 in home visit. Bev, our amazing social worker, came to our home to ask us questions about our marriage, our parenting styles, and other questions about our history and hopeful future. We were VERY lucky. I have met adoptive parents who had social workers question their sex life and other very in dept personal questions. Bev also toured our home to make sure it was appropriate to bring a child into.
– 1 in office visit each. A & I went to Bev’s office seperately and described our childhoods and social background.
– Character References. 5 of our closest friends and families were sent 5 page long surveys that they had to fill out about us. These were very detailed and descriptive questionairs asking our friends and family what they felt about us being parents.
– Review of documentation of financial documents. We had to produce documentation of our income, debts, bank statements, and financial assets to Bev to prove we could support and care for a child.
As you can see, becoming certified to adopt in our state was a long and intensive process. We were asked questions and to provide documentation that most biological parents would be offended if a hospital or doctor asked them prior to bringing their baby home. For me, this is why I get so defensive when people “brush” off the adoption process as “easy”. It’s not an easy process. It’s very emotionally trying and even the most confident of people can feel easily “ill-equip”. As some of you may or may not know, A is trying to become a police officer. I’ve been asked by many people if I fear the “investigative” process, where he’ll be assigned a case worker to “dig” into his dirty laundry and psychologically evaluate him. To be honest- considering everything we just went through, I’m confident he has NO dirty laundry.
While I’m on my soap box, I’ll add the requirements to foster children in this state are even more stringent. This is why it is so disheartening to hear people accuse foster parents of being in it for “the money” or that “any person can be a foster parent”, because I assure they most certainly can not.