You never know when your first adoption situation will present itself and what form it might take. We all dream of an ideal situation – and that ideal can certainly take a variety of shapes, depending on who’s doing the dreaming.
This week, we received our first call from an adoption attorney we’d contacted recently. A birth mother needed substantial financial help right now, and significant monthly financial assistance for the length of her pregnancy (she was only 9 weeks along), came to the attorney’s office seeking an adoptive couple without a child. While the attorney’s office had a list of waiting families, none of them were childless, and while we were not yet on their waiting family list, they remembered our networking call and immediately contacted us. Tag – we were it. I guess networking really does have a tendency to work. We called back immediately – all excitement, hope and nerves — and a healthy dose of self-protective skepticism.
But every adoption situation is different, from what a birth mother might be going through that brings her to consider such an important and life-changing decision, to the level of risk a prospective adoptive couple is willing to accept. There are a number of risk factors adoptive parents must consider, you need to sit with them to determine what you are truly ready and able to withstand during the roller-coaster ride.
Risks could involve drug and/or alcohol exposure, health problems associated with age or genetics, the length of time remaining in the pregnancy, the amount of financial assistance required and the ever present worry — the likelihood of a failed adoption plan.
Adoption expenses are a fact of life in most adoption situations. The funds are not payment for a baby, no matter what some opponents might say. There is significant work and time involved for agencies and attorneys to help ensure all parties are protected in an adoption situation. And the combination of legal expenses, counseling fees, agency fees and birth mother expenses can potentially add up to a large sum, indeed. That said, as adoptive parents, you need to be able to know what you can handle financially, and weigh that commitment with the risks you are comfortable taking in the birth situation presented to you. How much money do you have, and, if this adoption falls through, will you have funds left when the next adoption situation presents itself?
The adoption situation we were presented with involved an older birth mother with a history of problems that prevented her from being able to work – and thus required significant financial assistance for the remaining 7 months of her pregnancy, as well as a previous failed adoption – she changed her mind – two years earlier.
Ultimately, we decided the risks in this situation were too much for us and let this situation go to another family that might be more comfortable with the situation. It was a hard decision, because you worry about when and if the next situation will present itself, and if you turned down “the one.”
Have you been in this situation before and if so, how do you personally deal with the decision? Do you have any other advice concerning acceptance of an adoption situation? Please feel free to share!