Friday, March 11, 2016

Finding an Adoptive Family - The Search

So you’ve made a decision – you’re going to explore placing your baby through an open adoption. It’s scary, I know. But you CAN do this. It’s time to dig in deep and take the time to do your research. Oh and don't forget your Diet Coke! Here are my recommended 5 steps:

1. Write out a list of what you want, need, and won’t budge on. 

My list looked something like this:

  • Small family – zero or one child
  • Living in California
  • Actively Christian/ similar culture
  • One or more parents to have a stable career and ample means
  • Can and wants to give the child opportunities growing up and in their future (i.e. sports, hobbies, play an instrument, college)
  • Is warm & loving - says I love you's often and believes in hugs! 
  • Is willing to educate themselves on speech impediments & ADHD (runs in the boys in my family)
  • Open communication: Sends pictures, videos, texts, emails
  • Allows for visits & vacations

2. You begin the search. 

It’s time to focus on what is most important for you and for your baby, as well as what feels right. If you are not using word of mouth to find adoptive parents, you can go through a service or organization*. Usually the organization that you may go through has a section on their website where you can scroll through pictures and bios of families looking to adopt. Go through as many as you can, take a break, then do it some more. Save the profiles that match your criteria or seem interesting to you. Make sure you pay attention to your gut as you may come across a bio that is extremely intriguing that you may not have thought would be at first. Gather as much as you can. Do not make any definite decisions right now.

3. Email the families. 

This step is crucial to getting a better feeling for personalities, desires, and what meets your criteria. Select your favorites - what and who you feel best about. Introduce yourself and give a short explanation of your situation, making sure to never promise anything to the family you’re writing. Explain what you desire out of an open adoption, what your expectations are, and ask them to share with you more about them and their views.

At this point in my own search for a possible adoptive family, I ended up emailing a family who already had two other adopted children (refer to My Story for more). This was obviously slightly different than one of my bullet points. So was the fact that they lived in a different state than I. However, these were things I was willing to budge on, as my whole body had been filled with something so sweet and powerful when I read their family’s bio.

4. Listen to your gut, your heart, and don’t budge. 

Upon receiving responses, you will have a much better idea of who is a serious option… and who is not.

5. Meet the families (or family) you're interested in.

The whole family. It is SO important that you meet them before placing. The Miller’s were willing to fly out and meet my family quickly, only two weeks after I found them. To meet and develop a relationship with the family you may place your baby with is what should ultimately be what solidifies your decision (see why the Miller's choose Open Adoption). During this time, if you feel comfortable, is when you talk about your plan moving forward. This is your baby you’re placing with them - remember this is the most selfless gift in the world and it should be treated as such.

Through my own experience and seeing friends go through this process, there are three things I have learned that are absolutely crucial to a successful open adoption (in my opinion) that make a world of difference in your happiness:

  • That both adoptive parents (and family) are NOT threatened by the birth parent and has a desire to involve the family and birth parent in the child’s life, as well as in their own (one big family).
  • KNOW YOUR RIGHTS. Get the right legal council, do your research, and stick to your knowledge.
  • Get your open adoption plan IN WRITING.
  • Do not be an overbearing birth mother – you are relinquishing your control (legally) and trusting in their ability to raise your baby. Let them be, communicate appropriately.

Open adoption is a pathway that leads to more love and happiness for your baby and everyone included. On top of loving sweet Dayton Kyle, The Miller’s are my kind of perfect, and they've made me feel loved and appreciated every single day since the moment I came in contact with them. 

With all my love, I wish you luck. 

*I personally disliked any person I knew offering to adopt my baby at the time. In my view, it was inappropriate and over-reaching. I understand their objective was meant to be nice, however it offended me greatly. If I was going to place, it was going to be with a family that I chose and felt good about, on my own terms. I chose to use LDS Services (which unfortunately no longer provides adoption services).

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