This is an update on the continued impact of COVID-19 on domestic adoptions. Many of you may have read my post in March on the impact of COVID-19, but I wanted to update that, particularly as we enter a new wave of cases in some states. What has been most interesting for us at Purl though, has been the significant increase in the numbers of potential prospective adoptive parents contacting us, which seems to have resulted in part due to families being home, potentially with more time to start the adoption process. That, coupled with these factors below, are making for an interesting domestic adoption environment for prospective adoptive families (a few positives, but overall generally negative):
Increased volume of prospective adoptive families, leading to companies like Purl, other adoption consultants, adoption agencies and attorneys being on a wait list or otherwise turning families away.
Home study process able to be completed faster/virtually.
Families unable to get medical appointments and other necessary documents for home study process due to office closures/limitations.
Delays/closures in fingerprinting offices, particularly for those trying to meet home study requirements for some Texas agencies.
Court certifications going faster (specific to court certification process required in Arizona).
Volume of adoption opportunities down at many agencies (very slow in March, picked up in April, but overall volume appears slightly down for most adoption professionals).
Agencies/attorneys being more picky about the prospective adoptive families they will work with due to increased volume of prospective adoptive parents (i.e., only families without children, only families with very open preferences).
Higher incidence of adoption disruptions because CPS (or its respective equivalent) didn’t report to the hospital even where there is a positive drug test at baby’s birth.
Less contact between expectant families and adoption agencies/attorneys during pregnancy due to social distancing (could lead to increased rate of disruptions).
Adoptive families/agency social workers not able to be at doctor appointments, birth or at hospital after birth due to hospital restrictions (could lead to increased rate of disruptions) .
Increase in adoption opportunities posted online, particularly in Facebook groups, but also increased activity by serial scammers.
Response time by attorneys/agencies slower, due in part to remote work/children at home.
ICPC process moving more quickly/slower due to COVID (speed seems to be dependent on state).
Travel issues, including less frequency of flights.
Some travel restrictions, or forced quarantines, if traveling from certain “hot-spot” states.
Finalization hearings delayed in some states, but some able to be done telephonically where in person presence was previously required.
Delays in obtaining birth certificates after birth due to governmental office closures.
As we enter a new wave of cases, I expect to continue seeing at least some of the factors above, but I also don’t expect the same slow down we saw in March as agencies and attorneys likely have a better handle on how to operate virtually. But if you are a prospective adoptive parent, I would prepare yourself for a longer wait overall due to some of these circumstances and try and be prepared for more complications in your adoption journey. I don’t say this as a way to discourage you, but really just to understand the realities we are all facing in our weird world right now.